Volume 4, Issue 2, 2015
Christian C. Emedolu
From Magic to African Experimental Science: Toward a New Paradigm
This paper assumes that there is a distinction between empirical and non-empirical science. It also assumes that empirical science has two complementary parts, namely, theorization and experimentation. The paper focuses strictly on the experimental aspect of science. It is a call for reformation in African experimental science. Following a deep historical understanding of the revolution that brought about experimental philosophy (as modern empirical science was called up to the time of Newton) this paper admits that magic was the mother, not just the “bastard sister” of empirical science. It uncovers the fact that magic added the dimension of experimentation to science. This paper somewhat maintains that most of the ideas presented by some African scholars contain vestiges of the magical tradition in them. Even though this might not be a flaw by any reasonable standard, the paper still argues that there is a genuine need to separate magic from science, if we ever crave for any form of material/physical progress in Africa. I insist that the thrust of the call for paradigm shift in this paper is centered basically on experimentation. The issue of theoretical entities was introduced only to the extent such entities enhance experimental realism in the practice of African science. Of course, reformation can equally take place at the level of scientific theorization, but that is strictly beyond the scope of this paper. The fact is that those who are versed on the issues of experimentation should begin to get more focused on that aspect; and those who are given to theorization should settle with the formulation of well-structured theories. Time has indeed come for us to properly streamline our thoughts and make progress in the direction of African experimental science. In making this clarion call, we adopted a combined approach of hermeneutics and analysis.