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Social construction and the concept of race

Machery, E and Faucher, L (2005) Social construction and the concept of race. Philosophy of Science, 72 (5). 1208 - 1219. ISSN 0031-8248

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There has been little serious work to integrate the constructionist approach and the cognitive/evolutionary approach in the domain of race, although many researchers have paid lip service to this project. We believe that any satisfactory account of human beings' racialist cognition has to integrate both approaches. In this paper, we propose to move toward this integration. We present an evolutionary hypothesis that rests on a distinction between three kinds of groups - kin-based groups, small scale coalitions, and ethnies. Following Gil-White (1999, 2001a, 2001b), we propose that ethnies have raised specific evolutionary challenges that were solved by an evolved cognitive system. We suggest that the concept of race is a byproduct of this mechanism. We argue that recent theories of cultural transmission are our best hope for integrating social constructionists' and cognitive/evolutionary theorists' insights. Copyright 2005 by the Philosophy of Science Association. All rights reserved.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Machery, Emachery@pitt.eduMACHERY
Faucher, L
Date: 1 December 2005
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Science
Volume: 72
Number: 5
Page Range: 1208 - 1219
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1086/508966
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0031-8248
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2013 19:25
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 15:59


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