"A Metaphysical Mapping Problem for Race Theorists and Human Population Geneticists"
In this talk, I identify and clarify a metaphysical mapping phenomenon that’s almost twenty years old. The phenomenon is that the populations at a fivefold subdivision of humans into biological populations—the so-called human continental populations—correspond one-to-one with the five official races of the Office of Management and Budget in the US government. This phenomenon has raised the interesting philosophical question of what exactly is the metaphysical relation being exemplified by this particular mapping. Metaphysicians of race have offered multiple different theories. Most importantly, Levin’s view is that it’s co-exemplification of a certain kind of biological population, Ásta has argued that it’s a function of tracking, Hardimon has argued that it’s co-exemplification of minimalist race, and Taylor’s view is that the relation is (at best) co-extension. However, in this paper, I argue that the metaphysical relation that’s exemplified by this mapping is identity. After presenting and defending the identity thesis, I explore interesting implications of the identity thesis for metaphysicians of race and NIH-funded medical scientists.