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Shaping Science with RhetoricThe Cases of Dobzhansky, Schrodinger, and Wilson$
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Leah Ceccarelli

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780226099064

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226099088.001.0001

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The Controversy over Sociobiology: Scholars Offer Conflicting Explanations

The Controversy over Sociobiology: Scholars Offer Conflicting Explanations

(p.113) 6 The Controversy over Sociobiology: Scholars Offer Conflicting Explanations
Shaping Science with Rhetoric
University of Chicago Press

Sociobiology was seen to be in “its logical position as the bridging discipline between the natural sciences on the one side and social sciences and humanities on the other.” A majority of scholars in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities who have written book reviews of Consilience have responded negatively to Wilson's latest appeal for interdisciplinarity. Readers have called Wilson's interdisciplinary erasing of the boundaries between the natural sciences and the humanities and social sciences “indefensible,” a sermon “shaky in substance” that is based on “a distressingly flat account of disciplines and their boundaries.” They complain that his notion of consilience rides on a “dubious assumption” about the proper relation between disciplines is grounded on purported links between natural science and social science that are “fatally weak,” and in the end will “not neatly solve any of the problems he notes, especially in the humanities and social sciences.”

Keywords:   sociobiology, consilience, interdisciplinary, natural science, dubious assumption

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