chapter  1
16 Pages

Philosophical Racial Essentialism: H u me and Ka nt

The lack of scientific foundation for common sense racial taxonomy presents a challenge to both oppressive and liberatory traditions. Reference to neither the original support by scientists of the oppressive tradition, nor to the history of liberatory humanistic action against this tradition, provides answers to the challenge. Racialist science has proved to be self-correcting, and humanistic liberatory movements should respond to contemporary selfcorrected scientific contexts if they are to sincerely continue as liberatory. Such a response is in keeping with the history of resistance among African Americans. During the mid-1990s, an erudite and well-published African philosopher of my acquaintance, who had been an American citizen for several years, applied to be nominated for a university affirmative action position in a department of philosophy, also of the acquaintance. Language and related symbolic systems connect social facts to physical facts. Social reality has several levels and on each one construction of facts from levels closer to physical facts occurs.