A Theory of Race by Joshua Glasgow

By Joshua Glasgow

Social commentators have lengthy requested even if racial different types can be conserved or eradicated from our practices, discourse, associations, and maybe even deepest suggestions. In A concept of Race,В Joshua Glasgow argues that this set of selections unnecessarily provides us with too few options.

Using either conventional philosophical instruments and up to date mental learn to enquire folks understandings of race, Glasgow argues that, as in general conceived, race is an phantasm. despite the fact that, our urgent have to converse to and make experience of social lifestyles calls for that we hire whatever like racial discourse. those competing pressures, Glasgow continues, finally require us to prevent conceptualizing race as anything organic, and as a substitute know it as a wholly social phenomenon.

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We can say that twin Americans and Americans mean different things by ‘race’ and as such are simply talking past each other when they use terms like ‘race,’ or we can say that they share a concept of race, and disagree, in conception, about whether races are pure. Again, I submit that the second interpretation is much more intuitive. I believe these two results are generalizable: for any of the thicker proposed analyses of RACE catalogued at the start of this chapter, and for any other similarly thick analysis of RACE, each will require us to render an interpretation of a suitably tailored Racial Twin Earth case in which we would have to say, implausibly, that twin Americans (who deny the thicker part of the proposal) and Americans (who endorse it) are simply talking past each other rather than disagreeing.

The concept/conception distinction, then, is important not least because it makes sense of disagreement. If Rawls was using a different concept of justice, he wouldn’t have been disagreeing with the utilitarians. He would have been talking right past them, using the same word, ‘justice,’ to theorize about something other than justice. ’ But he was, in point of fact, disagreeing with utilitarians. He was not simply talking past them. The way to make sense of this is to say that, first, 24 Thinning Out the Concept of Race they shared a concept of justice, but, second, they had different conceptions, or theories, of justice.

Finally, the mismatch phenomenon threatens to blind us to and maintain an ethically and politically problematic status quo. If we use a concept of race in our theories that doesn’t match the folk concept of race, we might end up with a theory of race that cannot address particular unjust or immoral race-conscious practices. For instance, if we privileged a concept of race that was mismatched insofar as it posited no Asian race (see Chapter 5), we might not have the conceptual resources to confront anti-Asian racism, and thus our political and moral attention to social racial issues might be problematically misdirected.

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