Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

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The Ionian Enchantment

• The idea of unification of knowledge is a result of evolutionary theory, and the new forms of classification instituted by Lamarck.
• Wilson traces his consilience back to Thales of Miletus, who proposed that simple laws underlay all forms of knowledge.
• Having been raised Southern Baptist, Wilson chose to search for objective reality rather than revelation or God.

The Great Branches of Learning

• Consilience links natural science, social science and the humanities.
• Government policies are often made by people without scientific training.
• Consilience would require schools to teach more science, and to integrate science into the humanities curriculum.

The Enlightenment

• Intellectual unification of knowledge emerged from the Enlightenment, where people began to believe in the idea of natural laws, and also natural rights.
• Philosophers Locke, Rousseau, Condorcet, Bacon and Descartes pioneered the universality of sciences and knowledge that Wilson presents now as consilience.
• Postmodern fragmentation has...

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