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By: Stephen Jay Gould
274 pages, 38 line illus
Completed shortly before his death in May 2002, this is Gould's last scientific offering. He uses the centuries-old conflict between science and the humanities to elucidate a series of issues. The metaphor of the title refers to different ways of responding to knowledge - scientific, humanistic and fearful - and Gould argues that in fact each of them should borrow from the others and thereby enhance themselves. He includes an impassioned discussion of consilience, EO Wilson's programme for reconciling the sciences and humanities. Against Wilson's determinism and positivism, Gould argues that events in nature are genuinely random.
A fitting tribute to his career, as it combines, in both style and substance, the different themes of his life's work. Blending genuine literary talents with impeccable scientific credentials, Gould crafts an elegant entreaty for scientists and scholars to spend less time complaining about each other and more time combining their considerable resources. We need both the fox and the hedgehog in any intellectual menagerie--the persistent pluralist.--Alan C. Hutchinson "Globe and Mail "
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Stephen Jay Gould was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and professor of geology at Harvard and the curator for invertebrate palaeontology in the university's Museum of Comparative Zoology. He died in May 2002.
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