Academic journal article et Cetera

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

Academic journal article et Cetera

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

Article excerpt

Edward 0. Wilson. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. New York: Knopf, 1998.

Edward 0. Wilson, a two-time Pulitzer prize-winning author and Harvard professor emeritus of biology, maintains that without integrating knowledge from the natural sciences into the social sciences and the humanities, most of the world's major problems "cannot be solved." Such integration he calls "consilience" (from a nineteenth-century word concerning the concurrence of results from different fields of knowledge).

Wilson argues that consilience has been achieved in many ways in the natural sciences, from physics and chemistry to molecular biology and biochemistry, but the social sciences and the humanities have resisted the Enlightenment ideal of forming a grand vision of knowledge built on a foundation of universal laws. The reason for this, according to Wilson, is that parts of the social sciences are held back by ideological commitments and tribal devotion to past masters; this makes formulations in these areas "only slightly advanced over ideas employed by the Greek philosophers. …

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