Why Social Constructionists Should Embrace Minimalist Race

Southern Journal of Philosophy 60 (S1):37-53 (2022)
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My thesis is that social constructionists should embrace minimalist race. By this I mean they should accept the minimalist concept of race and the existence of minimalist races. They are likely to reject this suggestion because they are antirealists about biological race. But their antirealism about biological race is based on their identification of the biological concept of race with the racialist concept of race. The minimalist concept of race is free of the invidious features that make the racialist concept objectionable. It represents race as ancestry marked by patterns of visible physical differences. The reasons social constructionists have to reject the racialist concept of race do not extend to the minimalist concept of race. Social constructionists should accept that minimalist races exist, because it is overwhelmingly plausible that such races exist. Furthermore, they need minimalist races to account for the biological correlate of social race and to secure the biological materials the project of social construction requires.

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Michael Hardimon
University of California, San Diego

Citations of this work

Social Ontologies of Race and their Development.David Miguel Gray - 2022 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 60 (S1):4-20.

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References found in this work

Against the New Racial Naturalism.Adam Hochman - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy 110 (6):331–51.
Replacing Race: Interactive Constructionism about Racialized Groups.Adam Hochman - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4:61-92.
The Ordinary Concept of Race.Michael O. Hardimon - 2003 - Journal of Philosophy 100 (9):437-455.
Race, Culture, Identity: Misunderstood Connections.Kwame Anthony Appiah - 1998 - In Amy Gutmann & Kwame Anthony Appiah (eds.), The Tanner Lectures on Human Values. Princeton University Press. pp. 51--136.

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