By Joshua Glasgow

Social commentators have lengthy requested even if racial different types might be conserved or eradicated from our practices, discourse, associations, and maybe even inner most strategies. In A concept of Race, Joshua Glasgow argues that this set of decisions 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 quite often conceived, race is an phantasm. even though, our urgent have to communicate to and make experience of social existence calls for that we hire whatever like racial discourse. those competing pressures, Glasgow keeps, eventually require us to forestall conceptualizing race as anything organic, and in its place comprehend it as a wholly social phenomenon.

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4 by tying up some loose ends. 1 Concepts and Conceptions, Meanings and Theories To get a handle on the concept of race, it might be ideal if we had a fleshed-out theory of what a concept is. But conveniently, as it turns out, we won’t need a robust theory of concepts. What we need, in order to decide whether thinner or thicker definitions of ‘race’ are the right ones, is something more modest: a distinction between concepts and conceptions, or, somewhat differently, between meanings and theories.

It hardly needs mentioning that some of those people cited above do not endorse the ontological claim that ‘race,’ understood in their thick senses, refers to anything real (although Outlaw, for one, is a realist). Indeed, the purpose of many thick analyses is to be used as premises in arguments against the reality of race. So in and of themselves, these accounts are only meant to be ontologically uncommitted analyses of the ordinary concept of race. This chapter’s question is similarly limited: Which analysis of the folk concept of race is correct, or, at least, which is closest to the correct analysis?

In this regard, contrast the thin account with this analysis: “ ‘Race’ means a . . set of physical categories that can be used consistently and informatively to describe, explain, and make predictions about groups of human beings and individual members of those groups” (Zack 2002, 1). By now you will have anticipated that I think that, as a statement of meaning, this definition is too thick: it would incorrectly require us to deny that those who think race has no explanatory or predictive power are disagreeing with those who think it does.

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