Understanding Race: The Case for Political Constructionism in Public Discourse

David Ludwig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of this article is to develop an understanding-based argument for an explicitly political specification of the concept of race. It is argued that a specification of race in terms of hierarchical social positions is best equipped to guide causal reasoning about racial inequality in the public sphere. Furthermore, the article provides evidence that biological and cultural specifications of race mislead public reasoning by encouraging confusions between correlates and causes of racial inequality. The article concludes with a more general case for incorporating empirical evidence about public reasoning into philosophical debates about competing specifications of the concept of race.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-504
JournalCanadian Journal of Philosophy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

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