I think Wilson does a great job of defining meaning at the beginning of the book to provide a proper context for the rest of the writing in the book. Agree or not with one's arguments, it's simply proper argument form to provide definitions and present an argument clearly.
On page 7 (of my copy of the book), for instance, Wilson writes the following:
Edward O. Wilson wrote:In ordinary usage the word "meaning" implies intention, intention implies design, and design implies a designer.
Edward O. Wilson wrote:There is a second, broader way the word "meaning" is used and a very different worldview implied. It is that the accidents of history, not the intentions of a designer, are the source of meaning. There is no advance design, but instead overlapping networks of physical cause and effect.
I agree with Wilson's description of the usage of meaning. In fact, it resonated so basically with me that I recall upon reading it I was much less interested in reading the book. (I'd rather read arguments by someone with whom I disagree than read someone who writes what I already think.) However, especially after reading the rest of the book, I think it is was very helpful to the completeness of the points in the book that Wilson provided this basic, almost undeniable distinction between what the word meaning can mean, so that we the readers know how what he writes later connects to his conclusions about what the meaning of human existence is.
What do you think? How do you think Wilson's explanation of the different usages of the word 'meaning' compliment the rest of the book?