Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference: Race in Early Modern Philosophy by Justin E. H. Smith

Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (2):350-351 (2017)

Bernard Boxill
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Justin Smith's book, a sophisticated history of the scientific and philosophical debates on nature, human nature, and human difference in the last centuries, is an important contribution to the pressing task of understanding and remedying our seemingly intractable color prejudice, that "curious kink" of the "human mind," as W. E. B. DuBois put it in a passage Smith uses as an epigraph to his book. It reveals how kinds of people, notably races that appear to be natural kinds, "carved out within nature," in fact only come into being "in the course of human history as a result of the way human beings conceptualize the world around them". It also reveals how the gradual emergence of the race concept was facilitated...
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2017.0038
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