Consilience - what does it mean?

This question arises from time to time, so for those who are curious, here’s a more thorough answer!

Consilience means the ‘unity of knowledge’

It was coined in the mid 19th century by English polymath William Whewell to describe the unification of knowledge between the different branches of learning.

Incidentally, William Whewell also invented the terms ‘scientist‘ and ‘physicist’ (until then scientists were known as ‘natural philosophers’).

In 1998 the word ‘consilience’ was revived in Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, a book by the humanist biologist Edward O Wilson: an attempt to bridge the culture gap between the sciences and the humanities.

So why do we use the name?

John Brady, founder of Consilience in 2001, is former Chair of the Society for the Environment, and founder of ‘the environmentalist’ magazine.

Inspired by the concepts in Edward O Wilson’s book, John decided the name was apt given that our team combines a wide variety of creative and technical expertise.

In short; we have ‘unified our knowledge’!

So now you know!

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