Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge Test | Final 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 does Edmund Wilson define ethics?

2. What does Edmund Wilson say cultures are made of?

3. What do modern technologies give humans the ability to choose?

4. What does Edmund Wilson say wars are products of?

5. What cannot be expressed by brain imaging, in Edmund Wilson's account?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Wilson say is the relationship between human genetics and the development of culture?

2. What ethical perspective does Wilson call the Transcendental view?

3. How do social factors influence genetic distribution?

4. What is the consilient view of religious ethics?

5. What social problems does Wilson say are caused by failures in social sciences?

6. What is volitional evolution, and what does Wilson say are its effects?

7. How does postmodern art resist consilience, in E.O. Wilson's account?

8. How does art look through the gene-culture evolution paradigm Wilson offers?

9. What role does the incest taboo have in genetic and cultural development?

10. What are the two branches of anthropology Wilson describes, and what question does he say they both fail to answer?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How does Wilson refute claims by philosophers of individual experience, who say that truth is personal, and that the search for unity of knowledge will always result in self-opposition, as Freud shows is the case in the unconscious? Does Wilson seem to be at war with himself anywhere within the book, or are his ideas consistent with the possibility of unification of knowledge?

Essay Topic 2

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 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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