chapter  22
16 Pages

Race and Biology

WithRasmus Grønfeldt Winther

This chapter considers the biological and philosophical implications. It addresses the metaphysics of racial "kinds of people", organized around biogenomic, biological, and social levels. Biological races exist when a stable correlational or, better yet, causal mapping can be drawn between group genetic differences and socially significant or valued phenotypic characters such as cognitive abilities and perhaps also disease proclivities. Philosophers interested in biological aspects of race tend to focus on two issues: concepts of race and the metaphysics of race. The metaphysics of race involves debates among three kinds of attitudes towards the reality of race, at three possible operational levels: realism, anti-realism, and conventionalism, about biogenomic, biological, and social race. The biogenomic racial realist concedes that human sub-populations should be admitted as legitimate biological entities. This realist believes that biogenomic races correspond, at least sometimes, to socially entrenched categories of, for example, racial, national, or ethnic designation.