My goal in this short paper is to introduce a dilemma regarding the pronouns ‘ she ’, ‘ he ’, and their various declensions. This dilemma arises from the practice, common in the English speaking world and especially the USA, of letting people choose their own pronouns. And as will become apparent at the end of this paper, I want to suggest that this dilemma might be unique to the English language.
Although written in Japanese, this article deals with what the gender theory is all about by reference to Beauvoir's Le Deuxième Sexe. Sartre's works are also heavily cited to clarify the background of Beauvoir's philosophy.
The combination of sex and horror may be disquieting to many, but the two are natural (if perhaps gruesome) bedfellows. In fact, sex and horror coincide with such regularity in contemporary horror fiction that the two concepts appear to be at least partially intertwined. The sex–horror relationship is sometimes connotative rather than overt; examples of this relationship range from the seduction overtones of 'Nosferatu' and the juxtaposition of nudity and horror promised by European exploitation filmmakers to the sadomasochistic iconography of (...) 'Hellraiser'. In other cases, sex and horror are balanced in a manner that thoroughly blurs the distinction between porn and horror. The sustained presence of sex-horror in film suggests that these two elements fit together and the combination is a source of pleasure (entertainment, fascination, intellectual stimulation and so forth) for many. Yet sex-horror is broadly perceived to be disturbing and these negative reactions indicate that sex-horror is a source of trepidation, moral disdain or disgust for some. Thus, it appears that sex-horror inspires directly competing responses. One might conclude that sex-horror itself is paradoxical; that it holds two directly oppositional meanings simultaneously. However, as I will illustrate in this chapter, these dual responses are not as contradictory as they might first appear to be. (shrink)
On some accounts, prostitution is just another form of casual sex and as such not particularly harmful in itself, if regulated properly. I claim that, although casual sex in general is not inher-ently harmful, prostitution in fact is. To show this, I defend an account of sex as joint action characteristically aimed at sexual enjoyment, here understood as a tangible experience of com-munity among partners, and argue that prostitution fails to achieve this good by incentivizing partners to mistreat each other. (...) To substantiate this claim, I explore ways in which prostitution fails on the virtues of temperance, respect, and sincerity. (shrink)
Recently, Edward Furton commented on an article that we published in Health Care Ethics USA concerning the philosophical and theological anthropology informing the discussion of appropriate care for individuals with gender dysphoria and intersex conditions. We appreciate the opportunity to clarify the points we made in that article, particularly the metaphysical mechanics underlying our contention that, as part of a unified human person, the human rational soul is sexed. We hope this more in-depth metaphysical explanation shows that Furton’s concern, while (...) valid insofar as our position may have needed clarifying, is nevertheless ill-founded with respect to our contention that actually existent human rational souls are sexed. (shrink)
Sex determines much about one's life, but what determines one's sex? The answer is complicated and incomplete: on close examination, ordinary notions of female and male are vague. In 2012, the International Olympic Committee further specified what they mean by woman in response to questions about who, exactly, is eligible to compete in women's Olympic events. I argue, first, that their stipulation is evidence that the use of vague terms is better described by semantic approaches to vagueness than by epistemic (...) approaches. In addition, the IOC's 2012 stipulation was made with sensitivity to its practical consequences. Linguistic actions often have morally relevant consequences, and I contend that, other things equal, we should adopt theories about language that acknowledge the responsibility we bear for what we say. Taking vagueness to be an epistemic phenomenon precludes the sense of agency needed for moral responsibility; taking it to be semantic does not. Thus I advance two arguments for semantic approaches to vagueness, as against epistemic approaches: one descriptive and one normative. (shrink)
Irigaray's early work seeks to multiply possibilities for women's self-expression by recovering a sexual difference in which male and female are neither the same nor opposites, but irreducibly different modes of embodiment. In her more recent work, however, Irigaray has emphasized the duality of the sexes at the expense of multiplicity, enshrining the heterosexual couple as the model of sexual ethics. Alison Stone's recent revision of Irigaray supplements her account of sexual duality with a theory of bodily multiplicity derived from (...) Butler, Nietzsche, and certain German Romantics; but to the extent that Stone maintains the primacy of sexual duality, her revision fails to address the claims of multiplicity on their own terms. In this paper, I interpret a passage from Marcel Proust's novel, Sodom and Gomorrah, in order to develop an alternative theory of sexual difference in which sexual duality is affirmed in relation to a third, unsexed but sexual force which multiplies the possibilities for sexual pleasure beyond heterosexual coupling. Proust's emphasis on sexed ``parts'' rather than sexed morphologies is generative of maximally diverse combinations, all of which are equally natural and equally enhanced through artifice. (shrink)
Feminism is the movement to end women’s oppression. One possible way to understand ‘woman’ in this claim is to take it as a sex term: ‘woman’ picks out human females and being a human female depends on various anatomical features (like genitalia). Historically many feminists have understood ‘woman’ differently: not as a sex term, but as a gender term that depends on social and cultural factors (like social position). In so doing, they distinguished sex (being female or male) from gender (...) (being a woman or a man), although most ordinary language users appear to treat the two interchangeably. More recently this distinction has come under sustained attack and many view it nowadays with (at least some) suspicion. This entry (around 12 000 words in length) outlines and discusses distinctly feminist debates on sex and gender. (shrink)
The Love-Code is a continuation of The Couple to the family, whose image has changed dramatically. Sexual promiscuity, the social equality of male and female, the individual planning of biographies, all make traditional gender roles appear outdated. Whether these changes will make the living together of the sexes easier is doubtful. This book addresses the question, how can love even in the conditions of neo-liberalism keep its mysterious binding force: through the recognition of sexual identity as a way to knowing (...) the self and the other. (shrink)
For centuries people have debated the nature of the human self. Running beneath these various arguments lie three certainties - we are born, reproduce sexually, and die. The models of spirituality which dominate the Western tradition have claimed that it is possible to transcend these aspects of human physicality by ascribing to human beings alternative traits, such as consciousness, mind and reason. By locating the essence of human life outside its basic physical features, mortality itself has come to be viewed (...) as a problem, for it appears to render human life both meaningless and absurd. Complex connections have then been made between the key features of life: sex is linked with death, and birth becomes the event that introduces the child to the world of decay - and ultimately to death itself. This fascinating book exposes the way in which the preoccupation with transcendence in both religious and secular thinking has distorted our sense of what it is to be human. At the same time, Sex and Death offers an alternative approach to the debate, based on an acceptance of mortality that emphasizes the depth and profundity possible in human life. It is an argument which will be essential reading for students of philosophy or religion, as well as the general reader interested in these debates. (shrink)
Our beloved “genders” of the present moment are neither universal nor trans-historical presences in the world. The specific gender order which we employ today is the legacy of a particular cultural and political history, and there is still a great deal at stake in preserving it. As a graduate student I stumbled upon the topic of intersexuality a few years ago and found myself enthralled with its implications. Continuing to present itself inspite of all our scientific knowledge about the supposed (...) immutability of “female” and “male,” intersexuality disrupts the gender order. The response to this disruption has been swift and terrible: from the intersexed infants who enter “our” world everyday are carved (literally and figuratively) supposedly “normal” boys and girls (mostly girls). The following exposition represents a pre-fieldwork (theoretical) stage in my current research and attempts to demonstrate that medical authorities manage intersex “cases” as they do in order to stabilize the always precarious institution of heterosexuality. (shrink)