Latest Issue

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…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect