restricted access Does “Race” Have a Future or Should the Future Have “Races”?: Reconstruction or Eliminativism in a Pragmatist Philosophy of Race

Phillip Kitcher, author of Preludes to Pragmatism, argues in chapter six, “Does ‘Race’ Have a Future” that developments in evolutionary biology may support a separation of our species into subcategories that could be regarded as races. This article begins with a presentation of Kitcher’s account of race as biologically real, and socially constructed. From there it moves on to a consideration of racial eliminativism. An important aspect of the view Kitcher argues for is the claim that pragmatism may be incompatible with racial eliminativism. The article ends with a critical evaluation of Kitcher’s proposed biological conception of race. It is argued that pragmatist considerations notwithstanding there are reasons to doubt that divisions of humanity into subspecies constitute races, or that such divisions will track the historical and cultural divisions people find salient.