Rethinking Race: The Case for Deflationary Realism

Rethinking Race: The Case for Deflationary Realism

by Michael O. Hardimon


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Many scholars and activists seek to eliminate "race"--the word and the concept--from our vocabulary. Their claim is clear: because science has shown that racial essentialism is false and because the idea of race has proved virulent, we should do away with the concept entirely. Michael O. Hardimon criticizes this line of thinking, arguing that we must recognize the real ways in which race exists in order to revise our understanding of its significance.

Rethinking Race provides a novel answer to the question "What is race?" Pernicious, traditional racialism maintains that people can be judged and ranked according to innate racial features. Hardimon points out that those who would eliminate race make the mistake of associating the word only with this view. He agrees that this concept should be jettisoned, but draws a distinction with three alternative ideas: first, a stripped-down version of the ordinary concept of race that recognizes minimal physical differences between races but does not consider them significant; second, a scientific understanding of populations with shared lines of descent; and third, an acknowledgment of "socialrace" as a separate construction.

Hardimon provides a language for understanding the ways in which races do and do not exist. His account is realistic in recognizing the physical features of races, as well as the existence of races in our social world. But it is deflationary in rejecting the concept of hierarchical or defining racial characteristics. Ultimately, Rethinking Race offers a philosophical basis for repudiating racism without blinding ourselves to reality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674975668
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 06/12/2017
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,101,774
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Michael O. Hardimon is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Introduction 2

1 The Racialist Concept of Race 12

2 The Minimalist Concept of Race 27

3 Do Minimalist Races Exist? 65

4 Is Minimalist Race Biologically Real? 74

5 The Populationist Concept of Race 98

6 Popularionist Race: Existence and Reality 118

7 The Concept of Socialrace 130

8 Health, Race, Medicine 150

Conclusion 169

Appendix 177

Notes 179

Acknowledgments 215

Index 219

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