Our Purpose

The world is filled with existential angst right now as the survival of much of what we know has become radically uncertain. Despite the clear need to come together to solve so many collective problems, people everywhere are scattered into squabbling factions, separated by worldviews formed in divisive filter bubbles. One way to address this may be the rise of evolutionary philosophy. Since all of life shares one evolutionary history together, it makes sense that we should all be able to learn from this in order to make wiser collective decisions.


Early philosophers after Darwin may have once poisoned the well for such endeavors with their abhorrent and tragic beliefs in ideas such as eugenics and Social Darwinism, but they were digging in the wrong place based on naïve and poorly understood versions of evolution.With the advent of the modern synthesis, the extended evolutionary synthesis, multilevel selection theory, and a host of other findings about the major transitions in the evolution of cooperation among living organisms, a much more mature evolutionary philosophy can now be developed.


This is already happening in isolated pockets around the world. Dan Dennett’s “universal acid” has reached every major branch of philosophy. These elements can inform a powerful and motivating worldview when brought together, but these exciting developments are seldom seen in their entirety by narrowly specialized philosophers or their students. For this reason, the Evolutionary PhilosophyCircle contends that there is now a huge opportunity to bring these perspectives together. Such a collaboration could provide great benefits to the field of philosophy, to the activities of Prosocial World, to the individuals and groups who adopt this perspective, and to the survival and flourishing of life in general.


Our History and Inspiration

The Evolutionary Philosophy Circle is one of several groups that are meeting in the ProSocial Commons, which is a bold experiment in cultural evolution organized by the non-profit group Prosocial World.


The Evolutionary Philosophy Circle was one of the first groups formed for the Prosocial Commons. The eminent evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson recruited the philosophers Andy Norman and Ed Gibney to act with him as co-leaders for this group, and it successfully launched in April 2022 as part of the first generation of activity on the Commons. We have met for one hour per week during each generation so far, and we have a small group of dedicated “stewards” who discuss and approve proposals for specific activities that the group can participate in. For more details on what we have done, see the section on getting up to speed.


Anyone can join the Evolutionary PhilosophyCircle. We have been inspired in our design by the Vienna Circle, which included academic and non-academic philosophers, as well as scientists and thinkers from a variety of other disciplines. They included teachers as well as students. They met regularly to discuss important papers and ideas. Some members wrote a manifesto for the group (which others vehemently disagreed with—a sign they weren’t using the ProSocial process!). They organized conferences. They started a peer-reviewed journal. And numerous influential books were produced in their intellectual environment. Now, with advances in technology, we aspire to do all this and more, drawing from a worldwide audience of interested participants. All those who are eager to learn about and apply “this view of life” are welcome.


Joining In and Getting Up to Speed

We organize an email list to inform people who are interested in our activities, but to fully participate in the Evolutionary Philosophy Circle, you must join the ProSocial Commons. Once on board, you can join our group on the online platform, Hylo. For any questions about this process, or to be added to our email list, send a message to Ed Gibney at edgibney@gmail.com.


All of the details for our activities are recorded in our online task list, which was created to allow members to keep track of their actions. The task list also provides a way for members to stay up to date no matter what their day-to-day availability is. And for new members, this offers a convenient one-stop-shop for reading through our history. At a very high-level summary, we spent generation one getting to know the ProSocial method and proving that “evolutionary philosophy” is already a thriving subject area (even though there isn’t a Wikipedia entry for it yet!). In generation two, we examined another attempt at a holistic school of thought (Integral Philosophy) with the hope of understanding that worldview better and using any disagreements to bring our own worldview into sharper focus. In futuregenerations, we plan to take deeper dives into specific branches of our worldview (starting with epistemology) as we look to shape, define, and shareour ideas.


For more details on our history, here are some specific options for you to consider reviewing: