Key Ballroom 04 Hybrid Presentation
11 Nov 2021 08:30 AM - 10:00 AM(America/New_York)
20211111T0830 20211111T1000 America/New_York Minorities and Philosophy (MAP)

Topic: Race and Racial Justice

MAP's mission is to address structural injustices in academic philosophy and to remove

barriers that impede participation in academic philosophy for members of marginalized groups. In

this symposium, we are proud to present the work of three early-career philosophers on the

intersection of race, racial justice, and scientific practices. Speakers will reveal the critical roles that

race and racial justice play in biology, medicine, and environmental science, from the perspectives of

metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Ian Peebles poses the following question: when is it morally

permissible to use a biological racial classification (BRC) in medicine in such a way that aligns with

racial justice? Using a virtue ethics framework, Peebles introduces three constraints for the

permissible use of BRC in medicine, while withholding any metaphysical commitment to the reality

of these classifications. Celso Neto will present arguments from inductive risk to challenge a version

of biological race realism. Because socio-political values inevitably influence claims about kinds,

Neto contends, potentially harmful consequences of biological race realism must be addressed by

proponents of this view. Finally, Jesi Taylor Cruz draws our attention to the high concentration of

pollutants and biohazards in U.S. carceral environments such as jails, prisons, and detention centers.

Using the New York City carceral archipelago as a case study, Cruz will examine the complex

relationships among climate science, public health, and chronic disenfranchisement to shed light on

the role of environmental racism in the project of state-building.

Key Ballroom 04 PSA 2020/2021 office@philsci.org

Topic: Race and Racial Justice


MAP's mission is to address structural injustices in academic philosophy and to remove

barriers that impede participation in academic philosophy for members of marginalized groups. In

this symposium, we are proud to present the work of three early-career philosophers on the

intersection of race, racial justice, and scientific practices. Speakers will reveal the critical roles that

race and racial justice play in biology, medicine, and environmental science, from the perspectives of

metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Ian Peebles poses the following question: when is it morally

permissible to use a biological racial classification (BRC) in medicine in such a way that aligns with

racial justice? Using a virtue ethics framework, Peebles introduces three constraints for the

permissible use of BRC in medicine, while withholding any metaphysical commitment to the reality

of these classifications. Celso Neto will present arguments from inductive risk to challenge a version

of biological race realism. Because socio-political values inevitably influence claims about kinds,

Neto contends, potentially harmful consequences of biological race realism must be addressed by

proponents of this view. Finally, Jesi Taylor Cruz draws our attention to the high concentration of

pollutants and biohazards in U.S. carceral environments such as jails, prisons, and detention centers.

Using the New York City carceral archipelago as a case study, Cruz will examine the complex

relationships among climate science, public health, and chronic disenfranchisement to shed light on

the role of environmental racism in the project of state-building.

To race or not to race: when (if ever) is it morally permissible to use a biological racial classification in medicine?
Cognate Society Session 08:30 AM - 10:00 AM (America/New_York) 2021/11/11 13:30:00 UTC - 2021/11/11 15:00:00 UTC

The use of biological racial classifications (BRC) in medicine has historically been

implicated in a variety of moral and social ills. But there is growing data in medical research that

suggests that certain BRC may aid in the promotion of social and epistemic goods. Given the

potential tradeoffs, when (if ever) is it morally permissible to use BRC in medicine? Using a virtue ethics

framework, I introduce three constraints for the permissible use of BRC. I argue that in the set of

medical contexts c in which (i) when applicable, social determinants of health have been sufficiently

considered and intervened upon, (ii) there are no alternative constructs to BRC to adequately fulfill

the aims sought in c, and (iii) the use of BRC in c does not violate the relevant norms constraining

medical practice and research more generally, then it may be morally permissible to use BRC.

Ultimately, I aim to promote racial justice in healthcare by considering how BRC could be used to

reduce racial disparities in health in a morally unproblematic manner, while withholding any

metaphysical commitment to the reality of these classifications.

Presenters
IP
Ian Peebles
University Of Pennsylvania
The Metaphysics of Race meets Inductive Risk: Issues for the New Deflationary Biological Race Realism
Cognate Society Session 08:30 AM - 10:00 AM (America/New_York) 2021/11/11 13:30:00 UTC - 2021/11/11 15:00:00 UTC

Genetic studies on population structure motivate a new version of biological race realism

in the philosophy of science (Spencer 2012; 2019). According to this view, folk racial terms – such as

“Black” or “Asian” – frequently refer to legitimate kinds in biology. In this paper, I raise issues for

the new biological race realism by considering the indirect role of non-epistemic values in the

legitimacy of racial kinds. I argue that once one recognizes this role of non-epistemic values, one

realizes that the plausibility of the new biological race realism depends on a careful assessment of

our present socio-political context. First, I discuss Heather Douglas’ concept of inductive risk (2000)

and how it applies to questions about the legitimacy of those kinds. Inductive risk suggests that this

legitimacy depends on evaluating possible socio-political consequences of mistakenly accepting or

rejecting kind classifications. Second, I discuss some of the potential consequences of accepting or

rejecting the biological classification of racial kinds. For instance, studies show that using racial

terms in biological contexts or stating sentences such as “X is a biological race” often leads people

to think and accept the view that racial divisions are important, biologically fundamental, and

necessary aspects of reality (Donovan 2014, 2016, 2017; Heine 2017). These and other harmful

consequences should be considered before reviving the biological reality of races. As a result, even if

based on reputable science, this view might be more problematic than one thinks.

Presenters
CN
Celso Neto
University Of Calgary
Carceral Wastelands: On Waste Inequity and Mass Incarceration in the US
Cognate Society Session 08:30 AM - 10:00 AM (America/New_York) 2021/11/11 13:30:00 UTC - 2021/11/11 15:00:00 UTC

Jails, prisons, and other detention centers in the United States are built environments

plagued by high amounts of toxicity. Further, pollutants and biohazards like toxic mold, raw sewage,

disease-ridden pests, and poisonous methane gas have been surprisingly common markers of

carceral environments for many years. In fact, there is a long history of structural violence and

environmental racism disproportionately impacting chronically disenfranchised—and primarily

Black—communities both inside and outside the walls of the prison system, highlighting decades of

toxic material conditions made possible by racist public planning. This presentation examines the

complex relationship between climate science, public health, and chronic disenfranchisement in an

effort to shed light on the role of environmental racism in the project of state-building. Ultimately, I

offer an account of, what I refer to as, the U. S. carceral wasteland. Though I center the New York

City carceral archipelago—Rikers Island, Roosevelt Island, Hart Island, Governors Island, and

Randalls and Wards Island—in the carceral wasteland narrative, I attempt to 1) bridge theoretical

gaps between climate science, political philosophy, and critical race theory in order to 2) argue that

social justice initiatives must center environmental issues and abolition.

Presenters
JC
Jesi Cruz
University of Pennsylvania
University of Calgary

Notes

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