anti-eliminativism - 1. the theory that the concept of race should not be eliminated from our thinking about personal or social identity, or from our discourse, social policy, public documents, etc. It may be expressed as conservationism (retentionism) or reconstructionism.
anti-objectivism - 1. the theory that race is not an objective biological or social category. Anti-objectivist positions include subjectivism (the theory that all racial categories are subjectively, rather than objectively defined) and relativism (the theory that all racial categories are relative to a particular society, culture, or time in history).
anti-realism - 1. the theory that race is not a real biological or social category.
conservationism (retentionism or preservationism) - 1. the theory that the concept of race should be conserved (retained or preserved), rather than eliminated.
deflationary realism - 1. a minimalist, social constructivist, nonracialist theory of race, according to which race is seen as a real social, but not fundamentally biological category.1
eliminativism - 1. the theory that the concept of race is false and misleading, and that it should be eliminated from our thinking about personal and social identity, as well as from our discourse, social policy, public documents, etc.
essentialism - 1. the theory that racial categories are defined by certain essential (physical, behavioral, and sociocultural) features, and that all members of a particular category possess those defining features.
geographical minimalism - 1. the theory that races are defined by various physical characteristics that correspond merely to differences in geographical ancestry.
objectivism - 1. the theory that race is an objective biological or social category. 2. the theory or assumption that race can be objectively determined or evaluated.
populationism - 1. as defined by Michael O. Hardimon (2017), "a nonracialist (nonessentialist, nonhierarchical) candidate scientific concept that characterizes races as groups of populations belonging to biological lines of descent, distinguished by patterns of phenotypic differences, that trace back to geographically separated and extrinsically reproductively isolated founding populations.”2
racialism - 1. the theory that races have essential characteristics, that they are distinguished by certain biological and social differences, and that they're also defined by ancestry and geographical origins. 2. the racist theory that races are distinguished by different physical and mental capabilities, different sets of skills and levels of intelligence, and different social and cultural behaviors, according to which they may be regarded as superior or inferior. Racialism may thus be closely associated with racism.3
realism - 1. the theory that race is a real biological or social category. Realist positions include conservationism and retentionism. However, social realism (the theory that race is a real social category) doesn't necessarily entail biological realism (the theory that race is a real biological category). Indeed, social realism may be associated with biological anti-realism (the theory that race is not a real biological category).
reconstructionism - 1. as defined by Joshua Glasgow (2009), is a substitutionist rather than eliminativist mode of discourse, in which the term "race" refers only to a social, and not to any biological category.4
social constructionism (or constructivism) - 1. the theory that racial categories are socially constructed. Albert Atkin (2012) distinguishes between strong and weak constructionism: while strong constructionism sees race as a real social category, weak constructionism may not see the sociocultural and sociohistorical impact of race as conferring upon it any basic underlying reality. Weak constructionism may thus be skeptical about the basic reality of race.5
1Michael O. Hardimon, Rethinking Race: The Case for Deflationary Realism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017), p. 95.
2Ibid., p. 3.
3Ibid., p. 17.
4Joshua Glasgow, A Theory of Race (New York: Routledge, 2009), p. 139.
5Albert Atkin, The Philosophy of Race (Durham: Acumen, 2012), pp. 64-71.
Charles W. Mills, Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998).
Jeremy Pierce, A Realist Metaphysics of Race: A Context-Sensitive, Short-Term Retentionist, Long-Term Revisionist Approach (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2015).