This reading is composed of selections from E.O. Wilson.
Wilson is considered one of the greatest biologists of the twentieth century with expertise
in entomology and evolutionary theory. And while Carnap was a preeminent philosopher
of science who made great advances in clarifying the processes of science, Wilson is an actual
scientist who knows that science is less clear-cut than positivist philosophers would like
it to be. He is in a better position than most to describe how science is actually conducted
and how it advances. Answer the following questions on these Wilson selections in 400 words.
1. Take an important scientific theory (Newtonian dynamics, the atomic hypothesis, Darwinian
evolution, or another of your choice) and explain, according to Wilson's criteria, why it is such
a good scientific theory.
2. What does Wilson mean by "reductionism" and why is important to science?
3. Do you agree with critics of science who believe that reducing events to their underlying
physical phenomena (like explaining a colorful sunset with the ideas of atomic absorption
and emission) strips the world of its beauty?