Race: The Difference That Makes a Difference

  • Syed Mustafa Ali The Open University
Keywords: Critical Race Theory, Philosophy of Information, Information Theory, Systems Theory, Race, Racism, Gregory Bateson, Charles W Mills, Immanuel Kant


During the last two decades, critical enquiry into the nature of race has begun to enter the philosophical main-stream. The same period has also witnessed the emergence of an increasingly visible discourse about the nature of infor-mation within a diverse range of popular and academic settings. What is yet to emerge, however, is engagement at the interface of the two disciplines – critical race theory and the philosophy of information. In this paper, I shall attempt to con-tribute towards the emergence of such a field of enquiry by using a reflexive hermeneutic (or interpretative) approach to analyze the concept of race from an information-theoretical perspective, while reflexively analyzing the concept of informa-tion from a critical race-theoretical perspective. In order to facilitate a more concrete enquiry, the concept of information formulated by cyberneticist Gregory Bateson and the concept of race formulated by philosopher Charles W Mills will be placed at the centre of analysis. Crucially, both concepts can be shown to have a connection to the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant, thereby justifying their selection as topics of examination on critical reflexive hermeneutic grounds.

Author Biography

Syed Mustafa Ali, The Open University
Computing Department, Lecturer
Special Issue: The Difference that Makes a Difference 2011