On Racism and the Heap Paradox

My brain doesn’t buy the heap paradox as a true paradox. Heap is not a specific numerical distinction, so taking one away or adding one has no meaningful impact on the concept of ‘heap’. Much like there is no black or white race distinction, there is no heap or non-heap distinction. The two people at the edge of the black or white race definition are virtually identical, so there is no line in between black and white. Since all sand heap amounts are one grain of sand apart – which means they are virtually identical – there is no line in between heap and non-heap.

I think the (absence of) race concept can be explained well using this exercise. If a person flew around the world, landing at the center of various geographical areas, they might believe that there are several distinct and separate races of human beings. If that same person walked around the world, though, the concept of separate races would seem nonsensical. There would never be a single instance of a clear, discernable difference between two people outside of instances where people were displaced from their ancestral territories, such as Africans in America or Englishmen in Australia.

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