How race travels: relating local and global ontologies of race

David Ludwig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article develops a framework for addressing racial ontologies in transnational perspective. In contrast to simple contextualist accounts, it is argued that a globally engaged metaphysics of race needs to address transnational continuities of racial ontologies. In contrast to unificationist accounts that aim for one globally unified ontology, it is argued that questions about the nature and reality of race do not always have the same answers across national contexts. In order address racial ontologies in global perspective, the article develops a framework that accounts for both continuities and discontinuities by looking beyond the referents of narrowly defined core concepts. By shifting the focus from narrow concepts to richer conceptions of race, racial ontologies become comparable through globally related but nonetheless distinct mappings between conceptions and property relations. The article concludes by showing how this framework can generate novel insights in case studies from Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2729-2750
Number of pages22
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number10
Early online date6 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Comparative philosophy
  • Conceptions
  • Conceptual change
  • Metaphysics of race
  • Philosophy of race
  • Social ontology

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