Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. How did Wilson arrive at his theory of consilience?

Wilson developed his idea of consilience from studying science--he noticed that the branches of knowledge could be connected the same way the families and orders of animals were organized, with a common source.

2. How is Wilson's theory a consequence of evolutionary theory?

Evolution changed how animals were classified, and the new taxonomy, in addition to the mechanism of adaptation and selection, fit for Wilson with the fields of knowledge, which have to prove themselves useful to survive, and which can be reclassified in light of the possibility of a common source.

3. What ancient sources does Wilson trace consilience back to?

Wilson traces the thinking that led to consilience back to Thales of Miletus, who believed that the world had a material basis, and that a few simple laws could explain all national phenomena.

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