Edited by Frank Whelon Wayman, Paul R. Williamson, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Solomon Polachek
Editor’s introduction to Part II
Edward O. Wilson’s personal interest in the unification of physical, biologic al, and social science provides an ideal orientation to the themes of our book – a book which aims to integrate diverse scientific efforts to predict the future of the human condition on a global scale. In his 1998 book Consilience, Wilson calls for a renewal of the Enlightenment project of combining scientific endeavors to improve human understanding and well-being. From the elegant prose of Consilience to the liberal use of partial derivatives in Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Professor Wilson bridges the two cultures of letters and numbers. Professor Wilson’s Sociobiology, published in 1975, was a path-breaking effort to examine the biological basis of social behavior. As he wrote 30 years ago, one might also say today, it “remains to be seen” whether “sociology and the other social sciences, as well as the humanities,” are to be “the last branches of biology waiting to be included in the Modern [neo-Darwinist] synthesis” (Wilson 1975 : 4). In Consilience, two decades later, Professor Wilson continued to contribute to the quest for unification of knowledge, from physics and biology to anthropology and the arts. In Chapter 3, we take that journey with his help, as he writes on human nature (the title of one of his books; Wilson 1978). Wilson’s chapter is immediately followed by a closely connected contribution, Richard Alexander’s Chapter 4, “Darwin’s Challenges and the Future of Human Society.”
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