Do We Need a Device to Acquire Ethnic Concepts?

Philosophy of Science 80 (5):994-1005 (2013)
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Francisco Gil-White argues that the ubiquity of racialism—the view that so-called races have biological essences—can be explained as a by-product of a shared mental module dedicated to ethnic cognition. Gil-White’s theory has been endorsed, with some revisions, by Edouard Machery and Luc Faucher. In this skeptical response I argue that our developmental environments contain a wealth, rather than a poverty of racialist stimulus, rendering a nativist explanation of racialism redundant. I also argue that we should not theorize racialism in isolation from racism, as value judgments may play a role in essentialist thinking about the ‘other’
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First archival date: 2013-09-27
Latest version: 2 (2016-01-22)
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How Biological is Essentialism.Gelman, Susan A. & Hirschfeld, Lawrence A.
Social Construction and the Concept of Race.Machery, Edouard & Faucher, Luc

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