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In this groundbreaking book, American biologist Edward O. Wilson, argues for the fundamental unity of all knowledge and the need to search for consilience--the proof that everything in our world is organized in terms of a small number of fundamental natural laws that comprise the principles underlying every branch of learning. Professor 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 and the human species--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 surging back to life, why they are reappearing on the very frontiers of science and humanistic scholarship, and how they are beginning to sketch themselves as the blueprint of our world as it most profoundly, elegantly, and excitingly is.
"This masterfully written book is nothing less than a daring challenge to the prevailing world view. It proposes in its place a grand, coherent conception encompassing the sciences, the arts, ethics, and religion. The reader feels lifted up to a high peak from which today's fragmented intellectual landscape below can be seen, and understood, in an entirely new way."
--Gerald Holton, author of Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought
"E. O. Wilson gives us his informed, sensitive, and flat-out brilliantly balanced reflections on the prospects for human inquiry. Consilience may be just another impressive achievement for Wilson, but for the rest of us it is a bright light on a darkened path."
--Loyal D. Rue, author of By the Grace of Guile