Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept

Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):143-162 (2010)
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Abstract
It is nowadays a dominant opinion in a number of disciplines (anthropology, genetics, psychology, philosophy of science) that the taxonomy of human races does not make much biological sense. My aim is to challenge the arguments that are usually thought to invalidate the biological concept of race. I will try to show that the way “race” was defined by biologists several decades ago (by Dobzhansky and others) is in no way discredited by conceptual criticisms that are now fashionable and widely regarded as cogent. These criticisms often arbitrarily burden the biological category of race with some implausible connotations, which then opens the path for a quick eliminative move. However, when properly understood, the biological notion of race proves remarkably resistant to these deconstructive attempts. Moreover, by analyzing statements of some leading contemporary scholars who support social constructivism about race, I hope to demonstrate that their eliminativist views are actually in conflict with what the best contemporary science tells us about human genetic variation.
Keywords Race  Social constructivism  Genetics  Geographical ancestry  Human variation  Philosophy of science
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-009-9193-7
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References found in this work BETA

Does 'Race' Have a Future?Philip Kitcher - 2007 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 35 (4):293–317.
The Ordinary Concept of Race.Michael O. Hardimon - 2003 - Journal of Philosophy 100 (9):437-455.

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Citations of this work BETA

What Are We to Make of the Concept of Race? Thoughts of a Philosopher–Scientist.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):272-277.
Against the New Metaphysics of Race.David Ludwig - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (2):244-265.
Clines, Clusters, and Clades in the Race Debate.Matthew Kopec - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):1053-1065.
Unnaturalised Racial Naturalism.Adam Hochman - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 46 (1):79-87.
Deflating '''Race'''.Lionel K. Mcpherson - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (4):674--693.

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