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. Wilson says that biological classification is based on the "Origin of Species" and what?

2. What can biological research do for complexity theory, in Wilson's account?

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

4. Who influenced Wilson's idea of unified learning?

5. What does Wilson mean by the Ionian Enchantment'?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. What does the term "consilience" mean?

9. How does Wilson describe what it is possible to know about the brain?

10. How does consilience aim to resolve political problems?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How does the advent of symmetric multiprocessing computing change the face of science and scientific knowledge? Specifically, how does the ability to crunch enormous amounts of information in multi-variable formulas affect the ability of scientists to describe nature? Does it create a favorable environment for consilience of all the sciences? Or does it reduce things to the laws of statistical probability and math?

Essay Topic 2

Wilson writes that economic models of culture can change variables, but keep the remainder--the unique thing that is the culture itself--constant. What is it about economic that Wilson says makes it better suited to our times than sociology and anthropology? What would superiority mean if Wilson were the dean of a university, with power to determine funding for departments?

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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