What ‘biological racial realism’ should mean

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Philosophy on 2015-12-24 20:37Z by Steven

What ‘biological racial realism’ should mean

Philosophical Studies
June 2012, Volume 159, Issue 2
pages 181-204
DOI: 10.1007/s11098-011-9697-2

Quayshawn Spencer, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
University of Pennsylvania

A curious ambiguity has arisen in the race debate in recent years. That ambiguity is what is actually meant by ‘biological racial realism’. Some philosophers mean that ‘race is a natural kind in biology’, while others mean that ‘race is a real biological kind’. However, there is no agreement about what a natural kind or a real biological kind should be in the race debate. In this article, I will argue that the best interpretation of ‘biological racial realism’ is one that interprets ‘biological racial realism’ as ‘race is a genuine kind in biology’, where a genuine kind is a valid kind in a well-ordered scientific research program. I begin by reviewing previous interpretations of ‘biological racial realism’ in the race debate. Second, I introduce the idea of a genuine kind and compare it to various notions of natural and real biological kinds used in the race debate. Third, I present and defend an argument for my view. Fourth, I provide a few interesting consequences of my view for the race debate. Last, I provide a summary of the article.

Read or purchase the article here. Read the author’s manuscript here.

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