Philosophy of Race: An Introduction provides plainly written access to a new subfield that has been in the background of philosophy since Plato and Aristotle. Part I provides an overview of ideas of race and ethnicity in the philosophical canon, egalitarian traditions, race in biology, and race in American and Continental Philosophy. Part II addresses race as it operates in life through colonialism and development, social constructions and institutions, racism, political philosophy, (...) and gender. This book constructs an outline that will serve as a resource for students, nonspecialists, and general readers in thinking, talking, and writing about philosophy of race. (shrink)
"Race" is so highly charged and loaded a concept it often hampers critical thinking about racial practice and policy. A philosophical approach allows us to isolate and analyse the key questions: What is race? Can we do without race? What is racism and why is it wrong? What should our policies on race and racism be? The Philosophy of Race presents a concise and up-to-date overview of the central philosophical debates about race. It (...) then builds on this philosophical foundation to analyse the sociopolitical questions of racism and race-relevant policy. Throughout, the discussion is illustrated with a wide range of examples: Afro-American 'blackness'; British-Asian racial formation; Aboriginal identity in Australia; the racial grouping of Romany-Gypsies and Jews in Europe; categories of race in Brazil; and the concept of model minorities in the US and UK. (shrink)
The study of race and racism is an area of growth in philosophy. The quantity of research published under the banner of ‘the philosophy of race’ is increasing; research monographs and edited collections are appearing in greater numbers, and there is even a noticeable though still lamentably small increase in the number of professional posi- tions being advertised in the philosophy of race. However, one notable feature of this research is how much it focuses (...) upon the racial context of the USA. Most of its active and prominent researchers are based in the USA, nearly all new posts with designated research specialisms in race are at universities in the USA, and most of its key research questions are framed in the racial idiom and social context of the contemporary USA. In many respects, this is a good thing: if the philosophy of race cannot find fertile ground in the USA, there is little hope of it flourishing anywhere. However, this emphasis on the US context may have a negative side too. (shrink)
In this chapter I attempt to provide a general overview of the philosophical literature on immigration from both an ethics of immigration and philosophy of race perspective. I then try to make the case that putting these two literatures into conversation would be fruitful. In particular, that it could provide an underappreciated argument for limiting the discretion states are normally thought to enjoy with respect to immigration.
This article is a response to Robert Bernasconi’s critical philosophy of race. I start by speaking of the specific style in which life and philosophy are related in his work. I argue that he devises a political phenomenology which considers the lived experiences of racialization and inquires into their historical conditions, which have become “practico-inert” in facticity. Bernasconi’s thesis that the history of race is not determined by racial essentialism and his account of race as (...) a border concept call for an expansion of the notion of race that will better serve the cause of the global fight against racism. (shrink)
Introduction: philosophies of race and ethnicity / Peter Osborne, Stella Sandford -- pt. 1. Ch. 1. Philosophy and racial identity / Linda Martin Alcoff -- ch. 2. Fanon, phenomenology, race / David Macey -- Ch. 3. Primordial being: enlightenment and the Indian subject of postcolonial theory / Chetan Bhatt -- Ch. 4. Race and language in the two Saussures / Robert J.C. Young -- pt. 2. Ch. 5. Unspeakable histories: diasporic lives in old England / Bill (...) Schwarz -- Ch. 6. Race, colonialism and history: China at the turn of the twentieth century / Rebecca E. Karl -- Ch. 7. Ethnicity and species: on the philosophy of the multi-ethnic state in Japanese imperialism / Naoki Sakai -- Ch. 8. On Chineseness as a theoretical problem / Rey Chow -- Ch. 9. Race and slavery: the politics of recovery and reparation / Fran¸ coise Vergés -- Ch. 10. Rewriting the black subject: the black Brazilian emancipatory text / Denise Ferreira da Silva. (shrink)
Shannon Sullivan has criticized Richard Rorty for the discrepancy in his treatments of Cornel West and Marilyn Frye's prophetic philosophies, which Sullivan reads to indicate a racial bias on Rorty's part. This article defends Rorty from this criticism, first clarifying his view of the discontinuous relation of philosophy to politics, then, on the basis of this clarification, arguing that Rorty's different treatments of West and Frye do not reveal a racial bias as Sullivan claims. Finally, revisiting Rorty's exchange with (...) Nancy Fraser, it is argued that although Rorty has no philosophy of race, he does offer a strong antiracist politics. (shrink)
Although 1994 is popularly represented as a year of major transition from an oppressive society to a democratic one in South African history, it did not mark the end of White Supremacy but instead its evolution from one constitutional form into another. This is because the so-called “right of conquest” remains affirmed in South Africa by the much celebrated constitution Act 108 of 1996. Since the early 90s, Ubuntu has been employed by the elite parties involved in the “negotiations” for (...) the transition to the “new” South Africa, to justify the new society. This perverse employment of Ubuntu has been largely supported with the aid of sophistic academic posturing by the largely white academic establishment in South Africa and its network of international allies. Using African philosophical hermeneutics as a method, we will ground another interpretation of Ubuntu which stems from two interrelated roots. The first root is a firm understanding of and engagement with the Bantu languages and cultures which are its primordial philosophical basis on the one hand. The second is the study of the history of Ubuntu as lived and living philosophy responding to the challenge of the conquest of the indigenous people in the unjust wars of colonisation. Towards this end we will draw from the experience of Ubuntu -inspired movements in the history of the wars of resistance and the struggle for liberation ongoing since 1652. (shrink)
This year’s topic is “Genomics and Philosophy of Race.” Different researchers might work on distinct subsets of the six thematic clusters below, which are neither mutually exclusive nor collectively exhaustive: (1) Concepts of ‘Race’; (2) Mathematical Modeling of Human History and Population Structure; (3) Data and Technologies of Human Genomics; (4) Biological Reality of Race; (5) Racialized Selves in a Global Context; (6) Pragmatic Consequences of ‘Race Talk’ among Biologists.
The precise conceptions of race deployed by Mexican philosophers in the first half of the twentieth century have often been poorly understood. Consequently, the specifically racial components in their work have been frequently dismissed on the grounds that they were unscientific, irresponsible, and/or sloppy. I hope to show that with a sufficiently rich understanding of at least the seminal works many of these criticisms can be blunted.
Toward a Political Philosophy of Race, by Falguni Sheth, SUNY Press, 2009. Events involving the persecution of African‑Americans and other racial groups are normally thought to involve a pre-existing minority being singled out out for persecution. In Toward a Political Philosophy of Race, Falguni Sheth argues that this understanding gets the causal story backwards. In reality, a group that is perceived to pose a political threat has a racial identity imposed upon it by the state during (...) episodes of oppression. On Sheth's account, racial identity is the product of anxiety and panic on the part of the wider society. As she puts it, 'I distinguish between racial markers - skin type, phenotype, physical differences, and signifiers such as 'unruly' behaviors.' The former, in my argument, are not the ground of race, but the marks ascribed to a group that has already become (or is in on the way to becoming) outcasted." This review critically assesses Sheth's argument for her position and her accompanying critique of liberalism. (shrink)
For many decades, race and racism have been common areas of study in departments of sociology, history, political science, English, and anthropology. Much more recently, as the historical concept of race and racial categories have faced significant scientific and political challenges, philosophers have become more interested in these areas. This changing understanding of the ontology of race has invited inquiry from researchers in moral philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, and aesthetics. (...) The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Race offers in one comprehensive volume newly written articles on race from the world's leading analytic and continental philosophers. It is, however, accessible to a readership beyond philosophy as well, providing a cohesive reference for a wide student and academic readership. The Companion synthesizes current philosophical understandings of race, providing 37 chapters on the history of philosophy and race as well as how race might be investigated in the usual frameworks of contemporary philosophy. The volume concludes with a section on philosophical approaches to some topics with broad interest outside of philosophy, like colonialism, affirmative action, eugenics, immigration, race and disability, and post-racialism. By clearly explaining and carefully organizing the leading current philosophical thinking on race, this timely collection will help define the subject and bring renewed understanding of race to students and researchers in the humanities, social science, and sciences. (shrink)
This book explains the importance of embodiment in understanding the function of race. With chapters by expert contributors and coverage of the most recent thinking in philosophy of race, the book is ideal for upper-level students in Phenomenology, Philosophy of Race and Critical Race Theory.
This article examines Samantha Vice's essay ‘How Do I Live in This Strange Place?’, which sparked a storm of controversy in South Africa, as a starting point for interrogating understandings of whiteness and racism that are dominant in critical philosophy of race. I argue that a significant body of philosophical scholarship on whiteness in general and by white scholars in particular obfuscates the structural dimension of racism. The moralisation of racism that often permeates philosophical scholarship reproduces colourblind logics, (...) which provide individualistic explanations for structural problems, thereby sustaining white dominance. In the process, I show that notions of white guilt, white habits, white ignorance, white invisibility, white privilege, and white shame as they are theorised in much critical philosophy of race share a crucial limitation: they minimise white people's active interest in reproducing the racist status quo. Studies, such as Vice's, that frame racism as a moral dilemma while silencing its institutionalisation and the central cause for its existence and longevity – that is, white people's investment in maintaining economic, political, and symbolic power – further naturalise white supremacy. (shrink)
This article traces the hidden race-religion constellation in Europe. The term “race-religion constellation” refers to the connection or co-constitution of the categories of race and “religion.” Specifically, the term “race-religion constellation” is used to refer to the practice of classifying people into races according to categories we now associate with the term “religion.” This calls for a consideration of European history and forms of racism in Europe, such as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. This article aims to provide (...) an alternative non-secularized or biological account of the origins of the socially constructed category of race in Europe. The alternative story begins in the sixteenth century, when the category of “religion” as a means for classifying peoples was both constructed and politicized. In tracing this alternative story, this article seeks to outline a framework for a critical philosophy of race focused on a European religion line that intersects with Du Bois's color line. (shrink)
Philosophers of science widely believe that the hereditarian theory about racial differences in IQ is based on methodological mistakes and confusions involving the concept of heritability. I argue that this "received view" is wrong: methodological criticisms popular among philosophers are seriously misconceived, and the discussion in philosophy of science about these matters is largely disconnected from the real, empirically complex issues debated in science.
This article examines which lessons political philosophers can learn from discussions within Critical Philosophy of Race. The article assumes a social-constructionist understanding of “race” and focuses on the question of how we can reconcile normative universalism with sensitivity to differences that have been created by processes of racialisation. To answer this question, it looks exemplarily at debates within three different fields of political philosophy: normativity, politics, and law. First, it presents objections voiced by critical race (...) theory against liberal, ideal conceptions of justice. Second, the article reconstructs the main arguments for and against affirmative action as a policy measure directed at minority groups. Third, it focuses on racial inequalities in the context of penal law. By way of conclusion, it suggests how debates around justice and punishment and the conceptual lenses offered by CPoR can be fruitfully applied to the German context. (shrink)
In this article, I defend the pragmatic relevance of race in history. Kant and Hegel's racist development thesis assumes that nonwhite, non-European racial groups are defective practical agents. In response, philosophers have opted to drop race from a theory of history and progress. They posit that denying its pragmatic relevance amounts to anti-racist egalitarianism. I dub this tactic “colorblind cosmopolitanism” and offer grounds for its rejection. Following Du Bois, I ascribe, instead, a pragmatic role to race in (...) history. Namely, Du Bois argues that race is an “instrument of progress” that advances emancipatory struggle. He appeals to the writing of history—or historiography—to cultivate group consciousness of historical memory in order to strengthen intragroup bonds among the racially oppressed, especially black Americans, and create intergroup bonds that reconstruct the republic on the basis of universal ideals. I detail Du Bois's defense of the black struggle for freedom in the wake of the U.S. Civil War to provide a concrete illustration of “spirit” in American history. (shrink)
Naomi Zack brings us an indispensable work in the ethics of race through an inquiry into the history of moral philosophy. The Ethics and Mores of Race: Equality after the History of Philosophy enters into a web of ideas, ethics, and morals that untangle our evolving ideas of racial equality straight into the twenty-first century.
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Race provides up-to-date explanation and analyses by leading scholars of contemporary issues in African American philosophy and philosophy of race. These original essays encompass the major topics and approaches in this emerging philosophical subfield that supports demographic inclusion and diversity while at the same time strengthening the conceptual arsenal of social and political philosophy. Over the course of the volume's ten topic-based sections, ideas about race held by (...) Locke, Hume, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche are supplemented by suppressed thought from the African diaspora, early twentieth-century African American perspectives and Native-, Asian-, and Latin-, American views. The contributors bring philosophical analysis to bear on the status of racial divisions as categories of humanity in the biological sciences, as well as within contemporary criticism and conceptual analysis. Essays present the special applications of American philosophy and continental philosophy to ideas of race as methodological alternatives to more analytic approaches. As a collection of analyses and assessments of 'race' in the real world, the volume pays trenchant and relevant attention to historical and contemporary racism and what it means to say that 'race' and racial identities are socially constructed. The essays analyze contemporary social issues including the importance of racial difference and identity in education, public health, medicine, IQ and other standardized tests, and sports. Additionally, the essays consider the societal limitations and structures provided by public policy and law. As a critical theory, the volume compares the study of race to feminism. Historical and contemporary, academic and popular, racisms pertaining to male and female gender receive special consideration throughout the volume. While this comprehensive collection may have the effect of a textbook, each of the original essays is a fresh and authentic development of important present thought. (shrink)
The legacy and future of continental philosophy with regard to the critical philosophy of race can be seen in prominent canonical philosophical figures, the scholarship of contemporary philosophers, and recent edited collections and book series. The following reflections highlight some (though certainly not all) of the contacts and overlaps between a select number of continental philosophers and the critical philosophy of race. In particular, I consider how the continental tradition has contributed to the development of (...) the critical philosophy of race by offering tools from existentialism, phenomenology, and genealogy to emphasize questions of existence, facticity, lived experience, and historicity as they relate to analyses of race, racism, slavery, and colonialism.1 I argue that these tools have been used both implicitly and explicitly in the writings of contemporary continental philosophers who theorize about race and that the critical philosophy of race has impacted and expanded continental philosophy in significant ways. (shrink)
For many decades, race and racicsm have been common areas of study in departments of sociology, history, politcal science, English, and athropology. Much more recently, as the historical concept of race and racial categories have faced signifcant scientific and politcal challenges, philosophers have become more interested in these areas. This changing understanding of the ontology of race has invited inquiry from researchers in moral philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, and aesthetics. (...) The Routlege Companion to Philosophy of Race offers in one comprehensive volume newly written articles on race from the world’s leading Analytic and Continental philosophers. It is, however, accessible to a readership beyond philosophy as well, providing a cohesive referencefor a wide student and academic readership. The _Companion_ synethesizes current philosophical understandings of race, providing 50 chapters on the history of philosophy and race as well as how race might be invesitaged in the usual frameworks of contemporary philosophy. The volume concludes with a section on philosophical approaches to some topics with broad interest outside of philosophy, like Colonialism, Affirmative Action, Eugenics, Immigration, Race and Disability, and Post-Racialism. By clearly explaining and carefully organizing the leading current philosophical thinking on race, this timely collection will help define the subject and bring renewed understanding of race to students and researchers in the humanities, social science, and sciences. (shrink)
A traditional social scientific divide concerns the centrality of the interpretation of local understandings as opposed to attending to relatively general factors in understanding human individual and group differences. We consider one of the most common social scientific variables, race, and ask how to conceive of its causal power. We suggest that any plausible attempt to model the causal effects of such constructed social roles will involve close interplay between interpretationist and more general elements. Thus, we offer a case (...) study that one cannot offer a comprehensive model of the causal power of racial categories as social constructions without careful attention both to local meanings and more general mechanisms. (shrink)
In Preludes to Pragmatism: Toward A Reconstruction of Philosophy, Phillip Kitcher argues in Chapter 6, “Does ‘Race’ Have a Future” that developments in evolutionary biology may support a separation of our species into subcategories that could be regarded as races. The human species, he argues, could possibly be divided, using a similar methodology to that employed by evolutionary biologists, into relatively stable and isolated breeding populations that bear distinctive and salient clusters of significant genotypic and phenotypic traits. Hence, (...) the eliminativist claim that there is nothing in the world that corresponds to our use of the term ‘race’ is mistaken. There is, in short, a scientifically legitimate .. (shrink)
Does the concept of “race” find support in contemporary science, particularly in biology? No, says Naomi Zack, together with so many others who nowadays argue that human races lack biological reality. This claim is widely accepted in a number of fields (philosophy, biology, anthropology, and psychology), and Zack’s book represents only the latest defense of social constructivism in this context. There are several reasons why she fails to make a convincing case.
By helping to introduce the relatively new concept of institutional racism into Britain, Sir Michael and Ann Dummett expanded the concept of racism beyond the limited sense it had been given in the 1940s and 1950s when racism tended to be associated with the scientific concept of race and when the focus tended to fall on the intent to harm or speak harm of a group that was identified as a race by science. They recognised that ‘race’ (...) was primarily a political and not a scientific concept. This led them in a different direction from that taken by the next generation of mainstream philosophers working in this area, such as Kwame Anthony Appiah, who adopted the UNESCO approach of highlighting the scientific deficiencies of the concept of race. However, although they both succeeded in developing ways to break through the forms of self-deception that allow institutional racism to go unnoticed and at the same time offered instructive insights into the ways politicians hide behind the racism of others, I argue that they failed to see, as clearly as Sartre and Fanon did, that the conception of institutional racism necessitates a structural changes in society beyond anything they contemplated. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to develop an argument against metaphysical debates about the existence of human races. I argue that the ontology of race is underdetermined by both empirical and non-empirical evidence due to a plurality of equally permissible candidate meanings of "race." Furthermore, I argue that this underdetermination leads to a deflationist diagnosis according to #hich disputes about the existence of human races are non-substantive verbal disputes. $hile this diagnosis resembles general deflationist strategies in contemporary (...) metaphysics" I show that my argument does not presuppose controversial metametaphysical assumptions. (shrink)
Despite the recent rise in articles by American philosophers willing to deal with race, the sophistication of American philosophy's conceptualizations of American racism continues to lag behind other liberal arts fields committed to similar endeavors. Whereas other fields like American studies, history, sociology, and Black studies have found the foundational works of Black scholars essential to "truly" understanding the complexities of racism, American philosophy-driven by the refusal of white philosophers to acknowledge and incorporate the foundational works of (...) Black scholars at the turn of the century, as well as the relevant insights of contemporary race theorists-remains in a very real sense underdeveloped .. (shrink)