Saturday, April 9, 2011

Error Theory?

In Charles Mills' book, Blackness Visible, he identifies several different metaphysics of race. He places these theories under two different categories of thought, objectivist and anti-objectivist. The objectivists believe that things exist independent of human experience or knowledge of them; the anti-objectivists believe the opposite. One of the theories Mills places under anti-objectivism is error theory. Error theory grants no truth or realness to anything that has no scientific basis. To me this sounds a lot like it should fall under the objectivist camp. Science is objective in the sense that things we hold to be scientific facts are true regardless of individual human beliefs about them. As Dr. J said in class it is as if the error theorist is a racial realist who believes race doesn't exist. Racial realists say that race exists, whether or not we recognize it does, as racial essences or natural kinds; the error theorist would say that race does not exist, even if we think it does. Its seems that the distinction Mills made between objectivists and anti-objectivists is also a distinction he wants to make between those that believe race exists and those that don't. I think it weakens the elliminativist's position to say that those who believe race doesn't exist believe in a sort of subjectivism. There are surely a great number of eliminativists who believe race to be something that doesn't exits objectively, but Mills doesn't recognize this, at least in his metaphysics of race. To me, at least, basing beliefs in scientific facts is objective.

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