Clines, Clusters, and Clades in the Race Debate

Philosophy of Science 81 (5):1053-1065 (2014)
Authors
Matthew Kopec
Australian National University
Abstract
Although there once was a general consensus among race scholars that applying race categories to humans is biologically illegitimate, this consensus has been erased over the past decade. This is largely due to advances in population genetics that allow biologists to pick out genetic population clusters that approximate some of our common sense racial categories. In this paper, I argue that this new ability really ought not undermine our confidence in the biological illegitimacy of the human races. Unfortunately, the claim that races are biologically legitimate is ambiguous—the sense I will be concerned with here holds that the human species can be divided into biological subspecies. Sesardic and Andreasen have both argued that the cluster results are evidence for subspecies within the human population. I show the cluster results are in fact evidentially inert relative to each author’s preferred subspecies concept. I then sketch the kinds of biological facts that could be used to adjudicate whether human subspecies have existed in the past.
Keywords Population Genetics  Race  Cladistics
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Reprint years 2014
DOI 10.1086/677695
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References found in this work BETA

Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept.Neven Sesardic - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):143-162.
Ontologies and Politics of Biogenomic 'Race'.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther & Jonathan Michael Kaplan - 2013 - Theoria. A Journal of Social and Political Theory (South Africa) 60 (3):54-80.
What 'Biological Racial Realism' Should Mean.Quayshawn Spencer - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 159 (2):181-204.

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Citations of this work BETA

Implications of the Apportionment of Human Genetic Diversity for the Apportionment of Human Phenotypic Diversity.Michael D. Edge & Noah A. Rosenberg - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:32-45.

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