Understanding Race: The Case for Political Constructionism in Public Discourse

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (4):492-504 (2020)
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Abstract

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.

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David Ludwig
Wageningen University and Research

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