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  • The fact of ‘jumping together’ or agreeing; coincidence, concurrence; said of the accordance of two or more inductions drawn from different groups of phenomena. (OED 1989)

    Accordingly the cases in which inductions from classes of facts altogether different have thus jumped together, belong only to the best established theories which the history of science contains. And, as I shall have occasion to refer to this particular feature in their evidence, I will take the liberty of describing it by a particular phrase; and will term it the Consilience of Inductions.

    Whewell, W. (1840). Philosopy of the Inductive Sciences, vol. II: 230.


    Consilience is the key to unification. […] Trust in consilience is the foundation of the natural sciences. For the material world at least, the momentum is overwhelmingly toward conceptual unity. […] The central idea of the consilience world view is that all tangible phenomena, from the birth of stars to the workings of social institutions, are based on material processes that are ultimately reducible, however long and tortuous the sequences, to the laws of physics. In support of this idea is the conclusion of biologists that humanity is kin to all other life forms by common descent.

    Wilson, E.O. (1998). Consilience. The Unity of Knowledge: 8; 11; 291.