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. What does Wilson call sociology?

2. Wilson defines culture in terms of what?

3. What beneficial uses can incest have in cultures, in Durham's account?

4. What does Edmund Wilson say the arts ultimately create?

5. Which social science does Edmund Wilson say is best situated to bridge the gap between natural science and social science?

Short Essay Questions

1. In what way are epi-genetic rules cross-cultural?

2. What role does Wilson say creativity has in survival and evolution?

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

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

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

6. What threats to contemporary culture does Wilson describe, and how is consilience useful in answering them?

7. What is the consilient view of religious ethics?

8. What is the sign, in EO Wilson's account, that culture is evolving?

9. How do social factors influence genetic distribution?

10. How does Wilson describe the universality of art?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Is consilience possible, and if so, who would practice it? Is it necessarily communal? In our modern circumstance of specialized research and analysis, can one person--can one panel of people contain and unify all knowledge? Is Wilson arguing for the unification of knowledge, or just better networks and communication between disciplines?

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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