Towards Consilience

Integrating performance history with the co-evolution of our species

Authored by: Bruce McConachie

The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance, and Cognitive Science

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138048898
eBook ISBN: 9781315169927
Adobe ISBN:


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Two phenomena are ‘consilient’ when they ‘jump together.’ Biologist E.O. Wilson chose Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge as the title of his 1998 book because he is encouraging scholars to use rigorous empirical methods in order to create ‘a common groundwork of explanation’ that bridges the sciences and humanities (1998, 8). I am investigating potential areas of consilience between history and evolution because of my interest in the politics of climate change and resource depletion. Wilson, also an advocate for radical political reform to alter our increasingly dangerous future, understands that the unity of knowledge he seeks can directly improve democratic citizenship and governance. ‘Most of the issues that vex humanity’ – among which Wilson includes ethnic conflict, endemic poverty and the environment – ‘cannot be solved without integrating knowledge from the natural sciences with that of the social sciences and humanities,’ he states (13).

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