Lukman Ademola LAWAL


The received view of science is that of an objective enterprise which possesses the rational methods of inquiry which produce knowledge that is based on factual experience. Science claims to be the most reliable inquiry into the nature of reality; due to the supposed supremacy of the so called ―scientific method‖ over those of other intellectual endeavours. However, the idea of ―method‖ in science is itself a source of controversy to philosophers of science over the years. Indeed, scientists themselves do not bother so much about matters of methodology and as such, there is no unanimous agreement amongst scientists of the specific method which determines the techniques and procedures guiding their inquiry into nature. This notwithstanding, there have been several formulations of the scientific method as evident in the works of some scientists and philosophers of science alike over the years. The method of induction which was first explained by Aristotle was elaborated by Francis Bacon and later prepared the groundwork for logical empiricism and modern empirical science. Inductivism later became challenged by Karl Popper who declared that science only progresses by ―conjecture and refutation.‖ This paper argues in line with the socio-historical and pragmatic conception of science advanced by the likes of Thomas Khun, Paul Feyerabend, Richard Rorty among others that the scientific enterprise is not guided by a definite method, but by certain arbitrary activities that are relative to socio-cultural backgrounds. The paper further contends that the very idea of science is not to be viewed solely from a Western perspective, which gave birth to the appellation ―Western Science,‖ rather it should be seen in the light of the systematic attempts by every society and culture to understand, explain and predict their natural environment.

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