Race: A social destruction of a biological concept [Book Review]

Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):143-162 (2010)
It is nowadays a dominant opinion in a number of disciplines (anthropology, genetics, psychology, philosophy of science) that the taxonomy of human races does not make much biological sense. My aim is to challenge the arguments that are usually thought to invalidate the biological concept of race. I will try to show that the way “race” was defined by biologists several decades ago (by Dobzhansky and others) is in no way discredited by conceptual criticisms that are now fashionable and widely regarded as cogent. These criticisms often arbitrarily burden the biological category of race with some implausible connotations, which then opens the path for a quick eliminative move. However, when properly understood, the biological notion of race proves remarkably resistant to these deconstructive attempts. Moreover, by analyzing statements of some leading contemporary scholars who support social constructivism about race, I hope to demonstrate that their eliminativist views are actually in conflict with what the best contemporary science tells us about human genetic variation.
Keywords Race  Social constructivism  Genetics  Geographical ancestry  Human variation  Philosophy of science
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-009-9193-7
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,774
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Philip Kitcher (2007). Does 'Race' Have a Future? Philosophy and Public Affairs 35 (4):293–317.

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Massimo Pigliucci (2013). What Are We to Make of the Concept of Race? Thoughts of a Philosopher–Scientist. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):272-277.
Michael D. Edge & Noah A. Rosenberg (2015). Implications of the Apportionment of Human Genetic Diversity for the Apportionment of Human Phenotypic Diversity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:32-45.
David Ludwig (2015). Against the New Metaphysics of Race. Philosophy of Science 82 (2):244-265.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

400 ( #1,801 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

15 ( #47,182 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.