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The Blood of Others: Breeding Plants, Animals, and White People in the Spanish Atlantic

  • Ruth Hill

Abstract

Cognitive scientists Scott Atran and Douglas Medin argue that empiricism and essentialism characterize folk constructions of nature just as they characterized Aristotelian, pre-theoretical (or pre-scientific) thinking about nature. “People ordinarily assume that the various members of each generic species share a unique underlying nature, or [biological] essence … People the world over assume that the initially imperceptible essential properties of a generic species are responsible for the surface similarities they perceive.”1 One of the most urgent debates in the cognitive sciences today centers on the rapport between this folkbiological, commonsense, or pre-theoretical essentialism and racial or ethnic categories. Is it innate in humans to perceive humans as natural kinds, that is, to perceive and sort them as we do different plants and brutes in nature? Are humans hardwired to sort humans into groups according to appearance and assumed biological essence? Or, could it be that racial and ethnic ideologies frequently make operational beliefs about blood due to domain transfer from ANIMAL and PLANT to HUMAN?2

Keywords

Indian Woman White People Whitening Equation Sensitive Animal Psychological Essentialism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© Ruth Hill 2014

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  • Ruth Hill

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