Do we need a device to acquire ethnic concepts?

Adam Hochman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


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'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)994-1005
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2013 by University of Chicago Press. Originally published in 'Philosophy of science'


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