Consilience has ratings and reviews. Manny said: At first, I wasn’t sure I liked Consilience. E.O. Wilson is frank about his disdain for philos. Wilson was excoriated for his knowledge claims, for his logic, for his intentions, and for his conclusions. Consilience was truly judged to be a. “A dazzling journey across the sciences and humanities in search of deep laws to unite them.” –The Wall Street Journal One of our greatest.

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Sure enough he had a lame excuse for a beard, and deliberately mussed-up hair atop his excessively squinty facial constitution; fucking college kids.

Review of E.O. Wilson’s “Consilience”

Wilson understands that consciousness represents a and likely the critical link in his consilience project. Refresh and try again.

The real explanation looks nothing like this. His new “science” of grammatology is the opposite of science, rendered in fragments with the incoherence of a dream, at once banal and fantastical. But Wilson’s whole point is that questions traditionally sitting outside science– mind-body, aesthetics and ethics– are legitimate scientific problems. General opinion is that the time has surely come for a retraction.

I have been fascinated by the idea of a convergence of different schools of thoughts into a single whole. Indeed, in perhaps the most remarkable passage of the book, Wilson announces that he more or less has the solution: And now, several books, two Pulitzer Prizes and one National Medal of Science later, Consiliencehis most ambitious work yet.

Wilson is frank about his disdain for philosophy, a literary genre I enjoy, and it seemed to me that he might be one of those brash scientists who writes off everything that isn’t science as old-fashioned nonsense. For another, there’s more standing between science and the “ultimate goal of objective truth” than ignorance of the brain’s blueprints.

Cover of the first edition. On this basis he predicts and sketches a path to true wisdom, where the scientific community cleanses itself of infighting and unites all branches of knowledge, to the enrichment of each, especially the arts.

From inside the book. Comsilience book is an incredibly well thought out praise of the scientist and the accomplishments of science, but it lacks any understanding of most areas of study outside of the natural sciences except for those with direct application of principles of biology, as found in biological anthropology.

Have we here “reduced” ethics to biology? This is “why so many accomplished scientists are narrow foolish people, and why so many wise scholars in the field are considered weak scientists.


I don’t agree, but I am intrigued nonetheless. To say that the review was negative would give negativity a bad name: I think he argues unconvincingly and truly sadly that for all scientific disciplines from anthropology to psychology there is one only class of explanation when it is still uncertain if anthropology and psychology should truly be classified as sciences at all.

Nov 21, Jeremy rated it did not like it Shelves: As Hume pointed out over two centuries ago, conventional ethical reasoning is grounded in abstractions that have only a tenuous connection to the feelings of real people.

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by Edward O. Wilson

Consilience is worth reading if you want to explore the mind of modernism, the belief that all things are reachable by reason and that which science cannot know cannot exist. Now I know that these days print runs are fairly small; but any book which goes through ten printings in six wilosn has to be saying something right, to someone, somewhere down the line.

They have been remarkably, impressively, gloriously, good at explaining things.

Mar 29, Aaron Arnold rated it really liked it Shelves: But I salute greatly what Wilson has done in Consilience and, even though I as a philosopher feel inclined to criticize him in details, I confess that in respects I feel slightly ashamed of myself for doing so. A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, Wilson is known for his career as a scientist, his advocacy for environmentalism, and his secular-humanist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters.

A must-read for big picture thinkers who understand science. Wilson’s insistence that we either have or will understand consciousness is an absurdity as the essence of consciousness is beyond our reason or the scientific method. Wilson makes it very clear that, having lost Christianity, this does not mean that he wanted or was able to give up on religion entirely.

We have therefore no reason whatever for believing that we, Homo sapienshave arrived at some acme of cognitive evolution, that our chimpish brains are the best that brains can be. I’ve focused on one aspect of this wonderful book, but aside from its central thesis, there is so much practical information on evolution, neuroscience, biology, and basic intellectual history, to be gleaned from it.

As Wilson explains, mental phenomena pose two essentially different challenges, the so-called easy and hard problems of consciousness. If you buy his argument, the problem goes away not because it’s been solved but because no one feels obliged to talk about it. It must not have been challenging enough for him, because this book is all about the unity of knowledge, where he tries to both explain why past attempts to bridge the divide between the arts and the sciences have failed his verdict: There is also no way of scientifically testing a majority of the theoretical propositions that most heavy philosophy puts forth.

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Without a doubt, he believes that everything dear to humanists–the universal human love of literature, the drive to find meaning in religion, the desire to construct and understand our own history–can be understood through a competent understanding of biology. Maybe there are basic facts and, if God settles them, the rest fall into place; he takes care of the pennies, and they take care of the pounds.

As Russell said somewhere, induction for a chicken means the farmer comes to feed him each morning.

Reviving the unity of science programme is most of what consilience amounts to. Dilson alternative–boundless percipience–seems downright unbiological. My psychology is determined by physical states both biological and chemical in my brain.

How does the brain give rise to subjective feeling? Mar 01, Lane Ward rated it really liked it Shelves: Wilson tends to mix up ei two kinds of consilience. Wilson has, it turns out, immersed himself in the obscurantist scribblings of Derrida and company.

I suppose that characterization isn’t entirely unfair; but Wilson has thought about it a lot and makes the case in a nuanced and interesting way. Some information is dated, as this book is now 17 years old, but most of the information is still incredibly relevant and many of Wilson’s predictions for the coming years have rang true, particularly those in the chapter dealing with the brain sciences and those concerning the environment in the final chapter.

I drank too much, and slept surrounded by partially read books. In the new understanding can be located the most effective means for reaching consensus. Science, Wilson tells us, answers the question of “who can feel blue and other sensations and who cannot feel them, and explains why that difference exists”, while art “transmits feelings among persons of the same capacity.