Books: A Great Leap Together

Enough of insular specialties, says scientist E.O. Wilson. We can still see the natural world whole

If you are still in the dark about Edward O. Wilson and what he does for a living, you have already proved the point of his latest book, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (Knopf; 332 pages; $26). The modern mind, Wilson argues, is so compartmentalized by specialization and insular beliefs that we have lost faith in seeing the natural world as an integrated whole.

Wilson is in a good position to know. He has distinguished himself in too many specialties to be called a specialist. He is a research professor at Harvard, a renowned entomologist, a leading environmentalist and a founder...

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