Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge Themes

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The Unification of Knowledge

The central theme of the book is the unification of knowledge. Each branch of learning can enhance the understanding of other branches of learning. The Unification of knowledge is necessary for humans to know and understand who they are and why they exist. The unification of knowledge can also liberate the mind. Such attempts can end in failure but it is human to endeavor even if there is lack of success as long as it is honorable and memorable. The myth of Icarus, who tried but failed when flying towards the Sun on wings from wax and feather can be viewed as the punishment of foolishness or defeat of pride. It can also be viewed as the daring of human endeavor. It is also an attempt to test how far can humans go.

The unification of knowledge is part of the Ionian Enchantment that signifies a belief that the world is orderly and guided through few simple rules. Such unification expressed by Thales of Mileturs incorporated the belief that all matter consists of water. This view, although not entirely right, contains a perception of the unifying nature of the world and sciences. The Enchantment became dominant in scientific thought. In physics it signified the unity of forces of nature to the extent that it was also to become a perfect system of thought.

The unification of sciences is still a valid notion supported by perceptions that complex phenomena are united, despite appearing to be separate events as Marcel Grossman proposed. The unification of knowledge allows the release from dogma towards an attempt to venture.

Empirical versus transcendental views

The clash between empirical and transcendental views involves the recognition that the Darwinian theory has relevance, as evolution represents an important element in natural history as part of biological organization. The unity of knowledge is a concept that sparked scientific thought and the concept of the perfect system of thought, along with significant developments in physics and other sciences. The unification of knowledge releases while at the same time clashes with religious views that contain hope, faith, charity, and heritage. Religions represented by great ideals, however, led to wars.

Religion that inspires is also part of belonging, reminding that life is larger than humanity while steering to rise above instincts, giving explanations for our origins and continuation. Revelation provides certain satisfaction that our existence is justified. Religion also provides a sense of significance but is unable to deliver the explanation of the complexity of life on earth. The attractive aspects of religion involve its inspiration of love and hope. The fundamental clash between religion and science is its basic assumption of the origin of human beings. While religion claims that we belong to a different world, science certifies the origins of human evolution across hundred of thousands of years. Our immaterial state that is to manifest itself after our death may fail to eventuate the way we hope. Even then, sacral traditions provide believers with hope in times of turmoil, with prayer delivering relief. Despite convincing arguments, religion proves that it is needed and beneficial. The clash between religion and science may remain unresolved, but it can be reconciled.

Biology as the unification tool

Biology can enhance our view of the world that gains a different perspective when we unveil the manner in which it classifies life on earth, gaining a theoretical structure through the Darwinian theory of evolution. The same pattern that exists in biology involves causal events that are part of biological organization that are also applicable to life. Species not only exist in real life. They are also part of real science.

Biology also invites the view that the world proceeds according to a certain order and is orderly. Biology is connected with other branches, such as environmental policy, ethics, and social science. Each area can stand apart with specific language, standards, and language. Concepts serve to guide us. Biology is closely related both to environmental policies and ethics. Few policies can be identified that deal effectively with environmental threats. Only when other scientific domains are identified, where the focus of research can be determined, can a proper line of action can be established.

Human actions involve events of physical causation. Biology is linked to natural sciences that unveil the causation of historical events. Collaboration between various sciences represents also the recognition of borderlines where consilience can be tested. Biology as well as other sciences need to be recognized in devising solutions to the most common problems facing humanity, such as ethnic conflict, arms escalation, overpopulation, environment, and poverty.

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