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Modern Religion, Modern Race$
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Theodore Vial

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190212551

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190212551.001.0001

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Kant and Race

Kant and Race

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 Kant and Race
Source:
Modern Religion, Modern Race
Author(s):

Theodore Vial

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190212551.003.0002

Kant has been credited with “inventing” the concept of race. This chapter enters into the debates about whether or not Kant’s views on race are separable from his critical philosophy. It argues that Kant’s racial theories are tied to his philosophy, but in ways that have not been accurately or adequately described in the secondary literature. Race, for Kant, is a privileged example of the need for teleology in order to do science and history. The mass of data must be organized under a framework of progress toward some historical endpoint. While Kant’s race theories are now discredited, the modern world continues to rest on this teleological assumption, and so continues to make hierarchical distinctions in ways that closely resemble Kant’s.

Keywords:   Kant, race, teleology, Robert Bernasconi, definition of race, theory of race, invention of race, genealogy of race, race and biology, social construction of race

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