ISBN 9789956762958
Pages 262
Dimensions 229 x 152mm
Published 2017
Publisher Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon
Format Paperback

Le fa, entre croyances et science

Pour une épistémologie des savoirs africains

by Désiré Médégnon

Que valent les savoirs et savoir-faire endogènes africains? Pourquoi et comment promouvoir aujourd’hui cet héritage, alors même que le modèle scientifique dit occidental apparaît comme le meilleur moyen de connaître et d’apprivoiser le monde? C’est à ces questions que répond ce livre en procédant à un examen du fa. Alors qu’une lecture hâtive le réduit à un art divinatoire plutôt chimérique, le fa se révèle, à l’analyse, comme un ensemble organisé de connaissances et de recherches et donc comme une science en puissance. Inclinent à le penser, très fortement, la vocation intellectuelle qui le définit, la rigueur des opérations logiques qu’il implique et qui renvoient, d’une manière ou d’une autre, au jeu d’une mathématique implicite, l’exigence d’objectivité valorisée par les acteurs du système et portée par une véritable tradition critique, enfin la densité et les fonctions mnémoniques et herméneutiques des mythes sur lesquels il repose. Mais, au-delà de la mise au jour de la consistance ainsi que des limites du fa, c’est à la définition d’une « méthode » d’examen et de validation des savoirs produits en dehors du système scientifique officiel que s’est essayé ce livre. Les questions qu’il pose visent, en effet, au bout du compte, à une refondation de la philosophie des sciences et de l’épistémologie.

How really worth are the African endogenous knowledge and know-how? Why and how can we promote this inheritage, while the so-called western scientific model looks like the best means of knowing and mastering the world? This book answers these questions by examining ifa, a West-African system of knowledge and practices which a narrow knowledge reduces to a fanciful divinatory art, an art then logically “perceived as inconsistent and theoretically useless”. Yet, more than a divinatory art, ifa, when we submit it to analysis, appears to be an organized set of knowledge and researches, a science in the making. What makes us really think that way is the intellectual vocation that defines ifa, the rigor of the logical operations that it implies and which recalls in one way or the other the game of implicit mathematics, the objectivity requirement which is valued by the actors of the system and rests on a genuine critical tradition. This opinion is also based on the weight of myths upon which ifa rests and which constitute an important granary where a prominent set of knowledge is packed. Beyond the establishment of the consistency and the limitations of ifa, this book has strived to define a “method” of examination and validation of the knowledge which has emerged out of the official scientific system. In fact, the questions which arise from it are finally intended to give a new foundation to philosophy of sciences and to epistemology.

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About the Author

Désiré Médégnon

Désiré Médégnon is a Beninese Philosopher from Sado, a village located at about fifteen kilometers from Porto-Novo which is the administrative capital of the country. After a Master's degree at the National University of Benin, he joined the College of Advanced Studies of Paris (EHESS) where he defended in September 2009 his PhD dissertation on "The Anthropology of Knowledges: Scope and Limitations of two Systems of African knowledges". He has, as an educational councilor, advised teachers of secondary schools for several years. Since 2010, he teaches African philosophy and epistemology at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin Republic.