Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

Human Nature College

Human nature is the term used to refer to that conventionally accepted as what is uniquely and distinctly human. While few deny that such a quality exists, the origins and extent of this quality have yet to be conclusively defined. The following essay will explain the relationship between two opposing arguments delving into this subject, examining both: J.S. Mill’s notion regarding the necessity of individuality, as presented in On Liberty, and; E.O. Wilson’s theory that genes are the foundational basis of all human actions, culminating in his notion of evolutionary ethics, as seen in Consilience. Ultimately, this essay will argue the thesis that the notions of Mill and Wilson contradict each other, by: examining the ideas of both authors; illustrating the dichotomy their comparison creates, and; providing a comment as to the potential applicability of each.

Mill believes individuality to be the basis of human nature, thus implying that without individuality the distinctive characteristics of humans will be lost. His argument rests on the foundational premise that each person has the ability to develop into a unique individual: “Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed...

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