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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Metaphysics and medicine: the traditional African experience
Author:Aja, Egbeke
Periodical:West African Journal of Archaeology
Geographic term:Africa
folk medicine
Abstract:There is no clear-cut distinction between African philosophy and African religion, between philosophy and psychology or philosophy and science. Furthermore, philosophy in Africa is not an abstract academic matter with little or no relevance to daily life; rather it is regarded as life's most basic and most important enterprise. In view of the traditional African metaphysics outlined in the first section of this paper, the author argues that 'medicine' is any force or being whose power is known to be controllable and which is under the control of man for the prevention and cure of ill health. 'Medicine', therefore, means those tangible forces that stand at the disposal of man, who has dominion over them and who can make them work for him at his command in order to cure diseases. In traditional medicine attempts are made to look for both physical and metaphysical causes of diseases. Consequently, the traditional healer appeals to both scientific and metaphysical means in an attempt to achieve a comprehensive cure for a malady. Through observations he diagnoses ordinary illness; and through divination he probes into the causes of and cure for obscure maladies. Bibliogr.