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KARL POPPER ON MYTHS AND TRADITIONS

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Abstract

The predominant opinion that science has the explanation and solution to natural and social problems can be summed in the words of Mel Thompson that ‘science is a massive problem-solving and information gathering enterprise’. Thoughts such as this relegate other forms of knowledge and the benefits therein to the background or sometimes dismissing them as primitive myths or traditional gibberish. However, Karl Popper believes that myths and traditions are essential component of modern science and that without tradition knowledge is impossible. Myths survive via tradition. Popper argues for a critical examination of myths and tradition before rejecting or accepting them. Along this line, the study analyzed and evaluated Popper’s thoughts on myths and traditions. Specifically, the study, using Popper’s theory of critical rationalism as a framework, tried to situate the appropriateness or otherwise of myths and traditions for the enhancement of scientific and social knowledge; discover the philosophy behind myths and traditions; how they are created, sustained and transmitted and finally, discover the role it had played and could play in the development of science and society. The study affirmed Popper’s view that tradition is a very important source of knowledge and that science originates from myths and traditions. It was also established that the philosophy behind every myth and tradition is the explanation and justification of all human experiences and actions. It was equally discovered that cosmological and physical regularities and irregularities give impetus for the creation of myths and traditions. The study advocates the enthronement of the culture of logical curiosity in cultures where critical thinking is not a tradition in other to preserve their myths and traditions for future generations.