, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 397–408

Is God an Adaptation?

Robert Wright’s, The Evolution of God, Little Brown, 2009.
Book Review

DOI: 10.1007/s11406-010-9294-1

Cite this article as:
Viciana, H. & Bourrat, P. Philosophia (2011) 39: 397. doi:10.1007/s11406-010-9294-1


In this critical notice to Robert Wright’s The Evolution of God, we focus on the question of whether Wright’s God is one which can be said to be an adaptation in a well defined sense. Thus we evaluate the likelihood of different models of adaptive evolution of cultural ideas in their different levels of selection. Our result is an emphasis on the plurality of mechanisms that may lead to adaptation. By way of conclusion we assess epistemologically some of Wright’s more controversial claims concerning the directionality of evolution and moral progress.


Cultural evolutionReligionMoral progressGroup selectionTeleology

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute d’Histoire et Philosophie des sciences et des techniquesUniversite de Paris-1/ENS/CNRSParisFrance
  2. 2.Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary AnthropologyUniversity of OxfordParisFrance