Abstract

This paper examines the claim that human variation reflects the existence of biologically real human races. It analyzes various concepts of race, including conceptions of race as a breeding population, continental cluster and ancestral line of descent, or clade. It argues that race functions, in contemporary human population genetics, more like a convenient instrumental concept than biological category for picking out subspecific evolutionary kinds. It shows that the rise of genomics most likely provided opponents of the biological reality of human races with at least as much ammunition as that of their counterparts the race realists. The paper also suggests that the roots of the current epistemic landscape of the debate can be traced back to Darwin's essay on The Descent of Man.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9274
Print ISSN
1063-6145
Pages
pp. 361-390
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-02
Open Access
No
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