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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



About the Author

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


"Nearly twenty years after its first publication, this book remains the gold standard in the field. This welcome new edition updates its treatment to keep up with the dramatic developments of recent years, above all the shift from the supposed advent of a post-racial United States, symbolized by the Obama presidency, to the unabashed invocation by Donald Trump of a white-supremacist past that had never really gone away."
Charles Mills, CUNY

"Race: A Philosophical Introduction has proven itself time and time again to be the best introductory text on philosophy of race, with each new edition confirming this status. This third edition proves its worth with updated points of reference, reshaped arguments, and structural re-organization. The result is yet another original and incisive text that will benefit students and challenge scholars."
Chike Jeffers, Dalhousie University

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