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

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Where did Wilson develop the idea of unified learning?

2. What field of questions does Wilson say remain unanswered?

3. What does science try to integrate, in Wilson's account?

4. What do nerve cells in the brain send signals along?

5. What does Wilson credit animals with being able to see?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Wilson offer ants as a metaphor for consilience?

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

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

4. How does the modern theory of dreams explain something like the presence and significance of snakes in dreams, in Wilson's account?

5. What is the modern understanding of dreams?

6. How does Wilson offer dreams as an example of the need for consilience?

7. How has postmodernism affected Wilson's consilience?

8. What does E.O. Wilson mean by the Ionian Enchantment?

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

10. How would you describe Condorcet's influence on Wilson's idea of consilience?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What would consilience look like if it were accomplished? Would it expand or limit scientific experimentation? Would it encourage or suppress dissenting views? Would it be totalitarian or fractious?

Essay Topic 2

Are 'epi-genetic rules' really just another way of saying complex social factors that have to be experienced individually? Does Wilson really evade the complexity and individuality of experience and sensation and language use?

Essay Topic 3

European and American birth rates are relatively low compared to many developing countries. How do you reconcile this with Wilson's arguments about evolution, and how the expansion of power over territory allows the dissemination of genes? Has America's influence been genetic? How would you characterize its influence, and reconcile its influence with its low birth rates?

(see the answer keys)

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