“Cognitive/Evolutionary Psychology and the History of Racism”

The April 2017 issue of Philosophy of Science includes an article that may be of interest to AHP readers. John Jackson Jr. (left) tackles the history racism within the context of cognitive and evolutionary psychology. Full details below.

“Cognitive/Evolutionary Psychology and the History of Racism,” by John P. Jackson Jr. The abstract reads,

Philosophical defenses of cognitive/evolutionary psychological accounts of racialism claim that classification based on phenotypical features of humans was common historically and is evidence for a species-typical, cognitive mechanism for essentializing. They conclude that social constructionist accounts of racialism must be supplemented by cognitive/evolutionary psychology. This article argues that phenotypical classifications were uncommon historically until such classifications were socially constructed. Moreover, some philosophers equivocate between two different meanings of “racial thinking.” The article concludes that social constructionist accounts are far more robust than psychological accounts for the origins of racialism.

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About Jacy Young

Jacy Young recently completed a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Surrey in the UK. She earned her doctorate in the History and Theory of Psychology at York University in 2014.

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