Cross-cultural Research, Evolutionary Psychology, and Racialism: Problems and Prospects

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
This essay is a defense of the social construction of racialism. I follow a standard definition of “racialism” which is the belief that “there are heritable characteristics, possessed by members of our species, that allow us to divide them into a small set of races, in such a way that all the members of these races share certain traits and tendencies with each other that they do not share with other members of any other race”. In particular I want to defend the “radical” social-constructive thesis that holds “the concept of race is exclusively the product of historical and cultural causes. It claims that humans do not tend to classify people into races when groups with different phenotypes meet, save for particular historical circumstances”. The quoted position is the consensus view among historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and other social scientists who study racialism but has recently been criticized by philosophical defenders of cognitive/evolutionary psychological approaches to racialism. Drawing on developmental studies as well as historical and contemporary cross-cultural research, CEP philosophers point to similarities of racialism across time and space. They hold that social constructionist approaches to racialism cannot explain these similarities. I hold that SC approaches do explain these similarities and that such similarities actually pose a significant challenge to the proposed CEP research program on racialism.
(categorize this paper)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2018-05-04
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
The Weirdest People in the World?Henrich, Joseph; Heine, Steven J. & Norenzayan, Ara
How Biological is Essentialism.Gelman, Susan A. & Hirschfeld, Lawrence A.
Innateness as Closed Process Invariance.Mallon, Ron & Weinberg, Jonathan M.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
86 ( #30,626 of 44,421 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
32 ( #22,787 of 44,421 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.