Hist. Phil. Life Sci., 31 (2009), 241-262
What is the Viewpoint of Hemoglobin, and Does It Matter?
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Department of Anthropology
Charlotte, NC 28223, USA
ABSTRACT - In this paper I discuss reductive trends in evolutionary anthropology. The first involved the reduction of human ancestry to genetic relationships (in the 1960s) and the second involved a parallel reduction of classification to phylogenetic retrieval (in the 1980s). Neither of these affords greater accuracy than their alternatives; that is to say, their novelty is epistemic, not empirical. As a result, there has been a revolution in classification in evolutionary anthropology, which arguably clouds the biological relationships of the relevant species, rather than clarifying them. Just below the species level, another taxonomic issue is raised by the reinscription of race as a natural category of the human species. This, too, is driven by the convergent interests of cultural forces including conservative political ideologies, the creation of pharmaceutical niche markets, free-market genomics, and old fashioned scientific racism.
KEYWORDS Molecular anthropology, Systematics, Classification, Human evolution
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23334445
Dr. Jonathan Marks is Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and specializes in the study of human evolution and human diversity. His primary interest lies at the intersection of anthropology, evolution, and genetics.