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Edward O. Wilson (1929–2021)

Forfatter af Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

68+ Works 16,073 Members 275 Reviews 60 Favorited

Om forfatteren

He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1929. He is currently Pellegrino University Research Professor & Honorary Curator in Entomology of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. He is on the Board of Directors of the Nature Conservancy, Conservation International & the American Museum of vis mere Natural History. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts. (Bowker Author Biography) vis mindre


Værker af Edward O. Wilson

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998) 2,634 eksemplarer
The Diversity of Life (1992) 1,788 eksemplarer
The Future of Life (2002) 1,238 eksemplarer
On Human Nature (1978) 1,024 eksemplarer
Naturalist (1843) 856 eksemplarer
The Social Conquest of Earth (2012) 856 eksemplarer
Anthill: A Novel (2010) 645 eksemplarer
The Meaning of Human Existence (2014) 626 eksemplarer
From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books (2005) — Redaktør; Introduktion — 463 eksemplarer
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1881) 460 eksemplarer
Letters to a Young Scientist (2013) 453 eksemplarer
Biophilia (1984) 374 eksemplarer
The Ants (1990) 351 eksemplarer
The Origins of Creativity (2017) 274 eksemplarer
In Search of Nature (1996) 252 eksemplarer
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2001 (2001) — Redaktør — 171 eksemplarer
Sociobiology: The Abridged Edition (1980) 153 eksemplarer
The Insect Societies (1971) 139 eksemplarer
Biodiversity (1988) — Redaktør — 131 eksemplarer
Tales from the Ant World (2020) 129 eksemplarer
The Theory of Island Biogeography (1967) 105 eksemplarer
The Biophilia Hypothesis (1993) 102 eksemplarer
A Primer of Population Biology (1971) 97 eksemplarer
Life on Earth (1978) 22 eksemplarer
Every Species Is a Masterpiece (2021) 16 eksemplarer
Origins of the Human Mind (1996) 9 eksemplarer
The Secret Duchess 1 eksemplar
Trailhead 1 eksemplar
Pol Ziemi (2017) 1 eksemplar
Microcosm 1 eksemplar
The Universe 1 eksemplar

Associated Works

Det tavse forår (1962) — Efterskrift, nogle udgaver6,514 eksemplarer
The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing (2008) — Bidragyder — 802 eksemplarer
Darwin (Norton Critical Edition) (1970) — Bidragyder, nogle udgaver655 eksemplarer
The Best American Essays 2007 (2007) — Bidragyder — 471 eksemplarer
American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau (2008) — Bidragyder — 416 eksemplarer
Evolution: The First Four Billion Years (2009) — Forord, nogle udgaver218 eksemplarer
For Love of Insects (2003) — Forord, nogle udgaver217 eksemplarer
Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History (1996) — Bidragyder — 206 eksemplarer
Field Notes on Science & Nature (2011) — Forord — 166 eksemplarer
The Forgotten Pollinators (1996) — Forord, nogle udgaver149 eksemplarer
Imagine There's No Heaven: Voices of Secular Humanism (1997) — Bidragyder — 90 eksemplarer
The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative (2005) — Forord, nogle udgaver77 eksemplarer
A World in One Cubic Foot: Portraits of Biodiversity (2012) — Forord — 47 eksemplarer
Storm: Stories of Survival from Land and Sea (2000) — Bidragyder — 44 eksemplarer
Naturalist: A Graphic Adaptation (2020) — Bidragyder — 44 eksemplarer
Archipelago : Islands of Indonesia (1999) — Forord — 33 eksemplarer
Philosophy now : an introductory reader (1972) — Bidragyder — 24 eksemplarer
The Earth and I (2016) — Bidragyder — 24 eksemplarer
Ants: Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity (2000) — Forord, nogle udgaver17 eksemplarer
Fishes of Alabama (2004) — Forord, nogle udgaver14 eksemplarer
Forgotten Grasslands of the South: Natural History and Conservation (2012) — Forord, nogle udgaver14 eksemplarer
Earth '88: Changing Geographic Perspectives (1988) — Bidragyder — 13 eksemplarer
Defining Sustainable Forestry (1993) — Forord — 13 eksemplarer
Penguin Green Ideas Collection (2021) — Bidragyder — 11 eksemplarer
NOVA: Lord of the Ants [2008 TV episode] (2008) — Self — 1 eksemplar

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GROUP READ: The Social Conquest of Earth (main thread) i 75 Books Challenge for 2012 (januar 2013)


Wilson, a passionate man, piles on the data to try to get people to save what diversity we have left.
If he can't convert them, no one will
cspiwak | 2 andre anmeldelser | Mar 6, 2024 |
I have long admired Dr. Wilson and this book just increases my respect and , dare I say it, affection for him. An autobiography that teaches not only about his life but life on earth and life lived well
cspiwak | 10 andre anmeldelser | Mar 6, 2024 |
A difficult read. Wilson goes through an outline of evolution, including cladistics and then ecology in order to make sure readers understand what there is to lose and how we are losing it. He tries to persuade people for practical aesthetic a d moral reasons to preserve biodiversity and gives some great examples of value (cancer fighting plants) and loss mistletoe, to illustrate points
cspiwak | 20 andre anmeldelser | Mar 6, 2024 |
A difficult book that tests your definitions of science, progress and beliefs. The author crosses issues looking both ways and taking careful account of the scientific ecosystem and into the broader human condition.

The term consilience is applied to many scenarios so it is not always crystal clear. The author suggests that extending our investigation into the natural world by connecting activities to their biological, neuroscientific fundamentals we could understand social sciences like even economics as emergent from principles that go as far down as the physical sciences.

The author’s definition of free will is my favoured one that ultimately the argument on its existence is pointless given the impossibility of reconciling the scale of degrees of freedom, sensitivity to natural phenomena. Those that state it does not exist have no realistic way to demonstrate as much.

The book initially does not indicate what the big picture choices of values could or should be. It is not tech positivist but rather science method-ist bridging to all areas of human activity. The idea is we should study all without limits in the key of biological sciences particularly looking at impact of heredity and adaptation.

In the first part of the book the author takes as a fundamental truth a certain kind of enlightened progress. The idea is that consilient knowledge would help humanity “advance”. The problem with this is the author does not address how some areas of study themselves can be pandora boxes for important risks. From dividing society to technological developments that increase existential risk. Though the author underlies the importance of ethics there is little dedicated to precautionary principle, particularly where in the bioscience we have already run into problems.

At the end of the book the author introduces the problematic balancing of the growth based economies of the world and the impact on environment. This end is a sudden twist to the plot becaus now we take into implicit consideration the values of sustainability of civilisation. This consideration and focus should have been a lens from the beginning of the book as it would reframe consilience and its potential controversies around the bigger risk of environmental collapse.

I am surprised that the author does not directly address how some new ideas, technology and knowledge can increase existential risks over the long term. Consilience between areas of knowledge is not exempt from this problem. Case in point the author describes economics with a glossy picture (very different from my own) and explains that connection to psychology and neuroscience can unlock a whole new world of possibilities. I would say that since publicatiom many neuroeconomics learnings are applied in an exploitative way. Who cares? But this is the sort of activity could drive tail risks way up…

Basically across most of the text what is good for the author is a kind of evolutionary transformation of knowledge. But in this area he does not consider the risks in some of his ideas and directions. And when we reach the drama of the final chapter and it presenting only the space for a narrow escape for humanity I wonder how he can reconcile that it would be thanks to consilience that humanity “survives”?

Basically the issue is scientific investigation according to whatever style or means is almost always a consequence of a political direction. It seems simplistic to think consilient knowledge would solve these problems alone.

… (mere)
yates9 | 27 andre anmeldelser | Feb 28, 2024 |



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