Prisoners of Abstraction? The Theory and Measure of Genetic Variation, and the Very Concept of “Race”

  title={Prisoners of Abstraction? The Theory and Measure of Genetic Variation, and the Very Concept of “Race”},
  author={Jonathan Michael Kaplan and Rasmus Gr{\o}nfeldt Winther},
  journal={Biological Theory},
It is illegitimate to read any ontology about “race” off of biological theory or data. Indeed, the technical meaning of “genetic variation” is fluid, and there is no single theoretical agreed-upon criterion for defining and distinguishing populations given a particular set of genetic variation data. By analyzing three formal senses of “genetic variation,” viz., diversity, differentiation, and heterozygosity, we argue that the use of biological theory for making claims about race inevitably… 
Biological Theory and the Metaphysics of Race: A Reply to Kaplan and Winther
In Kaplan and Winther’s recent article (Biol Theory. doi:10.1007/s13752-012-0048-0, 2012) they argue for three bold theses: first, that “it is illegitimate to read any ontology about ‘race’ off of
Philosophy of race meets population genetics.
  • Quayshawn Spencer
  • Philosophy
    Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences
  • 2015
Realism, Antirealism, and Conventionalism about Race
This paper distinguishes three concepts of “race”: bio-genomic cluster/race, biological race, and social race. We map out realism, antirealism, and conventionalism about each of these, in three
Philosophy of Race Versus Population Genetics: Round 3
It is argued that new genetic data adequately demonstrate that statistically significantly differentiated human subgroups (aka biological races) do exist and that the analytical methods used to reconstruct the history of these human clusters are themselves, in part, social constructs.
In defense of the metaphysics of race
In this paper I defend the metaphysics of race as a valuable philosophical project against deflationism about race. The deflationists argue that metaphysical debate about the reality of race amounts
Innateness in the Sciences: Separating Nature, Nurture, and Nativism
Title of dissertation: INNATENESS IN THE SCIENCES: SEPARATING NATURE, NURTURE, AND NATIVISM Mark Engelbert, Doctor of Philosophy, 2015 Dissertation directed by: Professor Georges Rey Department of
Against the New Metaphysics of Race
The aim of this article is to develop an argument against metaphysical debates about the existence of human races. I argue that the ontology of race is underdetermined by both empirical and
On the Different Ways of “Doing Theory” in Biology
A number of aspects of what it means to do theoretical biology are surveyed, and how they compare with the allegedly much more restricted sense of theory in the physical sciences are surveyed.
Race: Deflate or pop?
  • Adam Hochman
  • Philosophy
    Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences
  • 2016


The Apportionment of Human Diversity
It has always been obvious that organisms vary, even to those pre-Darwinian idealists who saw most individual variation as distorted shadows of an ideal. It has been equally apparent, even to those
"But What Are You Really?": The Metaphysics of Race
of key claims There are a variety of possible views about the metaphysical status of racial assignments, which roughly parallel the variety of meta-ethical views in the literature. Most people are
Not in Our Genes. Biology, Ideology and Human Nature. Harmondsworth (Penguin) 1984.
Genes systematically exposes and dismantles the claims that inequalities class, race, gender are the products of biological, genetic inheritances. 'Informative, entertaining, lucid, forceful,
Race: Biological Reality or Social Construct?
Race was once thought to be a real biological kind. Today the dominant view is that objective biological races don't exist. I challenge the trend to reject the biological reality of race by arguing
Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race
In America today, the problem of achieving racial justice - whether through "colour-blind" policies or through affirmative action - provokes more noisy name-calling than fruitful deliberation. In
Does ‘Race’ Have a Future?
There are simple and powerful arguments against the biological reality of race. Although the phenotypic characteristics, the manifest features that have traditionally been used to divide our species
Human genetic diversity: Lewontin's fallacy.
  • A. W. Edwards
  • Biology
    BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology
  • 2003
It has been proposed that the division of Homo sapiens into these groups is not justified by the genetic data, because most of the information that distinguishes populations is hidden in the correlation structure of the data and not simply in the variation of the individual factors.
‘Race’: What Biology Can Tell Us about a Social Construct
Although there exist human populations that differ in the proportions of particular alleles present, this fact does not support claims that ‘race’, as it is usually understood, is a biological rather
The Cladistic Race Concept: A Defense
Many contemporary race scholars reject the biological reality of race, but it is argued that they have been too quick to do so and the possibility that races can be defined cladistically is overlooked.
Why race still matters
Daedalus Winter 2005 Why has race mattered in so many times and places? Why does it still matter? Put more precisely, why has there been such a pervasive tendency to apply the category of race and to