Saturday, April 02, 2016

The "Social Construction" Fallacy: Wireless Philosophy's "Race and Racist Institutions"

   This video is actually pretty good in a couple of ways, including the initial thought-experiment...though that thought-experiment actually needs to be clarified a bit if it's going to elicit the preferred conclusion...
   Anyway, the historical stuff is fine...but the video does claim to have a kind of conclusion--specifically, it aims to resolve a certain alleged puzzle: if race isn't real, how can it have such pronounced effects? This isn't really a puzzle. First, races are real; so no problem. And incidentally: ideas can have profound effects on people even if their object is not real. It's a problem for people on the intellectual left, because they desperately want race to be unreal...but so many people on the intellectual left have built their entire careers on studying race that they don't want to be left, as it were, with nothing to talk and write about... That, in addition to the strong preference on the left for social explanations, has caused the them to be deeply and passionately invested in social constructionism. Rather than the obvious answer(s), the intellectual left prefers: race is not "biologically real," but it is socially constructed, therefore "socially real," therefore real, therefore it can have the consequences it has.  At any rate, though Mendieta deviates from orthodoxy (he says race isn't real), he still manages to slip in a flaming non sequitur just after the 6:00 mark that undermines his claim to resolve the alleged-but-fictional puzzle... I'll leave identification of it as an exercise for the reader/viewer...


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