Saturday, October 7, 2006

Started Consilience by E. O. Wilson

Fabulous.  Exactly what the Doctor ordered.  It's all about the unity of knowledge, a kind of grand unified field theory not only for the natural world but for the human experience.   What ambition!

And it's totally grounded in History, tracing the ideas from the emergence of Science and the Enlightenment to the present day.

Consilience is the emergence of a common principle, fact, concept or law perhaps in fields which appear to be quite distinct but are actually describing the same phenomenon from a different point of view.  For example, where the basic Biology of the nervous system meets Neurology and Psychology we have an emergent field we call Cognitive Science.  Now imagine what that experience would feel like if we were to include the study of Ethics, Social Sciences and the Humanities.

He is really arguing for synthesis.  We have made so much progress in so many fields yet applications lag behind.  So many of the real world problems require combinations of disciplines.  And there the use of data, techniques, specialized language etc is difficult.

I'll write more as I learn.

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