Philosophical Studies

, Volume 175, Issue 5, pp 1039–1056 | Cite as

Constructing race: racialization, causal effects, or both?

  • Ron MallonEmail author


Social constructionism about race is a common view, but there remain questions about what exactly constitutes constructed race. Some hold that our concepts and conceptual practices construct race, and some hold that the causal consequences of these concepts and conceptual practices also play a role. But there is a third option, which is that the causal effects of our concepts and conceptual practices constitute race, but not the concepts and conceptual practices themselves. This paper reconsiders an argument for the reality of race that grows out of the role of racial kinds in social scientific generalizations. It then uses recent work on the correlation of racial attitudes with behaviors to raise questions about the sufficiency, and perhaps also the necessity, of our concepts and conceptual practices in constituting constructed race, thus understood.


Race Social construction Practices Material effects 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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