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Lecture Notes

PHIL 455

Table of contents
  1. Lecture 1: A New Division of the World
  2. Lecture 2: American Whiteness
  3. Lecture 3: Race – Real or not? Conserve of eliminate?
  4. Lecture 4: From Racial Eliminativism to Racial Formation
  5. Week 5 Tuesday – “Genetic Racial Naturalism”
  6. Lecture 5: Racial Population Naturalism
  7. Lecture 6:
  8. Lecture 7: Ron Mallon, Normative Race
  9. Lecture 8: Racial Pluralism

Lecture 1: A New Division of the World

  • Race is a fairly modern conception – the earliest you’re going to find it is in the 16th century
  • Orbis Terrarum (isidorian map) – one of the ways in which people divided up the entire world
  • Religion is the basis for the division of the world
    • Noah’s Arc: Noah’s sons, Shem (East), Ham (Africa), and Japheth (West).
    • Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his bretheren. Not only is Ham the servant, but also his son Canaan – introduction of a reproductive principle
  • Orientalism
    • You don’t need race to hate Muslims, e.g.
    • “Orient” / “Occident” comes from “oriens” (the rising, e.g. the East) and “occidens” (the setting, e.g. the West)
    • the ‘near est’, ‘middle east’, ‘far easit’ – orient, not occident
  • Spread of Islam – a movmeent to take back Holy Lands
  • Crusades – a movement to take back Holy Lands
    • But first you do i s==s join the crusades.
    • Reconquistra – driving the argument that you need t =o be Japanese or O+Korean
    • Moriscos / marramonocs
  • “New Christians” have secod-class students.
  • Christian lurity: less about affirming bloodlinea n dmore about irming one images’ bloodliees are (pi0-3)
  • Slavery without rce – historically, slavery was a common practice. e.g. across languages
  • Rise of feudalism in North and central Europea
  • La Reconquista – a system in the Iberian Peninsula
    • La Encomienda – to entrust, a system used byt he PSniah to control and idstribute labor
    • A way of motivating people to fight.
    • los adelantados
    • people on conquered territory become subjects of the Spanish monarchy
    • Is it slavery? Sort of
    • If you convert, then… you can’t enslave
    • 15% of the profits that Christopher Columbus made from the voyage, he got to keep. Columbus wanted to make indigenous people slaves.
  • Justifying the conquest – who has dominion over these lands?
    • Satan was running amuck in America: convert?
  • Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) – a line drawn down the Atlantic Ocean, dividing the world between Spain and Portugal
    • Portugal got Brazil
    • Spain got the rest of the Americas
    • Portugal got Africa – Portugal become the slavers – the first slaves to the Americas come through Portuguese slavers
  • Spain and human rights – you can trace a lot of human rights to these times
    • Laws of Burgos, 1512
    • Spanish Requirimiento, tell Natives to submit to Spanish rule or be at war
    • Sublimis Deus, 1537 – declared indigenous Americans rational
    • Native Americans New Laws, 1542
  • The idea – these are humans. if you want to exploit their labor, how do you do so?
  • Valladolid Debates, 1550-1551. Promoted by the king of Spain, Carlos V. Pitted Gines de Sepulveda vs. Bartolome de las Casas.
    • Sepulveda: the official historian and theologian of the Spanish Crown. You have two weapons: the Bible and Aristotle. Colonialism is a civilizing task emancipating those living in barbarity. Virtue, humanity, and true religion is more valuable than gold and silver.
    • Aristotle: the telos of Native Americans is to be slaves
    • Ingenuity does not prove equality to the Spanishing
    • Worship of false idols, cannibalism, sacrifice of the innocent, sins against the divine.
    • Bartolome de las Casas. Emigrated to Hispaniola in 1502. Gives up his land, etc. Initially: you can’t just force someone to convert, you need to save their soul. Cannot be brutal.
    • Argued for a misread of Aristotle and Aquinas. Four ways of being a barbarian
      • Exhibiting cruel and irrational behavior
      • Lacking a written language
      • Having no understanding of justice or civilization
      • Not being Christian
    • “Barbarian” – from undeveloped language, “bar bar bar”
    • Still talking about religion – need to take Jesus Christ
    • Is De Las Casas’ defense anti-racist? We probably still don’t have a concept of race yet
    • De Las Casas: the Indians are too weak to be slaves, but some people thrive – the children of Ham.
  • Decartes’ undergraduate logic textbook written in the Americas
  • La Casta – hierarchical system of caste systems and classifications which is starting to look a lot like race. Proto-Lamarkian ideas about race, you might have good stock, but if you’re not born in the right soil, you’re not going to be as good.
    • Peninsular – born on Iberian Peninsula, parents are white and European
    • Creoles – born in America, parents are white and European
    • Mestizos – European and Native American
    • Mulattoes – European and African descent
    • Africans – free and enslaved
    • Native Americans – Indians, Aztec, Maya, inca, etc.
  • They don’t have Darwinian evolution or Lamarck yet, merely sympethetic – somehow it tends to pass off into your offspring.
  • Racial science, and moves away a little bit from religion and towards other proto-scientific things
  • Certain castes get denied certain things.
  • The Black Legend
    • Due to politics, religious tensions, and to a little jealousy, European powers begin a propaganda campaign against Spain and Catholicism
    • Spaniards who came to the New Wordl were greedy conquistadors, but the English who came are peaceful colonists seeking liberty.
  • Immanuel Kant – brutal writing on the Spaniard. There is a non-European taste
  • Race in the United States
    • First group of African slaves come to Jamestwon in 1619
    • Most laborers in the US were indentured servants
    • initially, Africans were treated as indentured servants.
    • The Portguese initially baptized the slaves, so they need to be indentured servants; when they filled out their contract, they were done
    • Slow transformation into race-based chattel slavery, motivated by three factors
      • Demand for labor on the colonies exceeds the supply of indentured servants coming from Europe
      • Life for an indentured servant sucks, many of them run away, easy fro white indentured servants to blend in as free men
      • Revolt, people keep on revolting – Bacon’s Rebellion, 1676. Burned down Jamestown, Virginia, a large number of people from different classes.
      • 1705 Virginia Slave Codes – a lot of thought put into the slave codes. how do you stop thes efrom happening?
    • Virginia Slave Codes of 1705
      1. Established new property rights for slave owners – humans as property
      2. Legal and free trading of slaves
      3. Prohibited Blacks, regardless of free status, from owning weapons
      4. Prohibited Whites from being employed by Blacks
    • This is where the divison between White and Black emerges here.
    • How to distinguish free from bonded labor? How to prevent lower classes from revolting? Slaves from Africa provide the perfect solution. Any Black woman’s child is a slave. Your father could be a rapist. Endless supply of labor, no need to import, and you have skin color as a marker of slavery. Also a psychological reason fro poor whites to buy in.
    • Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826.
      • Monogenesis: humans have one origin. Christian worldview.
      • Polygenesis: the human species have multiple origins.
      • If races are supposed to be distinct, then where did they come from? Does the existence of race undermine genesis? Kant is the hero, because he gives a monogenesis account which explains multiple races.
      • Seeing the divisions – but what are the geneses? Jefferson – “seeds”

Lecture 2: American Whiteness

The Rise of “Race”

  • Basic elements of race which need to all come together
  • Religion: religious conflicts, religious myths on the origin and purpose of humanity, cutting up the world
  • Slavery (chattel): you need exploitable labor that is marked an dunlikely to win a revolt.
  • Settler colonialism – not just any kind of colonialism. Need to justify the occupation of what was formerly foreign land.
  • Xenophobia – a strong sense of nationalism, a strong sense of “us” and “them”


  • A system in which an outside group takes control over foreign land and controls its resources and often its peoplpe
  • Most forms of colonialism become exploitative: a metropole seeks to derive profits by exploiting the colony.
  • Often a doctrine of “terra nullius”, or folks are not using their resources well.
  • Post-colonianlism: rebuilding projects by independent states that at one point were colonies.
  • Maybe post-colonial never led to de-colonial. Is there still a logic of resource extraction from one part of the world to another?
  • Settler colonialism is not just / for the metropole’s profit, but to establish permanent settlement in a territory.
  • Settler colonialism is a structure rather than an event. It is achieved through treaties.
  • Terra nullius – the land was empty

Religious Differences: Latin vs. Anglo Europe

  • Anglo Europe: between Protestants and Catholics.
  • Latin Europe is more concerned with the division between Christians and Muslims.

Colonization of the America

  • Latin colonists came with particular objectives. Mainly single men coming to make money.
  • Some people explicit aim to spread the goslpel of Christianity.

  • Lation-MAerican patriotism. MUlti-axis paradigm of race
  • In Anglo-American racism, you have the notion of hypodescent, one-drop rule

The Ancients

  • Carving nature, Plato, 427-347 BCE. Nature has divisions. There are natural places to carve up things.
  • Aristotle, 842-322 BCE. THat which a thing has in common with toher like things without which it would not be that thing: essence.

The Moderns

  • Bernier, 1620-1688. Four or five species who diffeences are solarge that they serve a diviosn of the earth.
  • Color is only an accident upon them
  • These are all white people – you can yet carve nature at its joints.
  • Tribalism, religiosity, etc. artificially divide you – but you are part of a larger group

Adam and Eve, A New Division of the Earth

  • The Abrahamic tradition has subscribed to monogenesis.
  • Isaac La Peyrere made a case for polygenesis in *men Before Adam8.
  • Polygenesis: any belief ror theory that the human species had multiple origins.
  • By mid-1750s, Europeans believe that there are racial differences
  • Monogenesis (e.g. Montesqieu) – differences result from climate, geopgrahy, and diet.
  • Jean-Baptiste Lamarck: the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics. Organisms pass onto their offspring physical characteristics that they have acquired during their lifetime.
  • Polygenesists: traits are unchaniging and perspesit over time, inferiroity is an original and esssential trait.
  • Immaneul Kant, 1724 - 1804
    • One of the frist anthropologsts
    • A racist (?)
    • In his time, more well-known for his anthropology than his philosophy.
  • Blumbenbach
    • Blueman is a reacial egaliatiran, but htings that race is degenrate
    • Degeneration theory
    • All the beaitufl people came frmo the Cuacauses and you get to oht==
  • Joseph Arhur de Gobineau, An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (1853), maybe the most racist text for its time.
    • Developed the theory of the Aryan master race
    • “Aryan” taken from a Hindu legend, preserving superior Aryan racial heritage
    • Buddhism and Islam taken to be religions of decay.
  • Francis Galton (1822 - 1911)
    • Introduced Eugenics
    • Darwinian eugenics which the Nazis use – any improvements we make now are not going to pass on to their kids. Why educate dumb people? Their children will be dumb
    • Lamarckian eugenics takes hold in Latin America. You don’t have to have a degenerate race. Improving people will pass on better genes tot he next generation. Latin America tries to whiten themselves.
      • You get health and education programs, etc.
      • Lamarckian eugenics have horrible outcomes too
    • Regression towards mediocrity in hereditary stature.
    • Social programs helping the poor are dysgenic.
  • Madison Grant (1865, 1937)
    • The Passing of the Great Race (1916)
    • White folks have degenerate races as well
    • The Great Nordic race is kind of newer, so their genes are a little bit weaker. The Nordic people are also the most brave people. The swarthy Latin people are seducing the women: Mediterranean and “Iberian” subspecies, etc.
    • The United States is not a melting pot, it’s a Nordic nation, and the Nordic race is going to pass away.
    • Quoted repeatedly in Congress while passing racist legislation
  • 1700s Anti-German Zenophobia
    • Benjamin Franklin: they do not assimilate, they herd together and establish their languages to the exclusion of ours.
    • “Why shuold Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of aliens?”

First US Citizenship / Immigration Laws

  • The constitution didn’t talk about immigration – they can’t get enough coming in
  • Congress shall have the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization
  • 1790 Naturalization Act: free white persons of good character and living in the US for 2 years

Anti-Irish and Catholic Xenophobia in the 1800s

  • White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WAPS)
  • WAPS came to see themselves as the “real” Americans
  • Catholicism seen as inherently foreign and dangerous to “real” America
  • Catholic church represented monarchy, etc.
  • The “Irish-Iberian” thesis / hypothesis
  • Know-nohthing party, “Americans must rule Americans”
  • Repealing the naturalization act.
  • Race is part of a nation-building process. But they still let them naturalize, which was not the case against black, inidgenous, asian peoples

American Whiteness

  • Black and indigenous ameircans are ineligible for US citizenship
  • In some cases, it is about being free. Dred Scott v. Sanford, 1857
  • Elk v. Wilkins, 1884 – indigenous man just wants to vote.
  • It i sonly until 1924 that Indians are given citizenship
  • Asian ineligibility for naturalized US citizenship
    • Chinese exclusion acts, 1875
    • Takao Ozawa v. US, 1922
  • Asiatic barred zone – not even residence in the United States allowed.
  • George Shishim, born in the Ottoman Empire, moves to the US and becomes LAPD. Arrests the son of a prominent lawyer. Argument: Shishim should have never been a cop, he should not have been an American citizen, he is not ‘white’
  • Judge Hutton getting ready to rule in George Shishim v. United States (1909) that an “Arab” identity was non-white
  • Shishim: “If I am a Mongolian, then so was Jesus, because we came from the same land.”
  • Hutton rules Shishim white by law.
  • Why is Middle Eastern included in Caucasian? – the consistency is how close are you to Christianity. It starts to whiten you.
  • Orient / Occident: Islam can darken you.
  • Takao Ozawa. Lived in the United States for 20 years. Ozawa applies for US citizenship. US denies his application because he is of the Japanese race. Ozawa denies: American education, Christian churches, etc. – rolls up his sleeve and puts his arm next to every judge and says that they are as white
  • Is Takao white? No – the appellant in this case is clearly of a race which is not Caucasian.
  • Race, as defined by biological anthropology, trumps ethnicity (culture and appearance) in determining eligibility for US citizenship.
  • Bhagat Singh Thind – fought for the US in World War I. Gave him citizenship, but then took it away – he’s not white. He hears the result of Takao Ozawa – according tot he anthropology of the time and the fact he was from a high Indu caste, he was technically of the Caucasian race and could not be denied citizneship on grounds of not being white.
  • Is “Caucasian” enough to determine a peron’s whiteness? The court changes again – not “Caucasian”, but rather “white”, not of scientific origin, of familiar observation and knowledge – Hindus are readily distinguishable from “folk theory” white individuals

Race in Latin America

  • Wars of independence led by Creoles – Peninsulares taking their jobs.
  • Officially end the caste system, but it continues socially: Blanqueamiento
  • If we cna get more white people to have children and discourage darker skinned children to have children, the population will be whitened.
  • Argentina’s constitution, Article 25, does not allow closing immigrants from Europe. When the Nazis came over after the war, so many settled in Argentina.
  • Race comes to be linked with phenotypes, especially skin color, and culture / class / social standing
  • Siblings of the same parents can belong to different races under Blanqueamiento. It’s not about heritage, it’s metaphysically about skin color.
  • Jose Vasconcelos (1882 - 1959): there is a purpose / spirit that undergirds the rise and fall of civilizations and races. This spirit is like a current in a body of water. There is a conflict between two white races of Europe: Latins and the Anglos. The French / Spanish / Portuguese / Italian against the English and the US.
  • Latin America is in a prime position to play a key role in “history’s mandate” – history seeks the fusion of peoples – all of the races come together and produces the cosmic race
    • Asian, Black, White comes together
  • In Mexico, there are many problems – but it is a Mestizo nation. Look at the flags: an indigenous symbol and European colors.
  • Madison Grant sees this and says this is the problem – you can’t have the melting pot. The absorption of blood of the conquistadors byt he “native Indian population” has produced the Mexican.

Lecture 3: Race – Real or not? Conserve of eliminate?

Different Schools of Thought on Race

  • Race naturalism (realism, ‘really real’)
    • Races represent a natural (non-artificial, non-social) distinction within the human species
    • Racialism: a version of racial naturalism, which holds that these differences form an essential set of heritable, physical, moral, etc. characteristics
    • There can be race naturalism without racialism
    • Entailments:
      • Standard rcism, keep the races separate, pure, in their place. Even eliminate the undesirable races.
      • Racial egalitarians: there are natural differences between races, but we should acknowledge them for relevant purposes; yet all persons deserve equal moral respect.
  • Racial skepticism (anti-realism)
    • Racial realism is false, because there are no biological races
  • Social constructivism (realism)
    • Social constructivists are still realists
    • Races are not natural entities but come into existence through human actions or institutions.
    • Races are ‘nominally’ real – nominalism, thinks are grouped together because of the ideas we have, but it’s not arbitrary. The criteria might be arbitrary, but once you accept the criteria, it’s not arbitrary.
  • Racial pluralists
    • Races have many definitions, so many views of “race” can be true at the same time
Metaphysics of raceNaturalistsSkepticsConstructivistsPluralists
“Race” – natural category?YesYesNoYes
“Race” – social category?NoNoYesYes
“Race” – real?YesNoYesYes

Semantic / Normative Recommendations. urd

  • Eliminativists: there ar no ancient esse urdnces, so we ought to eliminate race language
  • Conservationists: we need to preserve the lagnaugae of “race”
  • Revisionists: race refers to essences which race talk.

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951)

  • Linguistic turn in analytic philosophyy: “to show the fly by the way out of the fly-bottle”
  • Atom: originally from the Greek atomos
  • Eliminativist: let’s get rid of phlogiston, let’s get rid of race
Semantics of raceEliminativistsConservationistsRevisionists
Should we end talk of ‘race’?YesNoNo
Should we reform ‘race’ talk?NoYesNo
Did ‘race’ signify something real?NoNoYes
Can ‘race’ signify something real?NoYesYes

W.E.B. du Bois, The Conservation of the Races

  • Du Bois is responsding to Madison Grant, 1965-1937
  • There is a spirit guiding the spirit of history towards a new race, Jose Vasconcelos, 1882-1959. Deep into Hegel.
  • The folks who are most racist have a sort of transcendental view.
  • The worry is always that scientists will always find some feature of division – even if there are such divisions, they are wrong, becuase we are moving towards a racial egalitarianism, where every race has some sort of contribution
  • Aaron Pina Mora, “La Raza Cosmica” – the superrace is still very white
  • What is Du Bois’ position on race?
    • Du Bois is clearly not a racial skeptic
    • It is not clear that Du Bois was a racial naturalist – these (scientific) criteria of race are getting “exasperatingly” intermingled.
    • Du Bois sounds like a constructivist…
    • Race? A vast family of human beings, generally of common blood and language, always of common history, traditions and impulses… striving together, voluntarily and involuntarily, accomplishing vividly conceived ideals of life …
    • Du Bois has a transcendentalist view of race – no mere physical differences – transcending them
  • Appiah: Du Bois never transcends his racial naturalism.

Anthony Appiah.

  • What is important to philosophy is to get to the truth
  • The consensus among biologists is that there are very few genetic differences among humans.
  • Race does not exist

Ashley Montagu, The Concept of Race (1959)

  • The idea of race is one of the most dangerous and tragic myths of our time
  • Use the term ‘ethnic’ group, which applies better than ‘race’.
  • An eliminativist
  • The term ‘ethnicity’ doesn’t really show up until the 1930s
  • Post-melting pot language

Anthony Appiah, Why There Are No Races

  • An ideational account of race – either concepts are embedded in our terms and these concepts are packed with ideas, then you compare concepts with the world.
  • Causal theory of race – even if you have mistaken ideas, you know what it is, and you can modify it. Linguistic division of labor.
  • Appiah: both theories are false: there are no races, there is nothing which is signed,w hich you can point towards.

Lecture 4: From Racial Eliminativism to Racial Formation

  • Eliminativism, conservationism, revisionism.

W.E.B. Du Bois

  • The conservation of races
  • Was DuBois a naturalist, skeptic, constructivist, or a pluralist about race? Clearly not a racial skeptic.
  • DuBois is a conservationist, a racial egalitarian. Thinks eliminating race talk will not help bring about justice.

Kwame Anthony Appiah

  • Du Bois follows the “classic dialectic” – groups are different and unequal. The critical response denies the difference. There are no differences, you’ve made things up, and revalue the thing which is undervalued.
  • Yet DuBois never transcended the scientific notion
  • DuBois’ own history is complicated.
  • Common impulses is all that remains. These bind people a posteriori as properties of racial groups
  • There’s no predictive/causal structure of the impulses
  • Du Bois begin to be hinting towards a social construct understanding of race.
  • Causal theory (referential) account of race; meaning is not in the head (Hilary Putnam)

Week 5 Tuesday – “Genetic Racial Naturalism”

  • Old school racial naturalists, population racial naturalists, genetic racial naturalists
  • Walter Benn Michaels: you have to have essentialism to have an objective account of race
  • Everyone wants to take down the social constructionists. First take-down: it’s either subjective or relativistic
  • Charles Mills: but no – there are two steps to these things. Once we develop a criteria, there is objectivity / an objective set of conditions.

Lecture 5: Racial Population Naturalism

  • Racial essentialist naturalists – the De Gabineaus, the Madison Grants, etc.
  • These folks are new – maybe you can carve it at its joints
  • Do not conflate the racist population naturalists with the racial population naturalists. Can you divide the human species in a significant way?

Robin Andreasen

  • There are two kinds of questions we can ask: sociological questions and biological questions
  • Is there a biologically substantive way of dividing up the subspecies
  • Philosophers of science – debate on whether you can even have subspecies
  • Common sense tells us a lot of things
  • Science contradicts common sense often
  • When you say that races are biologically unreal, there are two claims
    • Strong claim: there are no biologically objective ways to define race
    • Weak claim: Biology fails to vindicate commonsense ideas about race.
    • Appiah and Zack have kind of blended the etwo together.
    • Constructivists and skeptics correct about the weak claim, but not the strong claim.
  • Cladistic approach: races are ancestor descendant sequences of breeding populations, or groups of such sequences, that share a common oranges. Races once existed, but they are on their way out.
  • Human activity is causing race to lose it sbiological reality.
  • Arguments against the biological concept of race
    • No subspecies argument
    • No human subspecies argument.
  • Differences are clinal, they change gradually. Differences are not real in the snese of fcreating subspecies
  • One natural classification refects geneological relationships among organisms. You see monophyletic units form within a phylogeneitc tree.
  • It’s not totally implausible to cut the tree in this specific way, joint cutting.
  • You can have gene differences, etc.
  • Races as clades: some complications
    • The folk category Asian is not a cladistic race.
  • Biological races are dynamic – they change all the time. Biological race can exist and chnange over time. But noww we are coming into contact with one another, so races do not exist.
  • Tracing ancesotrs and looking at ancestral populations.

Philip Kitcher

  • How can biologists deploy the notion of race in a reasonable way?
  • Agrees with what all the eliminativists say about an essentialist concept of race
  • Necessary conditions for a biological concept of race.
  • Committed to the history of reproductive separation. Phenotypic differences are sustained through transmission of genes.
  • Distinct phenotypes maintain themselve,s done through mechanisms that keep people from reproducing which each other.
  • There was a lot of race-mixing happening.
  • There isn’t a biological reason: it’s geogrpahic or there are social barriers/explanations.
  • Most people reproducew
  • Suppose races are bohand $$a$-
  • Kitcher:a about group sbeing reproductiel==vely usolatred from oe moanther. You could start creatinng races.
  • The caldistic approaches not cnote omproiv=
  • Ethnicity and culture – the relations herein

Joshua Glasgow

  • Humans are all equal, because any culture can leanrn any culture anywhere’
  • Social constructionists are talking about ethnicity, and we’re trying to understand race here.
  • Glasgow: you can’t just gloss over the consequences, South and North East Asian are supposed to be close but they have radically different phenotypes
  • Talking about a division based purportedly on a scientific reason, but now dealing with the pragmatic stuff.
  • Appiah wanted the truth, but maybe wanted to get the pragmatic consequences.
  • It becomes a leverage debate.
  • Objections
    • An account with 9 races is too different
    • Cladistic approach deals with races disappearing, but not of races still persisting
    • Reproductively isolated groups do not map onto the phenotypical groupings which form the essence of the folk concept of race
    • Scientss/biologists are not themselves the arbiters of the meaning of race.
  • Kitcher: There are mechanisms which keep what we call races relatively siolated reproductively-wise.
  • Glasgow defeats the population naturalists
  • Final contender: geographical populations: clusters of genes tend to look like races
  • You begin getting pluralist conceptions of race; maybe you ought to have a biological race and a social race.
  • “A Third Way in the Race Debate”, 2006
  • Eliminativist argument:
    1. If race is an illusion, racial terms should be eliminated from public discourse.
    2. Race is an illusion.
    3. Racial terms should be eliminated from public discourse
  • Everyone attacks/defends “Race is an illusion”.
  • Appiah’s anti-realist argument
  • Onto-Semantic Constraint: all parties of the debate converge on the idea that ontological theories of race must be consistent with the best semantics of race.
    • Andreeson is just changing the meaning of the word ‘race’.
    • All approaches suffer from a monistic worldview. Here come the pluralists. Why do they have to be one thing. They can be two, but you can’t equivocate.
  • Racial reconstructionism: create a discourse to reconstruct the meaning o f racial terms to be semantically, ontologically, normatively “kosher” (???)
  • Even if “race” (biology ) is an illusion, race* can be useful in public discourse and retained.
  • Reconstructionist argument.
    1. If either ‘race’ or race* are not illusions and useful,then racial terms should be retained in public discourse.
    2. “Race” is an illusion and not useful.
    3. Race* is not an illusion and useful
    4. Racial terms should be retained in public discourse.

Lecture 6:

Sally Haslanger

  • There is a reality to race which isn’t being captured.
  • We can’t merely say that the meaning of race is vacuous,
  • Race picks out a social type, and means different things in different cases.

Lecture 7: Ron Mallon, Normative Race

  • Puts philosophy of race on the map
  • Philosophy of language
  • Rawls made political philosophy back on the map
  • Ron Mallon
  • Constructionist: American society was not and is not divided along racial lines because nature made it that way. Are open to transformation by collective action.
  • On a constructionist theory of race, passing should be possible and explicable.
  • No Travel Constriant: race is dependent on culture
  • Passing Constraint: passing is possible and explicable.
  • Reality constraint: race should be explanatory
  • Race does not travel.
  • The concept of race is heuristically incoherent

Lecture 8: Racial Pluralism