Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox Mending the Gap Between Science and the Humanities

ISBN-10: 0609601407

ISBN-13: 9780609601402

Edition: 2003

Authors: Stephen Jay Gould

List price: $25.95
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Description:

In his final book and his first full-length original title since Full House in 1996, the eminent paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould offers a surprising and nuanced study of the complex relationship between our two great ways of knowing: science and the humanities, twin realms of knowledge that have been divided against each other for far too long. To establish his two protagonists, Gould draws from a seventh century b.c. proverb attributed to the Greek soldier-poet Archilochus that said roughly, “The fox devises many strategies; the hedgehog knows one great and effective strategy.” While emphatically rejecting any simplistic attempt to assign either science or the humanities to one or the other of these approaches to knowledge, Gould uses this ancient concept to demonstrate that neither strategy can work alone, but that these seeming opposites can be conjoined into a common enterprise of tremendous unity and power. In building his case, Gould shows why the common assumption of an inescapable conflict between science and the humanities (in which he includes religion) is false, mounts a spirited rebuttal to the ideas that his intellectual rival E. O. Wilson set forth in his book Consilience, and explains why the pursuit of knowledge must always operate upon the bedrock of nature’s randomness. The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister’s Pox is a controversial discourse, rich with facts and observations gathered by one of the most erudite minds of our time.
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Book details

List price: $25.95
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 4/8/2003
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

Born in New York City in 1941, Stephen Jay Gould received his B.A. from Antioch College in New York in 1963 and a Ph.D. in paleontology from Columbia University in 1967. Gould spent most of his career as a professor at Harvard University and curator of invertebrate paleontology at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. His research was mainly in the evolution and speciation of land snails. Gould was a leading proponent of the theory of punctuated equilibrium. This theory holds that few evolutionary changes occur among organisms over long periods of time, and then a brief period of rapid changes occurs before another long, stable period of equilibrium sets in. Gould also made significant contributions to the field of evolutionary developmental biology, most notably in his work, Ontogeny and Phylogeny. An outspoken advocate of the scientific outlook, Gould had been a vigorous defender of evolution against its creation-science opponents in popular magazines focusing on science. He wrote a column for Natural History and has produced a remarkable series of books that display the excitement of science for the layperson. Among his many awards and honors, Gould won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His titles include; Ever Since Darwin, The Panda's Thumb, Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory and Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin. Stephen Jay Gould died on May 20, 2002, following his second bout with cancer.

A Note to the Reader
Preface: Introducing the Protagonists
The Rite and Rights of a Separating Spring
Newton's Light
Scientific "World-Making" and Critical Braking
So Noble an Hecatombe: The Weight of Humanism
The Mandate of Magister Medice: The Threat of Suppression
From Paradoxical Ages of Bacon to Swift Sweetness and Light
The Dynasty of Dichotomy
Reintegration in Triumphant Maturity
Sweetness and Light as Tough and Healing Truth
A Saga of Pluribus and Unum: The Power and Meaning of True Consilience
The Fusions of Unum and the Benefits of Pluribus
The False Path of Reductionism and the Consilience of Equal Regard
Epilog: A Closing Tale of Addition to Adagia by Erasure of Erasmus
Index
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