Consilience by Edward O. Wilson
The Unity of Knowledge

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An enormous intellectual adventure. In this groundbreaking new book, the American biologist Edward O. Wilson, considered to be one of the world's greatest living scientists, argues for the fundamental unity of all knowledge and the need to search for consilience--the proof that everything in our world is organized in terms of a small number of fundamental natural laws that comprise the principles underlying every branch of learning. Professor Wilson, the pioneer of sociobiology and biodiversity, now once again breaks out of the conventions of current thinking. He shows how and why our explosive rise in intellectual mastery of the truths of our universe has its roots in the ancient Greek concept of an intrinsic orderliness that governs our cosmos and the human species--a vision that found its apogee in the Age of Enlightenment, then gradually was lost in the increasing fragmentation and specialization of knowledge in the last two centuries. Drawing on the physical sciences and biology, anthropology, psychology, religion, philosophy, and the arts, Professor Wilson shows why the goals of the original Enlightenment are surging back to life, why they are reappearing on the very frontiers of science and humanistic scholarship, and how they are beginning to sketch themselves as the blueprint of our world as it most profoundly, elegantly, and excitingly is.

About Edward O. Wilson

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Edward O. Wilson was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1929. He received his B.S. and M.S. in biology from the University of Alabama and, in 1955, his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard, where he has since taught, and where he has received both of its college-wide teaching awards. He is currently Research Professor and Honorary Curator in Entomology of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. He is the author of two Pulitzer Prize-winning books, OOn Human Nature (1978) and The Ants(1990, with Bert Hölldobler), as well as the recipient of many fellowships, honors, and awards, including the 1977 National Medal of Science, the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1990), the International Prize for Biology from Japan (1993), and, for his conservation efforts, the Gold Medal of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (1990) and the Audubon Medal of the National Audubon Society (1995). He is on the Board of Directors of The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, and the American Museum of Natural History, and gives many lectures throughout the world. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts with his wife, Irene.
Published January 1, 1998 by Alfred A. Knopf. 384 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy, History, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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In the end, Wilson invites scholars to explore the gaps in knowledge, as well as move toward synthesis: We are drowning in information, he says, while starving for wisdom.

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The author uses this chapter to argue how the gene environment interaction can lead to creation of human culture, and how the concept of meme be used to codify how the culture effects the human mind just like how the gene effects the human mind.

Dec 24 2009 | Read Full Review of Consilience: The Unity of Kno...


Wilson is familiar with the words of the medieval sage Paracelsus, who lived half a millennium ago: "Although there are many names, the arts are not separated, and one kind of knowledge is not severed from another;

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London Review of Books

Sometimes, rather touchingly, Wilson wants consilience to provide an ‘ultimate purpose to intellect … Order, not chaos … beyond the horizon.’ I suspect what Wilson wants from unifying science with the humanities is the prospect of some sort of happy ending.

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In Wilson's own words, consilience is "a jumping together of knowledge."

Apr 15 1998 | Read Full Review of Consilience: The Unity of Kno...

Boston Review

The only difference between this transmission and Wilson's is that it takes some man-made (not biological) technology to do Wilson's kind.

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