chapter  7
16 Pages

Philosoph ical and Social I m plications

In sorting people into races, different kinds of criteria are used for each race and different criteria may be used for individuals within the same race (for example, John is judged to be black because his mother is, whereas Mary is judged to be black because she "looks" black.) Being a member of a race is analogous to being a financial transaction: It can be translated into a biological sentence. But wait! A racialist objection to the claim that race lacks a scientific basis could be made here. If people can be sorted into races in a way that seems to conform to F odor's model, and his model is good enough for the science of economics in order to ground it as an empirical science, why can't the same thing be said for race? Maybe racial predicates as general terms don't have physical bases, but any given instantiation of any social racial classification has a physical basis, first in biology and perhaps ultimately in physics. Isn't the possibility for such Fodorian token physicalism enough to empirically ground race?