Written by 4:00 pm Philosophy, Reason • 2 Comments

Consciousness, Consilience and Collaboration

A 12-part podcast series exploring the lessons and limits of E.O.Wilson’s masterpiece “Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge” (1998)

Several months ago, Daniel Sanderson (creator and author of PlankSip, a philosophy and culture media outlet and publishing enterprise), proposed a collaboration with me (George Gantz, creator and author of Spiral Inquiry, and exploration of science, faith and philosophy).  The goal was to complete a podcast series commenting on a book we both felt great respect for –  E.O. Wilson’s Consilience – the Unity of Knowledge (1998).  For Daniel, Wilson had laid the groundwork for a process leading towards the grand ambition of the unification of science.  My sense was that Wilson had indeed articulated the grand vision, but had glossed over key issues that, to my mind, would forever frustrate that aspiration.

Wilson made his aspiration clear in selecting this quote for the frontispiece to his book:

“Thus have I made as it were a small globe of the intellectual world, as truly and faithful as I could discover.”  Francis Bacon (1605).  

The podcast series includes twelve episodes, following roughly the Twelve Chapters of Wilson’s book.  The conversation is far ranging, and while neither of us convinced the other to abandon our original positions, we both gained considerable perspective in the exchanges.  The agreements we did find are that philosophical inquiry is hard but worthwhile, and is best when both parties practice humility, curiosity and respect, as well maintaining the commitment to seek that which is both true and good.

The episodes are all available on YouTube (link here). We would love to have you listen in to the conversation and share any thoughts you have on this blog post!

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