Draft Statement of the Defining Views (for consideration and improvement)

A defining view of the Global Circle can be expressed roughly as follows:
  1. The aim of philosophy has, must have, or should have something substantial to do with human flourishing and sustainability as well as the flourishing and sustainability of things upon which human flourishing and sustainability depend – importantly, the environment and non-human life. If this, broadly and charitably understood, isn’t the overarching and comprehensive aim of philosophy, it is at the very least a crucial part of that aim.
  2. This aim is only satisfied to the degree that the world actually becomes a better place (to be and to live) in ways broadly consistent with the aim. The aim is not satisfied merely if philosophy flourishes (as an academic discipline) even as the conditions of humankind, non-human life, and the environment deteriorate or even stagnate in their present conditions.
  3. The aim is always “in process” and subject to improved understanding, different and better ways of expressing it, and continual improvement. That said, because of the nature of the aim, not to mention the nature of life itself, it is not the sort of aim that one must or should “perfect” before beginning to put it into serious practice. Indeed, it is likely that the aim can never be considered “final” and “precise”, especially as expressed in words, and it is also likely that there are myriad different ways of expressing the aim, in whole or in part. Thus, the aim is a bit like living life; one must do it, and apply it, to the best of one’s ability, even as one learns more about it and refines it. Understanding, expressing, improving upon, and applying the aim are parallel and interrelated processes.
  4. The broad group of philosophers and other humans who hold these views, or something very close to them, desire to be inclusive, not exclusive. We invite sharing of all sorts, participation of all sorts, and flavors of all sorts. Our intention includes both understanding and practice, aimed at making substantial progress according to these views.

Furthermore, many of us see these views as crucial in helping to guide and improve upon the aims, scope, and practice of academic philosophy, that is, the teaching and practice of philosophy in academia. We believe that the practice of academic philosophy, and universities themselves, should play a much more direct and active role in aiming to improve the human condition as suggested by these aims.

Others have also expressed their understanding of the aim and scope of the Global Circle.