Ben Phillips
Arizona State University
I examine the origins of ordinary racial thinking. In doing so, I argue against the thesis that it is the byproduct of a unique module (e.g. a folk-biology module). Instead, I defend a pluralistic thesis according to which different forms of racial thinking are driven by distinct mechanisms, each with their own etiology. I begin with the belief that visible features are diagnostic of race. I argue that the mechanisms responsible for face recognition have an important, albeit delimited, role to play in sustaining this belief. I then argue that essentialist beliefs about race are driven by some of the mechanisms responsible for “entitativity perception”: the tendency to perceive some aggregates of people as more genuine groups than others. Finally, I argue that coalitional thinking about race is driven by a distinctive form of entitativity perception. However, I suggest that more data is needed to determine the prevalence of this form of racial thinking.
Keywords racial categorization  the other-race effect  entitativity  racial essentialism  psychological essentialism
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-021-00525-w
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Seeing‐As in the Light of Vision Science.Ned Block - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):560-572.
The Construction of Human Kinds.Ron Mallon - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.

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