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. How can science help us, in Wilson's account?

2. What methods did Descartes use in his work?

3. In Wilson's account, why did the French Revolution fail?

4. What interpret does Wilson give the myth of Icarus?

5. What did Laplace pioneer?

Short Essay Questions

1. How would you describe John Locke's influence on Wilson's idea of consilience?

2. What does Wilson offer as an alternative to scientific knowledge and consilience?

3. How does consilience aim to resolve political problems?

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

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

6. How is knowledge accepted as settled, or final?

7. What is the relationship between chaos theory and consilience?

8. How would you describe Francis Bacon's influence on Wilson's idea of consilience?

9. What is the modern understanding of dreams?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Is there a contradiction in how Wilson distinguishes between the social sciences and natural sciences, and yet argues for the overlap between all forms of knowledge? Is he saying that branches of knowledge are distinct, or not? Is he saying that all branches of knowledge are linked or not?

Essay Topic 2

What kinds of situations or uses would consilience be best for, and what kinds of knowledge or what situations would not benefit by a 'consilient' perspective? What are the limitations of Wilson's consilience? What are the strengths?

Essay Topic 3

What are the reasons that the sciences have resisted the urge to unification expressed in consilience? How are the sciences organized like trades, and how have individuals staked claims on funding or authority that would prevent consilience?

(see the answer keys)

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