Uses of Tradition: Tradition vs. Reason


Tradition can be what philosophers resort to in order to avoid the negative implications of reason as a foundational element.


Tradition might justify a current life-world.


Tradition might serve to justify a conservative world-view.


Tradition might serve to bring Western reason in general and scientific reason in particular "down" to the same level as African thought, by arguing that not only does Africa have tradition (which is not entirely rationally explicable), but science is exactly the same. As such, this is a theistic-style argument, in which all reasoning is seen as having some element of faith involved.


Tradition is pressed into service by states, when they are trying to reassert their own power. Tradition can be a principle of legitimation, and states can find ways of moulding tradition to their own uses by showing an unbroken march (or triumph over adversity) through history toward the present state, and the present government.