Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 1999 - Science - 367 pages
14 Reviews
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.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - brleach - LibraryThing

A few promising moments, but most of the time it is either trite or based on a fundamentally misguided understanding of the topics he's addressing. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ElectricRay - LibraryThing

I've made the observation before that scientists - especially biologists - tend to make lousy philosophers, and it doesn't take long to see Professor E. O. Wilson - one of evolutionary biology's most ... Read full review

Contents

The Ionian Enchantment
4
Ch Apte R 2 The Great Branches of Learning CHAPTER 3 The Enlightenment
328
The Natural Sciences
330
Ariadnes Thread
331
The Mind 105
333
From Genes to Culture 136
335
The Fitness of Human Nature
340
The Social Sciences 197
341
CHAPTER lo The Arts and Their Interpretation 229
344
Ethics and Religion
347
To What End? Notes
349
Acknowledgments
354
Index
357
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

\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.

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