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Summary

Is race something we can fully explain in terms of the natural world around us?  Races thought of as biological kinds invoke some type of racial 'naturalism'. While the term ‘Naturalism’ is used in many different ways, we can think of Naturalism as the view that properties within a particular domain of investigation are physical properties.  For instance, there are lots of domains of inquiry where we may believe in non-physical properties.  You might believe in numbers, which are a kind of abstract object as they aren’t located in time or space.  Or you might think that moral properties like the wrongness of pushing someone in front of a car, is a non-physical property:  that is, if we look at all the physical stuff involved in pushing someone in front of a car: e.g. the car, the person, the act of pushing, you might think that the wrongness is not among those physical parts.  If one were to be a naturalist about moral properties, they might claim that the moral properties are among the physical parts.  But leaving that difficult debate on moral naturalism aside, we can say that to be a naturalist about race is to say that racial properties just are physical properties.

If you are wondering what, aside from physical properties, racial properties could be, one possible alternative is that racial properties are social properties.  Social properties are those that are dependent on human acts and decisions while physical properties are thought to be independent of human acts and decisions.  Take an example of an object like the Great Sphinx of Giza.  The property of being made of limestone is a natural property of the statue.  Limestone isn’t something that is the result of human actions or decision making.  However, the fact that this object is a statue isn’t a natural property.  Someone decided to shape the limestone into a couchant sphinx.

 So what’s the upshot of thinking of races as being composed of natural properties?  Well, that means that races exist independently of any human actions or decision making processes.  Races are something in the world that natural scientists can investigate and discover.  The opposing view would be that races are created by people, and this treats races as social constructions.

 So now we have an idea both of what it means to think of races in terms of natural properties as well as what that view can be contrasted with.  This leads us to the question which natural properties?

For the naturalist there are lots of different accounts of what a race could be.  Before the 20th century when race seemed to be studied primarily by natural historians the following features were associated with racial naturalism

1.  Races have either natural essences or some set of observable natural properties that are shared by all or most members of that race.

2. These natural properties are inheritable

3. These natural properties place races into a hierarchical systems where they can be differentiated in terms of physical, behavioral, intellectual, and moral characteristics.

 I’m not going to spend any time on these older views as they aren’t currently held for any scientific reasons in the scientific communities. While these views were central to earlier scientific theories of race, nowadays, they only pop up infrequently among those who have a limited and/or motivated understanding of biological properties.

 This leads us to what some philosophers like, Josh Glasgow, have called “The New biology of race”.  Unlike the old biology of race the new biology holds that races have natural properties that are common to most members of that race. These natural properties give us no reason to think that any intellectual, moral, or behavioral characteristics can be attributed to races in virtue of shared natural properties.

 While there are many possible accounts of which natural properties could be used to define race, one approach, that has gained a following, is to think of races as partially defined by, or caused by, reproductively isolated breeding populations.  

 A population is a group of the same species that live in the same place.  What makes a population a breeding population is that members of this group can and do sexually reproduce.  However, there are a few things that could make a breeding population reproductively isolated.  One way is that the breeding population is geographically cut off from other breeding populations of their own species.  (For instance, you could imagine a group of people cut off from others because they live on an island, or are separated by mountains or desserts).  In this case geographic properties of our world would shape our natural properties.  Another way a breeding population could be reproductively isolated is that even though a population is located together and could interbreed, portions of that population don’t interbreed with other portions.  For instance, if there were cultural taboos about subgroups of wealthy or short individuals breeding with subgroups of poor or tall individuals, those subgroups could be reproductively isolated even if they live in the same location.  In this case, social elements of our world would shape our natural properties.

 So that’s what reproductively isolated breeding populations are.  But how might they be used to define race?

 One way is that we can often define race in terms of ancestral relations.  For instance, if someone is of a particular race, let’s call it race X, we can explain conditions for that individual being of that race:  if one’s parents are both of race X, then one is also of race X.

 You might see a couple problems here.  First, what happens when one parent is of race X but another parent is of race Y?  In this case we might have to say that the offspring are either a new race (Z?) or don’t have a race as they are the product of non-isolated breeding populations.

 Second, even if one’s parents are both members of race X what makes them members of that race?  The answer is that their parents were also of race X.  But now we are off on an infinite regress:  the explanation of what makes someone a member of a race is not answered but just pushed back a generation each time that question gets asked.  We need an explanation that stops the infinite regress.

 One of two answers is normally given here.  One option is to say that one’s ancestor is a member of race X in virtue of sharing similar phenotypic, or observable, properties specific to other members of one’ s reproductively isolated breeding population.  A second option is to say that one’s ancestor is a member of race X in virtue of sharing similar genotypic, or genetic, properties specific to other members of one’s reproductively isolated breeding population.  Given that much of our genetic makeup plays no direct role in our observable traits, the genotypic similarities would not necessarily mean that races have phenotypic similarities.

 So the accounts I just sketched which make use of ancestral relations among reproductively isolated breeding populations and either genotypic or phenotypic properties is one way to develop a naturalistic account of race.

 I should note that in an attempt to be quite inclusive of a variety of naturalist theories, I have not specified the different ways this account can be developed in order to respond to various concerns. (For detailed examples of this sort of approach see key works below).

 -David Miguel Gray

Key works

Here are three naturalist accounts of race.

Philip Kitcher. “Race, Ethnicity, Biology, Culture” in Racism, L. Harris (ed.), New York: Humanity Books. 87-117.

Robin Andreasen 2005. “The Meaning of ‘Race’: Folk Conception and the New Biology of Race*” The Journal of Philosophy, 94-106.

Quayshawn Spencer 2014. “A Radical Solution to the Race Problem” Philosophy of Science, 1025-1038.

 And for an attack on naturalist accounts see:

Joshua Glasgow, 2005. “On the New Biology of Race, The Journal of Philosophy, 456-74.

Introductions

Ned Block’s “How Heritability misleads about Race” 

https://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/Heritability.html

Alan Templeton “Biological Races in Humans”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737365/

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73 found
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1 — 50 / 73
  1. added 2018-12-10
    Racialization: A Defense of the Concept.Adam Hochman - forthcoming - Ethnic and Racial Studies.
    This paper defends the concept of racialization against its critics. As the concept has become increasingly popular, questions about its meaning and value have been raised, and a backlash against its use has occurred. I argue that when “racialization” is properly understood, criticisms of the concept are unsuccessful. I defend a definition of racialization and identify its companion concept, “racialized group.” Racialization is often used as a synonym for “racial formation.” I argue that this is a mistake. Racial formation theory (...)
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  2. added 2018-10-19
    Rethinking Race: The Case for Deflationary Realism, by Michael O. Hardimon.Joshua Glasgow - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):911-919.
    © Mind Association 2018This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model...It starts when someone, often a highly visible someone, challenges a widely used and commonly accepted idea. In stage two, defenders of conventional wisdom recruit complicated and unexpected theories to save common sense. Statistics may be involved. Jargon is likely. In the third stage, the common-sense-preserving theories are themselves critiqued. At this point, some may rekindle the proposal to eliminate the (...)
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  3. added 2018-10-19
    On the Methodology of the Race Debate: Conceptual Analysis and Racial Discourse.Joshua Glasgow - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):333–358.
    Analyzing racial concepts has become an important task in the philosophy of race. Aside from any inherent interest that might be found in the meanings of racial terms, these meanings also can spell the doom or deliverance of competing ontological and normative theories about race. One of the most pressing questions about race at present is the normative question of whether race should be eliminated from, or conserved in, public discourse and practice. This normative question is often answered in part (...)
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  4. added 2018-10-07
    Human Diversity and Racial Differentiation.Johan Dankmeijer - 1972 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 15 (4):630-639.
  5. added 2017-10-20
    Replacing Race: Interactive Constructionism About Racialized Groups.Adam Hochman - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4:61-92.
    In this paper I defend anti-realism about race and a new theory of racialization. I argue that there are no races, only racialized groups. Many social constructionists about race have adopted racial formation theory to explain how ‘races’ are formed. However, anti-realists about race cannot adopt racial formation theory, because it assumes the reality of race. I introduce interactive constructionism about racialized groups as a theory of racialization for anti-realists about race. Interactive constructionism moves the discussion away from the dichotomous (...)
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  6. added 2017-08-30
    Darwin’s Explanation of Races by Means of Sexual Selection.Roberta L. Millstein - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (3):627-633.
    In Darwin’s Sacred Cause, Adrian Desmond and James Moore contend that “Darwin would put his utmost into sexual selection because the subject intrigued him, no doubt, but also for a deeper reason: the theory vindicated his lifelong commitment to human brotherhood”. Without questioning Desmond and Moore’s evidence, I will raise some puzzles for their view. I will show that attention to the structure of Darwin’s arguments in the Descent of Man shows that they are far from straightforward. As Desmond and (...)
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  7. added 2017-08-29
    The Practical Implications of the New Metaphysics of Race for a Postracial Medicine: Biomedical Research Methodology, Institutional Requirements, Patient–Physician Relations.Joanna K. Malinowska & Tomasz Żuradzki - 2017 - American Journal of Bioethics 17 (9):61-63.
    Perez-Rodriguez and de la Fuente (2017) assume that although human races do not exist in a biological sense (“geneticists and evolutionary biologists generally agree that the division of humans into races/subspecies has no defensible scientific basis,” they exist only as “sociocultural constructions” and because of that maintain an illusory reality, for example, through “racialized” practices in medicine. Agreeing with the main postulates formulated in the article, we believe that the authors treat this problem in a superficial manner and have failed (...)
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  8. added 2017-08-07
    Are Clusters Races? A Discussion of the Rhetorical Appropriation of Rosenberg Et Al.'s “Genetic Structure of Human Populations”.Melissa Wills - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (12).
    Noah Rosenberg et al.'s 2002 article “Genetic Structure of Human Populations” reported that multivariate genomic analysis of a large cell line panel yielded reproducible groupings (clusters) suggestive of individuals' geographical origins. The paper has been repeatedly cited as evidence that traditional notions of race have a biological basis, a claim its authors do not make. Critics of this misinterpretation have often suggested that it follows from interpreters' personal biases skewing the reception of an objective piece of scientific writing. I contend, (...)
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  9. added 2017-05-22
    The Explication Defence of Arguments From Reference.Mark Pinder - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (6):1253-1276.
    In a number of influential papers, Machery, Mallon, Nichols and Stich have presented a powerful critique of so-called arguments from reference, arguments that assume that a particular theory of reference is correct in order to establish a substantive conclusion. The critique is that, due to cross-cultural variation in semantic intuitions supposedly undermining the standard methodology for theorising about reference, the assumption that a theory of reference is correct is unjustified. I argue that the many extant responses to Machery et al.’s (...)
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  10. added 2017-01-25
    Species, Subspecies, and Races.David L. Hull - 1998 - Social Research 65 (2):351-367.
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  11. added 2017-01-17
    Are Human Races Cladistic Subspecies?Zinhle Mncube - 2015 - South African Journal of Philosophy 34 (2):163-174.
    In the article titled ‘A new perspective on the race debate’,Robin O. Andreasen argues that contrary to popular scientific belief, human races are biologically real—it is just that we are wrong about them. Andreasen calls her contemporary biological concept of race ‘the cladistic race concept’ (or CRC). Her theory uses theory from cladistics—a systematic school founded by entomologist Willi Hennig in 1950—to define human races genealogically as cladistic subspecies. In this paper I will argue that despite its promise as a (...)
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  12. added 2017-01-02
    Unnaturalised Racial Naturalism.Adam Hochman - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 46 (1):79-87.
    Quayshawn Spencer (2014) misunderstands my treatment of racial naturalism. I argued that racial naturalism must entail a strong claim, such as “races are subspecies”, if it is to be a substantive position that contrasts with anti-realism about biological race. My recognition that not all race naturalists make such a strong claim is evident throughout the article Spencer reviews (Hochman, 2013a). Spencer seems to agree with me that there are no human subspecies, and he endorses a weaker form of racial naturalism. (...)
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  13. added 2016-12-28
    In Defense of the Metaphysics of Race.Adam Hochman - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2709–2729.
    In this paper I defend the metaphysics of race as a valuable philosophical project against deflationism about race. The deflationists argue that metaphysical debate about the reality of race amounts to a non-substantive verbal dispute that diverts attention from ethical and practical issues to do with ‘race.’ In response, I show that the deflationists mischaracterize the field and fail to capture what most metaphysicians of race actually do in their work, which is almost always pluralist and very often normative and (...)
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  14. added 2016-12-08
    On the New Biology of Race.Joshua Glasgow - 2003 - Journal of Philosophy 100 (9):456-474.
  15. added 2016-09-14
    Metaphors of Race: Theoretical Presuppositions Behind Racism.Stephen T. Asma - 1995 - American Philosophical Quarterly 32 (1):13 - 29.
    Philosophers and scientists have historically conceptualized race according to two main metaphors; internal differentiation (theological, philosophical and genetic), and external differentiation (environmental). This paper examines these metaphors and theories in Descartes, Kant, Hegel, and also Darwin and the subsequent racial theories of recent history. The paper argues that the externalist metaphor has a more liberal and potentially egalitarian tradition.
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  16. added 2016-07-10
    Race Research and the Ethics of Belief.Jonny Anomaly - 2017 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 14 (2):287-297.
  17. added 2016-06-13
    Hysteria, Race, and Phlogiston. A Model of Ontological Elimination in the Human Sciences.David Ludwig - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45 (1):68-77.
    Elimination controversies are ubiquitous in philosophy and the human sciences. For example, it has been suggested that human races, hysteria, intelligence, mental disorder, propositional attitudes such as beliefs and desires, the self, and the super-ego should be eliminated from the list of respectable entities in the human sciences. I argue that eliminativist proposals are often presented in the framework of an oversimplified “phlogiston model” and suggest an alternative account that describes ontological elimination on a gradual scale between criticism of empirical (...)
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  18. added 2016-04-25
    If Not Races, Then What? Toward a Revised Understanding of Bio-Social Groupings.Lucius T. Outlaw - 2014 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 35 (1-2):275-296.
  19. added 2016-04-25
    Biological Races in Humans.Alan R. Templeton - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):262-271.
    Races may exist in humans in a cultural sense, but biological concepts of race are needed to access their reality in a non-species-specific manner and to see if cultural categories correspond to biological categories within humans. Modern biological concepts of race can be implemented objectively with molecular genetic data through hypothesis-testing. Genetic data sets are used to see if biological races exist in humans and in our closest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee. Using the two most commonly used biological concepts of (...)
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  20. added 2016-04-25
    Confusions About Race: A New Installment.Neven Sesardic - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):287-293.
    In his criticism of my paper on the concept of race (Sesardic, 2010), Adam Hochman raises many issues that deserve further clarification. First, I will comment on Hochman’s claim that I attack a straw man version of racial constructionism. Second, I will try to correct what I see as a distorted historical picture of the debate between racial naturalists and racial constructionists. Third, I will point out the main weaknesses in Hochman’s own defense of constructionism about race. And fourth, I (...)
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  21. added 2016-04-25
    Was Race Thinking Invented in the Modern West?Ron Mallon - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):77-88.
    The idea that genuinely racial thinking is a modern invention is widespread in the humanities and social sciences. However, it is not always clear exactly what the content of such a conceptual break is supposed to be. One suggestion is that with the scientific revolution emerged a conception of human groups that possessed essences that were thought to explain group-typical features of individuals as well the accumulated products of cultures or civilizations. However, recent work by cognitive and evolutionary psychologists suggests (...)
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  22. added 2016-04-25
    “Sanguinary Amusement”: E. A. Freeman, the Comparative Method and Victorian Theories of Race.Vicky L. Morrisroe - 2013 - Modern Intellectual History 10 (1):27-56.
    This article seeks to revise the conventional portrait of the historian E. A. Freeman (1823–92) as an arch-racist and confident proponent of Aryan superiority. Focusing on the relatively obscure Comparative Politics (1873), it is argued that, while attitudes towards race were hardening in the later nineteenth century, Freeman combined the insights of the practitioners of the Comparative Method and the Liberal Anglican philosophy of Thomas Arnold to define the Aryan race as a community of culture rather than of blood. Explicitly (...)
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  23. added 2016-04-25
    Joshua Glasgow, A Theory of Race (New York: Routledge, 2009).Tom Martin - 2012 - Philosophical Papers 41 (1):175-179.
  24. added 2016-04-25
    Review of Glasgow, Joshua, A Theory of Race[REVIEW]Eddy M. Souffrant - 2009 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (6).
  25. added 2016-04-25
    De l'Évolution, des Races Et des Hommes.Jean-Claude Mounolou & Dominique Planchenault - 2009 - Natures Sciences Sociétés 17 (2):111-112.
  26. added 2016-04-25
    Biological Conceptions of Race.Robin O. Andreasen - 2007 - In Mohan Matthen & Christopher Stephens (eds.), Philosophy of Biology. Elsevier. pp. 455--481.
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  27. added 2016-04-25
    Charles Darwin et la question du racisme scientifique.Gérard Molina - 2005 - Actuel Marx 2 (2):29-44.
    The article re-addresses the question of the relation between Darwinism and the biological sciences, taking as its starting-point the precise chronology of the successive inquiries carried out by Darwin into the question of races, in connection with the various aspects of his theory of natural selection. It argues that the writings of Darwin do not share any uniform aim, nor do they come under a single epistemological category. Darwin adopts a number of divergent approaches, as he addresses a series of (...)
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  28. added 2016-04-25
    Biological Views Of The Inexistence Of Human Races.Silviene Oliveira & Luzitano Ferreira - 2004 - Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 14 (2):60-63.
    In biology, race can be defined as a geographically bounded population showing accentuated genetic differentiation. It is believed that the division of human species into "races" presents solid biological base. However, there are problems over using this term. The present work aims to point out some of the difficulties of using the concept of races for the human species, using a biological approach. The race concept is typological, imprecise, based on subjective concepts, and can suffer different interpretations according to the (...)
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  29. added 2016-04-25
    What Genetics Tells Us About Races.Guido Barbujani - 2001 - In N. J. Smelser & B. Baltes (eds.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. pp. 19--12694.
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  30. added 2016-04-25
    Making Up Your Mind: The Social Construction of Human Kinds and its Implications.Ronald Jerry Mallon - 2000 - Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
    What does it mean to say a thing is socially constructed? What is implied by something's being a social construction? I explore these questions in what follows, focusing on constructionist claims concerning human kinds. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the dissertation and discusses a number of background questions relevant to the realist, naturalistic approach to social constructionism I take. ;In Chapter 2, I develop the notion of a social role and review a body of empirical literature suggesting that social (...)
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  31. added 2016-04-25
    Race.C. D. Darlington - 1974 - Journal of Biosocial Science 6 (3):397.
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  32. added 2016-04-25
    The Future of Our Race Heredity and Social Progress.L. Darwin - 1968 - The Eugenics Review 60 (2):99-108.
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  33. added 2016-04-25
    The Living Races of Man.C. J. Jolly - 1967 - The Eugenics Review 59 (4):272.
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  34. added 2016-04-25
    The Origin of Races.C. J. Jolly - 1964 - The Eugenics Review 55 (4):235.
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  35. added 2016-04-25
    Human Races.G. Ainsworth Harrison - 1961 - The Eugenics Review 53 (2):102.
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  36. added 2016-04-25
    Races.C. O. Carter - 1951 - The Eugenics Review 43 (2):99.
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  37. added 2016-04-25
    Boas, Franz, Race, Language and Culture.Wittfogel Wittfogel - 1939 - Studies in Philosophy and Social Science 8:481.
  38. added 2016-04-25
    The Conquest of a Continent or the Expansion of Races in America.Humphry Rolleston - 1934 - The Eugenics Review 26 (2):148.
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  39. added 2016-04-25
    The Primitive Races of Mankind. [REVIEW]A. R. Radcliffe-Brown - 1927 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):72.
  40. added 2016-04-25
    Evolution of the Pre-Historic Races.H. F. Humphreys - 1926 - The Eugenics Review 18 (1):15.
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  41. added 2016-04-25
    The Disabled Sailor and Soldier and the Future of Our Race.L. Major Darwin - 1917 - The Eugenics Review 9 (7).
  42. added 2016-04-10
    Race: Deflate or Pop?Adam Hochman - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57.
    Neven Sesardic has recently defended his arguments in favour of racial naturalism—the view that race is a valid biological category—in response to my criticism of his work. While Sesardic claims that a strong version of racial naturalism can survive critique, he has in fact weakened his position considerably. He concedes that conventional racial taxonomy is arbitrary and he no longer identifies ‘races’ as human subspecies. Sesardic now relies almost entirely on Theodosius Dobzhansky’s notion of race-as-population. This weak approach to ‘race’—according (...)
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  43. added 2016-01-22
    Of Vikings and Nazis: Norwegian Contributions to the Rise and the Fall of the Idea of a Superior Aryan Race.Adam Hochman - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 54:84-88.
    Nazi ideology was premised on a belief in the superiority of the Germanic race. However, the idea of a superior Germanic race was not invented by the Nazis. By the beginning of the 20th century this idea had already gained not only popular but also mainstream scientific support in England, Germany, the U.S., Scandinavia, and other parts of the world in which people claimed Germanic origins (p. xiii). Yet how could this idea, which is now recognised as ideology of the (...)
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  44. added 2016-01-12
    On the Concept of Biological Race and its Applicability to Humans.Massimo Pigliucci & Jonathan Kaplan - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1161-1172.
    Biological research on race has often been seen as motivated by or lending credence to underlying racist attitudes; in part for this reason, recently philosophers and biologists have gone through great pains to essentially deny the existence of biological human races. We argue that human races, in the biological sense of local populations adapted to particular environments, do in fact exist; such races are best understood through the common ecological concept of ecotypes. However, human ecotypic races do not in general (...)
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  45. added 2015-09-23
    Race Mixture.K. B. Aikman - 1933 - The Eugenics Review 25 (3):161.
  46. added 2015-09-11
    Race as a Physiosocial Phenomenon.Catherine Kendig - 2011 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 33 (2):191-222.
    This paper offers both a criticism of and a novel alternative perspective on current ontologies that take race to be something that is either static and wholly evident at one’s birth or preformed prior to it. In it I survey and critically assess six of the most popular conceptions of race, concluding with an outline of my own suggestion for an alternative account. I suggest that race can be best understood in terms of one’s experience of his or her body, (...)
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  47. added 2015-03-06
    Introduction: Genomics and Philosophy of Race.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, Roberta L. Millstein & Rasmus Nielsen - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:1-4.
    This year’s topic is “Genomics and Philosophy of Race.” Different researchers might work on distinct subsets of the six thematic clusters below, which are neither mutually exclusive nor collectively exhaustive: (1) Concepts of ‘Race’; (2) Mathematical Modeling of Human History and Population Structure; (3) Data and Technologies of Human Genomics; (4) Biological Reality of Race; (5) Racialized Selves in a Global Context; (6) Pragmatic Consequences of ‘Race Talk’ among Biologists.
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  48. added 2015-02-15
    Thinking About Populations and Races in Time.Roberta L. Millstein - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:5-11.
    Biologists and philosophers have offered differing concepts of biological race. That is, they have offered different candidates for what a biological correlate of race might be; for example, races might be subspecies, clades, lineages, ecotypes, or genetic clusters. One thing that is striking about each of these proposals is that they all depend on a concept of population. Indeed, some authors have explicitly characterized races in terms of populations. However, including the concept of population into concepts of race raises three (...)
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  49. added 2014-09-09
    Against the New Metaphysics of Race.David Ludwig - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (2):244-265.
    The aim of this article is to develop an argument against metaphysical debates about the existence of human races. I argue that the ontology of race is underdetermined by both empirical and non-empirical evidence due to a plurality of equally permissible candidate meanings of "race." Furthermore, I argue that this underdetermination leads to a deflationist diagnosis according to #hich disputes about the existence of human races are non-substantive verbal disputes. $hile this diagnosis resembles general deflationist strategies in contemporary metaphysics" I (...)
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  50. added 2014-08-25
    A Radical Solution to the Race Problem.Quayshawn Spencer - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):1025-1038.
    It has become customary among philosophers and biologists to claim that folk racial classification has no biological basis. This paper attempts to debunk that view. In this paper, I show that ‘race’, as used in current U.S. race talk, picks out a biologically real entity. I do this by, first, showing that ‘race’, in this use, is not a kind term, but a proper name for a set of human population groups. Next, using recent human genetic clustering results, I show (...)
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