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Keywords:

  • Alain Locke;
  • critique;
  • ethnicity;
  • Hispanic philosophy;
  • identity;
  • John Dewey;
  • José Martí;
  • liberation;
  • pragmatism;
  • race;
  • reconstruction

Abstract: In this essay I examine the contributions of the pragmatist tradition to the philosophy of ethnicity. From the pragmatist philosophies of Dewey and Locke I derive a reconstructive model for the clarification and improvement of the life experiences of ethnic groups. Addressing various problems and objections, I argue that this Deweyan and Lockean reconstructive model rejects any sharp separation between race and ethnicity and avoids the pitfalls of the biologist race paradigm and the culturalist ethnicity paradigm. I explore some of the social and political implications of this reconstructive model through a discussion of José Martí's inspiring account of Hispanic identity.