On Race and Racism


in The Ideal of a Rational Morality

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780198250210
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681264 | DOI:
On Race and Racism

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One may wonder whether there is anything more to be said about racism except to deplore it, or anything more to be done about it except to eradicate it. And the answer immediately presents itself: yes, we can understand it. Marx, to the contrary, argued that the task of philosophy is not to change the world but to understand it. There is always change. Understanding is the precondition of intelligent change. This chapter does not present a general theory, as would be required for an adequate understanding; only some thoughts on the matter, on the way to understanding. It considers the views of the following on race: George E. Boxall, Jacques Barzun, Ashley Montagu, Ruth Benedict, and Robert Ardrey.

Keywords: race; racism; George E. Boxall; Jacques Barzun; Ashley Montagu; Ruth Benedict; Montesquieu; Robert Ardrey

Chapter.  14076 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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