E. O. Wilson Writing Styles in Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

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Wilson has made contributions in such areas as population genetics, evolutionary biology, entomology, and ethology. Consilience is a study of sciences that should have a common goal to provide understanding, purpose, and solutions. Through the synthesis he raises issues of scientific purpose, human nature, religion, and rectifies confusion that has entered these areas when wrong premises are adopted or wrong questions are asked. His work inspires with thought-provoking case studies, indicating that science can be better studied when a meaning is adopted. He considers the Enlightenment as the most vital period that delivered important philosophical and scientific concepts that drove civilization to where it is today.

The author argues that social and natural sciences should work together towards solving the most urgent needs of humanity. Wilson raises issues present in all areas of humanity. He considers biology as capable of linking other sciences and phenomena. All subjects that involve economics, art, religion, ethics, and human mind are analyzed. The most urgent issue involves the environment and is considered as most vital to the survival of humanity. Only when all branches of learning work together can solutions be designed as we approach the critical moment for human development hindered by the imminent environmental disaster.

His central argument concerns sociobiology and the genetic evolution. His arguments provide a convincing case for a more knowledgeable approach to sciences that need more awareness of their purpose. Both empirical and transcendental views are present when attempting to decipher the meaning of our existence. Through epigenetic rules that evolved along with our brain development as part of our survival, we are prone to certain behaviors most prominent in our family relations that discourage incest while striving for support between the closest relations.


Wilson provides cases, metaphors, and explanation that lead to conclusions some may consider radical. His style of writing is gentle, respectful, and well argued.

Wilson uses elegant prose that also moves while using comparisons. His optimistic views are interwoven with insights, information, facts, and thoughts. At times a conversational style incorporates questions. He has the ability to provide clear and thought provoking arguments while being economical and meaningful.

His analysis is provocative, while his assertions are meaningful and informative. The tone changes as it delves into historical events to ensure that while arguing for the objective world view, he maintains objective perspective.

Both transcendental and empirical arguments unveil arguments from all areas of life. Statements are also considered with reflection. His views may be controversial, but his tone is also quite reserved. There is nothing that can be considered as redundant, and his changing methods of argument make reading engaging. He traverses across many topics with ease, raising points that touch real life, knowledge, and assumptions. His colorful examples are derived even from movies as ways of illustrating arguments. Nothing seems to be abandoned in the pursuit to find the truth amidst chaos and confusion. His writing contains also a tone of discovery, where we delve into various areas, time, space, and places.


The book is divided into twelve chapters. Each deals with a different scientific area, such as physics, chemistry, biology, economics, social sciences, the arts, humanities, philosophy, religion and ethics, and environment. Each chapter begins with a certain historical perspective. Each chapter leads to the following chapter with implications for other chapters. He carries his investigation into each chapter with a similar methodology.

He often resorts to myths, metaphors, and history. In all chapters the themes of ethics and religion also emerge, as ethics is what is most important to human survival.

The entire book progresses from the beginning, where Wilson's arguments originate during his studies through the historical account of the origin of his inspiration until the last most urgent issue that deals with current human survival on the planet.

All other areas that are analyzed pertain to human life and are essential to its evolution. Science is as necessary as ethic and arts. Two arguments apparent throughout involve science and religion. As a scientist he presents mostly empirical arguments, although conclusions are drawn based on cultural, anthropological, and historical accounts.

All arguments are presented in such a way that they represent a synthesis of statements leading to the final ultimate conclusion. It is no coincidence that ethics and religion are raised just before the last chapter that deals mostly with human current survival and the environment. As the final conclusion states, it is ethics that is a tool to survival, but needs to include other life on earth.

This section contains 752 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge from BookRags. (c)2017 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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