Aaron's Reviews > Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

Consilience by Edward O. Wilson
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's review
Jun 18, 09

it was ok
bookshelves: non-fiction, science
Read in June, 2009

The word 'flowery' comes up often in reviews of this book, with good reason. This is not good news for a book claiming to be advancing a scientific theory.

If there is any scientific point being made here, it is simply that culture is a product of evolved human brains, and so culture can in theory be linked back to genetics. If you've read The Extended Phenotype (Dawkins), it's that idea applied strongly to humans, but in a writing style I can only describe - using Wilson's own words, describing Derrida - as "ornately obscurantist."

Faults:
- The chapters ramble and we are given no clear path, structure or hypothesis.
- Metaphors are tortured, ineffective and abandoned swiftly (the labyrinth).

Later on we do get some useful summaries of particular fields, for example on bioethics, or the biology of religious belief.

In the end the best you're going to get here is a sweeping overview of science - but for a readable, entertaining version of that I would definitely look elsewhere.
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