Populations, individuals, and biological race

Biology and Philosophy 39 (2):1-24 (2024)
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Abstract

In this paper, I plan to show that the use of a specific population concept—Millstein’s Causal Interactionist Population Concept (CIPC)—has interesting and counter-intuitive ramifications for discussions of the reality of biological race in human beings. These peculiar ramifications apply to human beings writ large and to individuals. While this in and of itself may not be problematic, I plan to show that the ramifications that follow from applying Millstein’s CIPC to human beings complicates specific biological racial realist accounts—naïve or otherwise. I conclude with the notion that even if biological races do exist—by fulfilling all of the criteria needed for Millstein’s population concept (which, given particular worries raised by Gannett (Synthese 177:363–385, 2010), and Winther and Kaplan (Theoria 60:54–80, 2013) may not)—the lower-bound limit for the scope of biological racial realism is at the level of populations, and as such they cannot say anything about whether or not individual organisms themselves have races.

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M.A. Diamond-Hunter
Cambridge University

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