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Consilience is the idea that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can come together to support strong conclusions.


Consilience is the idea that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can come together to support strong conclusions. The word dates back to 1840 and is an assimilation of the Latin prefix "com" (with, together) and "salire" (to leap), literally translating to "jumping together." The term returned to relevance in the late 20th century, when in 1998 the biologist Edward O. Wilson published "Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge," a book that proposed methods of uniting the fields of humanities and sciences and searching for a unified theory of knowledge.


Modern day research in consilience reflects E. O. Wilson's theories from his 1998 text, particularly regarding the practice of sustainable development. Columbia University's Consilience: the Journal of Sustainable Development is a prominent example. The journal is run by a team of undergraduate and graduate students under the leadership of Columbia University faculty and aims to facilitate dialogue on sustainable development by publishing scholarly articles and pieces from students, professors, researchers and practitioners from a wide variety of disciplines and continents. The journal has been published regularly since 2008.

A practitioner of consilience is Consilient Research, a privately-held company that provides aid and leads research in underdeveloped countries. Consilient Research conducts and implements research in a variety of fields, including Stabilization and Peace Building, Livelihoods and Economic Growth, Governance Democratization and Access to Justice, Third Party Monitoring, Resilience, Education, Media and Information Ecosystems, Conflict and Security, Labor and Markets, Food Security and Agriculture, Cash Transfers and Financial Inclusivity, Health, Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, Gender, Accountability to Affected Populations, and Political Economy and Situational Analysis.


Further Resources



John Horgan
June 25, 2021
Scientific American
Scientific American is the essential guide to the most awe-inspiring advances in science and technology, explaining how they change our understanding of the world and shape our lives.


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