A Theory of Race, 1st Edition by Joshua Glasgow

By Joshua Glasgow

Social commentators have lengthy requested even if racial different types may be conserved or eradicated from our practices, discourse, associations, and maybe even inner most options. In A conception of Race, Joshua Glasgow argues that this set of decisions unnecessarily offers us with too few options.

Using either conventional philosophical instruments and up to date mental study to enquire folks understandings of race, Glasgow argues that, as more often than not conceived, race is an phantasm. besides the fact that, our urgent have to converse to and make feel of social lifestyles calls for that we hire anything like racial discourse. those competing pressures, Glasgow keeps, eventually require us to prevent conceptualizing race as whatever organic, and as a substitute know it as a completely social phenomenon.

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Second, if the mismatch phenomenon occurs, we’d be changing the subject (cf. Jackson 1998a, 38). Words can have all sorts of meanings— folk, expert, stipulative—but the race debate is about certain specific meanings. In that context, the concepts that are the subject of debate are, again, the public ones. So if in our arguments we purport to draw conclusions about the public concept of race based on premises about a mismatched concept of race, we’ll have changed the subject midstream. From these first two problems stemming from the mismatch phenomenon, a third follows: as Frank Jackson (1998a, 31) points out, in many cases where we give up the ordinary concept, we give up the interesting concept.

Again, given the paucity of empirical data on this question, I can only appeal to my own intuitions on the matter, but my strong inclination here is to say that specifically racial difference no longer exists in such a world of uniform physical appearance. 10 Thus H1* seems like the most viable candidate, of those I’ve considered, to replace H1. If the intuitions that lead to dispatching with H2 and H3 and replacing H1 with H1* are widely shared, then that widespread convergence will constitute very strong, though defeasible, evidence (more on this in the next section) for an analysis of RACE: the concept of race is simply the concept of a group of human beings distinguished from other human beings by visible physical features of the relevant kind that the group has to some significantly disproportionate extent.

The general point holds in this specific context, for mismatched racial concepts aren’t very interesting from the perspective of the race debate. Recall that the range of the race debate includes, say, California’s recently defeated Racial Privacy Initiative, which would have prohibited publicly funded agencies from collecting racial data. ’ Finally, the mismatch phenomenon threatens to blind us to and maintain an ethically and politically problematic status quo. If we use a concept of race in our theories that doesn’t match the folk concept of race, we might end up with a theory of race that cannot address particular unjust or immoral race-conscious practices.

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