Title

Race : a social destruction of a biological concept

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Biology and Philosophy

Publication Date

3-1-2010

Volume

25

Issue

2

First Page

143

Last Page

162

Keywords

Race, Social constructivism, Genetics, Geographical ancestry, Human variation, Philosophy of science

Abstract

It is nowadays a dominant opinion in a number of disciplines (anthropology, genetics, psychology, philosophy of science) that the taxonomy of human races does not make much biological sense. My aim is to challenge the arguments that are usually thought to invalidate the biological concept of race. I will try to show that the way ‘‘race’’ was defined by biologists several decades ago (by Dobzhansky and others) is in no way discredited by conceptual criticisms that are now fashionable and widely regarded as cogent. These criticisms often arbitrarily burden the biological category of race with some implausible connotations, which then opens the path for a quick eliminative move. However, when properly understood, the biological notion of race proves remarkably resistant to these deconstructive attempts. Moreover, by analyzing statements of some leading contemporary scholars who support social constructivism about race, I hope to demonstrate that their eliminativist views are actually in conflict with what the best contemporary science tells us about human genetic variation.

DOI

10.1007/s10539-009-9193-7

Print ISSN

01693867

E-ISSN

15728404

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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Recommended Citation

Neven, S. (2010). Race: A social destruction of a biological concept. Biology and Philosophy, 25(2), 143-162. doi: 10.1007/s10539-009-9193-7