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Department Colloquium

Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers University)
Friday, November 10, 2023
3:00-5:00 PM
2306 Mason Hall Map
Title: Social Relationalism and the Problem of Grid Collision

Abstract: The problem of grid collision is the problem of saying what social status someone has when they are classified in different ways by different schemes. Suppose that Sam is Black by US standards but White by Brazilian standards. What is Sam’s race? We need to avoid the conclusion that they are both Black (since the US view is not in error) and not Black (since the Brazilian view is not in error either), and in general we need a consistent way to assign social statuses when grids collide. Enter the social relationalist. Social relationalism is the view that social statuses are not simple monadic properties but rather dyadic relations to social rules. For the social relationalist, there is no simple monadic property of being Black (/White) for Sam to have. Rather Sam is a person who is both racialized as Black relative to the US one drop rule, and also racialized as White relative to Brazilian appearance-based rules. These are consistent relational statuses. More generally—the social relationalist concludes—we are all persons who are racialized, gendered, and otherwise classified in various ways only relative to various grids.
Building: Mason Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Philosophy
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Department of Philosophy