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Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by…

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998)

by Edward O. Wilson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,220204,810 (3.86)31
Biologist Wilson, considered to be one of the world's greatest living scientists, argues for the fundamental unity of all knowledge, that everything in our world is organized in terms of a small number of fundamental natural laws. 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--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 reappearing on the frontiers of science and humanistic scholarship.--From publisher description.… (more)
Recently added byjudyblaine, Dionysus33, bencmeissner, private library, ktkeith, B.S.M., piratrob, rdaneel, jerkwasser
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» See also 31 mentions

English (19)  Dutch (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
This was an important book that I'm glad I read. The prose could have been cleaner, which would have made the dense content more accessible. ( )
  StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
Remarkably crappy. ( )
  johnclaydon | Oct 18, 2016 |
Oops.  Started reading, found I was nodding my head... yup, not only do I already agree with the theme of the book, but I've heard enough of the argument before, and besides the book was written going on two decades ago.  Oh well.  There are other fish in the pond...
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Read it too long ago to note details here. ( )
  librisissimo | Sep 4, 2015 |
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. ( )
1 vote brleach | Jan 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edward O. Wilsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Badal, YvonneÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caglero, RobetoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Wilde, BarbaraCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ros, JoandomenechTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Thus have I made as it were a small globe of the intellectual world, as truly and faithfully as I could discover.

--Francis Bacon (1605)
First words
I remember very well the first time I was captured by the dream of unified learning.
In his 1941 classic Man on His Nature, the British neurobiologist Charles Sherrington spoke of the brain as an enchanted loom, perpetually weaving a picture of the external world, tearing down and reweaving, inventing other worlds, creating a miniature universe. The communal mind of literate societies – world culture – is an immensely larger loom. (Chap. 2, “The Great Branches of Learning”)
[L]et us begin by simply walking away from Foucault and existential despair […] it's not so bad. Once we get over the shock of discovering that the universe was not made with us in mind [...] (Chap. 3, “The Enlightenment”)
Scientific theories, however, are fundamentally different. They are constructed specifically to be blown apart if proved wrong, and if so destined, the sooner the better. “Make your mistakes quickly” is a rule in the practice of science. I grant that scientist often fall in love with their own constructions. I know; I have. They may spend a lifetime trying to shore them up. A few squander their prestige and academic political capital in the effort. In that case – as the economist Paul Samuelson once quipped – funeral by funeral, theory advances. (Chap.4 “The Natural Sciences”)
Science, to be its warrant as concisely as possible, is the organized, systematic enterprise that gathers knowledge about the world and condenses the knowledge into testable laws and principles. (Chap.4 “The Natural Sciences”)
Someone has defined insanity as an inability to choose among false alternatives. In dreams we are insane. We wander across our limitless dreamscapes as madmen. (Chap.5 “Ariadne's Thread”)
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La grande avventura intellettuale dell'uomo e la possibilità di tornare all'idea affascinante dell'unità della conoscenza sono l'argomento del libro. L'autore spiega le ragioni del suo veemente antirelativismo e la necessità di abbattere la gerarchizzazione accademica di arti e scienze, individuando un piccolo numero di leggi naturali fondamentali che reggono di fatto ogni ramo della scienza.
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