Northwestern Events Calendar

Apr
8
2022

Northwestern University Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series - Professor Kareem Khalifa

When: Friday, April 8, 2022
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Central

Where: Kresge Hall, 1515, 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Emily Berry   (847) 491-3656

Group: Philosophy Colloquium Series

Category: Academic

Description:

Is Race Like Phlogiston? 

Abstract:  Should we take race’s role in empirically successful social science as a guide to its ontology? Such a strategy has underappreciated prospects and raises interesting problems. Specifically, for realists about race, turning to the social sciences makes their position easier to defend from many objections raised in the philosophy of race, while also raising new challenges that are more familiar to philosophers of science. Realism about race becomes easier to defend because race terms can be treated as elements in accurate (social-)scientific representations, and scientific standards of accuracy and precision are more accommodating than philosophical ones. On the other hand, race terms' role in empirically successful social science mirrors that of several discredited posits in the natural sciences. I conclude with some proposals for how realists about race can navigate this tradeoff. The upshot is that tenable forms of realism about race will be far more circumscribed than most philosophers of race—particularly social constructionists—have supposed. 

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