Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. According to complexity theory, what is the result of living on the edge of chaos?
(a) Escalation.
(b) Experimentation.
(c) Extinction.
(d) Evolution.

2. What claims do philosophers make for the unification of knowledge?
(a) That it can bring more peace to political conflicts.
(b) That it can reduce the need for science.
(c) That it can resolve issues the sciences cannot answer.
(d) That scientific solutions are incomplete without the humanities.

3. Whose ideas influenced the formation of the French slogan "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"?
(a) Condorcet.
(b) Rousseau.
(c) Locke.
(d) de Sade.

4. What does local positivism fail to distinguish between, in Wilson's narration?
(a) Past and future.
(b) Concept and fact.
(c) Material and ideal.
(d) Natural science and social science.

5. In Wilson's account, why did the French Revolution fail?
(a) Because of the intellectual opposition to the tyranny of the revolution.
(b) Because of international fear of the spread of revolution.
(c) Because of the excesses of tyrants and terrorists.
(d) Because the efficiency of the military in the Reign of Terror allowed Napoleon's rise.

Short Answer Questions

1. After considering all the different contexts for ants' communication, how does Wilson describe their form of communication?

2. What did Laplace pioneer?

3. The idea that water was the unifying medium for all nature is the center of which philosophical view?

4. Wilson says that passion and emotion are both linked to what?

5. What qualities of mind drove the techno-scientific age?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How would you describe Wilson's relationship with religion?

3. Why is consilience especially important in studying the mind?

4. In what way does Wilson distinguish between evolutionary progress and consilience?

5. How do anatomical limitations affect our science, in Wilson's account?

6. How does science impact the arts, in E.O. Wilson's account?

7. How would you describe Rene Descartes' influence on Wilson's idea of consilience?

8. How does Wilson offer the physical sciences as a metaphor for consilience?

9. Why does Wilson cite Einstein as an example of someone who practiced consilience?

10. What consequence does Wilson hope consilience can have on public policy?

(see the answer keys)

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