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Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2017 Oct;65:9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.shpsc.2017.07.001. Epub 2017 Jul 10.

Logical empiricists on race.

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Department of Philosophy, Baker Hall 161, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890, USA; Department of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, Lakatos Building, United Kingdom. Electronic address:


The logical empiricists expressed a consistent attitude to racial categorisation in both the ethical and scientific spheres. Their attitude may be captured in the following slogan: human racial taxonomy is an empirically meaningful mode of classifying persons that we should refrain from deploying. I offer an interpretation of their position that would render coherent their remarks on race with positions they adopted on the scientific status of taxonomy in general, together with their potential moral or political motivations for adopting that position.


Anti-fascism; Biology; Human racial taxonomy; Logical empiricists; Philosophy of race

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