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EGENIS seminar: "The Risk of Biological Race Realism", Dr Celso Neto (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series

Biological race realism (hereafter BRR) is the view that humans form biologically distinct groups. Non-racist versions of BRR have emerged recently based on sophisticated and reputable work in science and philosophy (Hardimon 2003; 2017; Spencer 2012; 2014; 2019a). In this chapter, I examine Quayshawn Spencer’s new version of BRR and argue that it fails to consider how social, political, and moral values influence the metaphysics of race. To do so, I rely on the “science and values” literature and the notions of inductive, epistemic, and ethical risk (Douglas 2000; Douglas 2009; Brown 2015; Biddle and Kukla 2017; Elliot and Richards 2017). Once one realizes the complex relationship between these types of risks and BRR, Spencer’s sophisticated metaphysical arguments become less appealing than one might think. Furthermore, broad questions arise concerning how socially responsible metaphysics should be done.

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