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The unity of knowledge

It is more than 20 years since Edward O Wilson first presented sociobiology as a Darwinian meta-theory. His latest book still aims to reconcile culture and biology and is as over-ambitious as ever

By Andrew Brown   July 1998

When EO Wilson was a small boy in Florida, he put out one of his eyes with a fish. It was a spiney Caribbean minnow and he managed to swing it into his right eye while trying to unhook it. The way he tells the story in his autobiography is characteristic: “The pain was excruciating and I suffered for hours. But, being anxious to stay outdoors, I didn’t complain very much. I continued fishing.” The pain from his eye went away after a few days, but a couple of months later he developed a traumatic cataract in that eye and…

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