Consilience by Edward O. Wilson

Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson ( argues for the position that there must be a fundamental unity to all truth across the sciences and humanities. This is a noble vision. Wilson sees its origin in the Ionian Greek belief that the cosmos is an orderly whole running by laws discoverable in thought. His own inspiration is the commitment of the 18th-century Enlightenment to enlisting secular knowledge in the advancement of human welfare and rights. What opened the prospect for modernity was the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. The success of science in Europe then, and thereafter throughout the world, was owing to the fortunate concatenation of three features in the capacity of fine minds: insatiable curiosity, the power of abstraction, mathematical reasoning applied to natural phenomena. All phenomena, finally, are reducible to laws of physics that transcend cultural differences.

For a sophisticated attack on Wilson’s reasoning have a read at Jerry Fodor’s London Review of Books article ( in October 1998. See what you think.

384 pages in Abacus paperback edition.

ISBN 978-0349111124

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