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Toward consilience, not literary Darwinism

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All literary Darwinists take inspiration from E. O. Wilson’s concept of consilience--the idea that the disciplines are seamlessly interconnected, and that knowledge at higher levels of the explanatory hierarchy (e.g., biology and psychology) is constrained by knowledge at lower levels (e.g., chemistry and physics). For literary Darwinism’s founder, Joesph Carroll, committing to consilience means that literary investigation should always be tied back to the ultimate, evolutionary level of causation. In my own view, investigation in the humanities should be constrained, disciplined, and inspired by knowledge from the sciences, but I don’t think literary Darwinism is the only responsibly consilient approach to literary study.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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