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|Title:||Factoring Unity: E.O. Wilson's Consilience and the Science Fiction of Robert J. Sawyer and A.E. Van Vogt.|
|Keywords:||science fiction;Robert Sawyer;A. E. Van Vogt;E. O. Wilson|
|Abstract:||Robert Sawyer’s definition of science fiction as “the literature of intriguing juxtapositions” that draws upon multiple disciplines in the sciences and humanities and not just extrapolates from them but finds connections between them, has an analogy in E.O. Wilson’s notion of Consilience, the idea put forth in his 1998 book of the same title that we are moving towards a Unity of Knowledge in the sciences and the humanities. Well before Wilson set forth his idea, another preeminent Canadian science fiction writer, A.E. Van Vogt, had anticipated it with the fictional science of Nexialism in his fix-up novel, Voyage of the Space Beagle. Sawyer’s own work, although very different from that of Van Vogt, displays a similar running motif of Unity of Knowledge in both scientific and humanistic disciplines, with the work in seemingly divergent areas of science converging and interweaving, leading towards Humanistic conclusions where there is a recognition of the unity between the actors involved in those disciplines, and their responsibility towards each other and on global scales. The proposed paper will examine critically the role the consilience of inductions plays in two of Sawyer’s key works, Factoring Humanity and Mindscan, as well as in Van Vogt’s Voyage of the Space Beagle, and tries to answer why the Unity of Knowledge has been a specific preoccupation of Canada’s two foremost science fiction writers, in spite of their divergent approaches and socio-political perspectives.|
|Appears in Collections:||Science Fiction: The Interdisciplinary Genre|
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