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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 37, 2012

Michael O. Hardimon
Pages 249-282
DOI: 10.5840/jpr20123713

The Idea of a Scientific Concept of Race

This article challenges the orthodox view that there is and can be no scientifically valid concept of race applicable to human beings by presenting a candidate scientific concept of biological race. The populationist concept of race (PRC) specifies that a “race” is a subdivision of Homo sapiens—a group of populations that exhibits a distinctive pattern of genetically transmitted phenotypic characters and that belongs to an endogamous biological lineage initiated by a geographically separated and reproductively isolated founding population. The viability of the PRC is shown by demonstrating its capacity to withstand a wide range of objections. A common theme is that the objections turn on misconceptions of the idea of a scientific concept of race. The final section argues that the PRC will not foster racism.