Race : A Philosophical Introduction

4 (37 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
Free delivery worldwide Expected delivery to the United States in 8-11 business days.
Not ordering to the United States? Click here.
Order now for expected delivery to the United States by Christmas Order now for expected delivery to the United States by Christmas


The third edition of Race: A Philosophical Introduction continues to provide the definitive guide to a topic of major contemporary importance. In this thoroughly updated and revised volume, Paul Taylor outlines the main features and implications of race-thinking, while engaging the ideas of important figures such as Linda Alcoff, K. Anthony Appiah, W. E. B. Du Bois, Michel Foucault and Sally Haslanger. The result is a comprehensive but accessible introduction to philosophical race theory and to a non-biological and situational notion of race, which blends metaphysics and social epistemology, aesthetics, analytic philosophy and pragmatic philosophy of experience.

Taylor approaches the key questions in philosophy of race: What is race-thinking? Don't we know better than to talk about race now? Are there any races? What is it like to have a racial identity? And how important, ethically, is color blindness? On the way to answering these questions, he takes up topics such as mixed-race identity, white supremacy, the relationship between the race concept and other social identity categories, and the impact of race-thinking on our erotic and romantic lives. The concluding section explores the racially fraught issues of policing, immigration, and global justice, and the implications of the political upheavals of the past decade, from the election of Donald Trump to the global upsurge in anti-immigrant populism.

Updated throughout, Race remains a vital resource for the educated general reader as well as for students and scholars of ethnic studies, philosophy, sociology, and related fields.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • 159 x 236 x 21mm | 548g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 3rd Edition
  • 1509532897
  • 9781509532896

Table of contents

Preface to the Third Edition



1. The Language of Race

Prologue - Black Power Mixup

1.1. Race-talk and the invitation to philosophy

1.2 Setting the context

1.3. Taking race seriously

1.4. Words vs. things

1.5. What do you mean, "we"?

1.6. What race-talk does

Bodies (appearance)

Bloodlines (ancestry)

Assigning generic meaning

1.7. Modern racialism

1.8. Politics and method

Politics and context

Systems and structures

Process and power

1.9 Conclusion

2. Unnatural Histories

Prologue - When were Mona's dumplings?

2.1. Introduction

2.2. The pre-modern background

2.3. Early modern racialism

Table 2.1. The (early) stages of modern racialism, 1492-1923

2.4. High modern interpretations of race

2.5. High modern racial structures

The racial state

Consolidating whiteness

2.6. Classical racialism vs. critical racialism

2.7. Late-modern racialism

Table 2.2. The stages of modern racialism, continued, 1923-2021

On the meaning of civil rights

Transition: The Moynihan Report

2.8. Post-modern racialism

2.9. Conclusion

3. Three Challenges to Race-Thinking

Prologue - Not Black Black; or, The Wobbly, The Rasta, and the Ex-White Man

3.1 Introduction

3.2. Isn't race-thinking unethical?

3.3. What racism is

3.4. Isn't racial biology false?

3.4.1 The first problem - splitting and discreteness

3.4.2. The second problem - lumping and clusters

3.4.3. The third problem - against inheritance

3.5. Isn't the race concept just in the way?

3.5.1 Ethnicity

3.5.2 Nation

3.5.3 Class

3.5.4 Caste

3.5.5 Sex/gender

3.6. Mergers and injunctions

3.7 Conclusion

4. What Races Are: Twenty Questions about Racial Metaphysics

Prologue - Race Is, Race Ain't

4.1. Introduction

4.2. Subjects and objects, concepts and conceptions

4.3. Patterns and proposals, Cornish and criticism

4.4. Language and reality, irony and asterisks

4.5. Cost and benefit, culture and nature

4.6. Conclusion

5. Ethics, Existence, Experience

Prologue - Pure; or, The Fourth Life of Mona Rogers

5.1. Introduction: Who has believed our report

5.2. Ethical eliminativism (the anti-racist challenge, continued)

The slippery slope and the argument from political realism

The argument from self-realization

5.3. Existence, identity, and despair

The basics

Despair and doubt, joy and pain

Double consciousness


5.4. Beyond the black-white binary

Latinx peoples, outsider racialization, and the gendered substratum

Asian peoples and model minority racialization

Native Americans and savagism

Arabs, Muslims, and the terrorist panic

5.5 Experience, invisibility, and embodiment

The basics

Invisibility and the other mind-body problem

From the ontic to the ontological

5.6 Conclusion

6. The Color Question

Prologue - Keanu and the Promotion; or, good job, good teeth

6.1 Introduction

6.2. The ethics of endogamy

6.3. Choices in context

6.4. Weighing some arguments for endogamy

6.5. Self-criticism and social criticism

6.6. Culture, privacy, and policy

6.7. Color and culture

6.8. Affirmative action: background and arguments

6.9. Affirmative action: suspect classifications

6.10. Conclusion

7. A funny thing happened on the way to post-racialism

Prologue - What's What We'll See; or, Nine-Inch Knives and Six-Inch Stimuli

7.1. La Regle du Jeu (The Rules of the Game)

7.2. On post-racialism

7.3. What the Obamas meant

7.4. The nexus of immigration and race

7.5. Immigration enforcement as a racial problem

7.6. Immigration politics as a racial project

7.7. Globalization

7.8. Securitization

7.9. Conclusion: post-post-racialism and the first white president

Further Reading


show more

About Paul C. Taylor

Paul C. Taylor is W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.
show more

Rating details

37 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 27% (10)
4 49% (18)
3 22% (8)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X