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 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. 

 1.1 Background of the Study 

The title of this essay – Karl Popper on Myths and Traditions - was chosen to enable me evaluate the place of myths and traditions in the growth of knowledge and society. My interest in this topic stems from my own cultural background where myths and traditions which are seen as the people’s culture cannot be questioned or changed even in the face of contradicting realities of the present order in science and social engineering or as Simon Ottenberg puts it - “...the Afikpo people rely much on tradition, on an orientation to past events as precedent”.1 More specifically, this research topic was chosen to find, if possible, a middle point between myth and tradition as a source of background knowledge which if properly harnessed can lead to the discovery of new knowledge in the sciences as well as engender a better understanding of their places in social engineering. Thus, the topic will enable me argue, in line with Popper, that every tradition has a function and that to understand a tradition, we should have the tradition clearly before us and we have to understand in a general way what may be the function and significance of that tradition. We shall also argue that every tradition and myth should be subject to rational criticism. Popper does not assume that man could ever free himself entirely from the bonds of tradition. But one can free oneself from the taboos of tradition. This freeing according to him can be done not only by rejecting it but by critically accepting it. This critical acceptance for him forms the crucible upon which science and society will grow, creating new myths and new traditions. I shall align my arguments with Popper’s.

Project detailsContents
Number of Pages166 pages
Chapter one Introduction
Chapter two Literature review
Chapter three  methodology
Chapter  four  Data analysis
Chapter  five Summary,discussion & recommendations
Chapter summary1 to 5 chapters
Available documentPDF and MS-word format


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