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The Race Concept: A Defense

Michael Levin
Behavior and Philosophy
Vol. 30 (2002), pp. 21-42
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27759436
Page Count: 22
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The Race Concept: A Defense
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Abstract

It is argued against critics that the concept of race is well-formed. The issue is formulated in terms of the classic sense/reference distinction and shown that "race" has a sense specified in terms of geographic ancestry, and thereby a reference. Excessive constraints on "race," for instance that races must by definition have signature genes, are rejected. Empirical validation is considered, although the emphasis here is to place empirical validation in a philosophical context, not answer the empirical questions themselves. At several junctures the familiar divisions of the races are compared to the stellar luminosity types of astronomy, which are still serviceable although representing an earlier state of astrophysical knowledge.

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