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Social Darwinism, Scientific Racism, and the Metaphysics of Race

Rutledge M. Dennis
The Journal of Negro Education
Vol. 64, No. 3, Myths and Realities: African Americans and the Measurement of Human Abilities (Summer, 1995), pp. 243-252
DOI: 10.2307/2967206
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2967206
Page Count: 10
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Social Darwinism, Scientific Racism, and the Metaphysics of Race
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Abstract

Tracing the philosophical underpinnings of scientific racism from the early work of hereditarians Darwin, Spencer, and Sumner, to the intelligence testing movement led by Galton and Binet, and lastly to the contemporary race and IQ studies of Jensen, Herrnstein, and Murray, this article maintains that science is often used as a justification to propose, project, and enact racist social policies. It begins with a review of the philosophy of Social Darwinism and of its assumptions about race and human abilities, and ends by analyzing a largely unbroached theme in this debate: the consequences of scientific racism for dominant groups.

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