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Gender and Gender Terms

Noûs 54 (3):704-730 (2020)

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  1. Of Witches and White Folks.Daniel Wodak - 2022 - Wiley: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (3):587-605.
    A central debate in philosophy of race is between eliminativists and conservationists about what we ought do with ‘race’ talk. ‘Eliminativism’ is often defined such that it’s committed to holding that (a) ‘race’ is vacuous and races don’t exist, so (b) we should eliminate the term ‘race’ from our vocabulary. As a stipulative definition, that’s fine. But as an account of one of the main theoretical options in the debate, it’s a serious mistake. I offer three arguments for why eliminativism (...)
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  • Gender as a Self-Conferred Identity.Michael Rea - 2022 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 8 (2).
    This paper develops and defends the view that gender is an identity that we confer upon ourselves. The claim that gender is a self-conferred identity is not novel; but its metaphysics is obscure at best. What exactly is an identity, and how do we manage to confer identities upon ourselves? Furthermore, how does the claim that gender is a self-conferred identity comport with the widely accepted notion that gender is also a social identity, and that social identities are (at least (...)
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  • Queer and Straight.Matthew Andler - 2022 - In Clare Chambers, Brian D. Earp & Lori Watson (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Sex and Sexuality.
    Recent philosophical work on sexuality has focused primarily on sexual orientation. Yet, there’s another normatively significant phenomenon in the neighborhood: sexual identity. Here, I develop a cultural theory of queer and straight sexual identity. In particular, I argue that sexual identity is a matter of inclusion/exclusion in relation to queer and straight cultures, which are differentiated in terms of characteristic practices involving kinship and political resistance.
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  • Self-Identification.Maximiliana Jewett Rifkin - unknown
    Here, I first analyze gender identity qua gender self-ascription and offer a theory of the psychological states underpinning gender self-ascriptions, which I call a form of ‘self-identification’. I hold gender self-identification consists of a gender self-concept, which itself consists of a belief or assumption in a context, and sometimes involves a gender role ideal, which consists of an individual’s expectations and standards for how to perform a gender role. Second, I defend my view from an objection to similar views like (...)
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  • Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender.Mari Mikkola - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    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 (...)
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  • Analytic Feminism.Ann Garry - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Analytic feminists are philosophers who believe that both philosophy and feminism are well served by using some of the concepts, theories and methods of analytic philosophy modified by feminist values and insights. By using ‘ analytic feminist’ to characterize their style of feminist philosophizing, these philosophers acknowledge their dual feminist and analytic roots and their intention to participate in the ongoing conversations within both traditions. In addition, the use of ‘ analytic feminist’ attempts to rebut two frequently made presumptions: that (...)
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  • Beyond Binary: Genderqueer as Critical Gender Kind.Robin Dembroff - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (9):1-23.
    We want to know what gender is. But metaphysical approaches to this question solely have focused on the binary gender kinds men and women. By overlooking those who identify outside of the binary–the group I call ‘genderqueer’–we are left without tools for understanding these new and quickly growing gender identifications. This metaphysical gap in turn creates a conceptual lacuna that contributes to systematic misunderstanding of genderqueer persons. In this paper, I argue that to better understand genderqueer identities, we must recognize (...)
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  • Pronouns.Alex Byrne - manuscript
    An opinionated survey article on the social/ethical issues raised by English third person singular pronouns like "she", "he", "hers", and "his". Is it simply considerate to use "she" when speaking of a transgender woman, or is there more at stake? What about using "they" for a non-binary person? And is non-binary "they"—not to be confused with the long-established singular "they"—a good idea anyway? Is it feasible to follow the Swedes and add a sex-neutral (epicene) pronoun, or imitate Finnish and Hungarian (...)
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  • Can Conceptual Engineering Actually Promote Social Justice?Paul-Mikhail Catapang Podosky - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2).
    This paper explores the question: What would conceptual engineering have to be in order to promote social justice? Specifically, it argues that to promote social justice, conceptual engineering must deliver the following: it needs to be possible to deliberately implement a conceptual engineering proposal in large communities; it needs to be possible for a conceptual engineering proposal to bring about change to extant social categories; it needs to be possible to bring a population to adopt a conceptual engineering proposal for (...)
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  • Gender Without Gender Identity: The Case of Cognitive Disability.Elizabeth Barnes - forthcoming - Mind.
  • Contextualism and the Semantics of "Woman".Hsiang-Yun Chen - 2020 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 7.
    Contextualist accounts of “woman,” including Saul (2012), Diaz-Leon (2016), and Ichikawa (2020), aim to capture the variability of the meaning of the term, and do justice to the rights of trans women. I argue that (i) there is an internal tension between a contextualist stance and the commitment to trans-inclusive language, and that (ii) we should recognize and tackle the broader and deeper theoretical and practical difficulties implicit in the semantic debates, rather than collapsing them all into semantics. Moving on, (...)
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  • Why the Trans Inclusion Problem Cannot Be Solved.Tomas Bogardus - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-26.
    What is a woman? The definition of this central concept of feminism has lately become especially controversial and politically charged. “Ameliorative Inquirists” have rolled up their sleeves to reengineer our ordinary concept of womanhood, with a goal of including in the definition all and only those who identify as women, both “cis” and “trans.” This has proven to be a formidable challenge. Every proposal so far has failed to draw the boundaries of womanhood in a way acceptable to the Ameliorative (...)
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  • Toward a Nonbinary Model of Gender/Sex Traits.Renata Ziemińska - 2022 - Hypatia 37 (2):402-421.
    I argue against the exclusive female/male divide, referring to the phenomenon of epistemic injustice in the cases of people with nonbinary gender identities and people with intersex traits. Such people have traits that are counterexamples to the binary female/male model. I have separated female and male traits into nine basic layers, five of which belong to sex and four to gender. In every layer, I have found traits that are neither female nor male, and the application of the model to (...)
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  • Conceptual Engineering and Ways of Believing.Eve Kitsik - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (1):347-368.
    I will argue that those thinking about conceptual engineering should think more about ways of believing. When we talk about what someone “believes”, we could be talking about how they are inclined to act, or what they have put forth as their position on a matter, or what gives rise to a feeling of endorsement when they reflect on the matter. If we further recognize that the contents of our beliefs are at least sometimes framed in certain concepts and that (...)
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  • How To Be A Pluralist About Gender Categories.Katharine Jenkins - 2022 - In Raja Halwani, Jacob M. Held, Natasha McKeever & Alan Soble (eds.), The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings. 8th Edition. pp. 233-259.
    To investigate the metaphysics of gender categories—categories like “woman,” “genderqueer,” and “man”—is to ask questions about what gender categories are and how they exist. This chapter offers a pluralist account of the metaphysics of gender categories, according to which there are several different varieties of gender categories. I begin by giving a brief overview of some feminist accounts of the metaphysics of gender categories and illustrating how certain moral and political considerations have been in play in these discussions as constraints (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Injustice.Robin Dembroff - forthcoming - In Ruth Chang & Amia Srinivasan (eds.), New Conversations in Philosophy, Law, and Politics. Oxford University Press.
    Patriarchy and white supremacy are unjust social systems, constituted by causal structures that produce systemic gender injustice and racial injustice. Intersectional theory highlights that these forms of injustice often are inseparable, as in instances of misogynoir. What does this mean for our understanding of unjust systems? Recent work in feminist theory suggests that intersectional insights undermine the idea that there are multiple unjust systems. In this paper, I hope to show that this is not the case. I’ll suggest that intersectional (...)
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  • Contextual Injustice.Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa - 2020 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 30 (1):1–30.
    Contextualist treatments of clashes of intuitions can allow that two claims, apparently in conflict, can both be true. But making true utterances is far from the only thing that matters — there are often substantive normative questions about what contextual parameters are appropriate to a given conversational situation. This paper foregrounds the importance of the social power to set contextual standards, and how it relates to injustice and oppression, introducing a phenomenon I call "contextual injustice," which has to do with (...)
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  • Beyond Binary: Genderqueer as Critical Gender Kind [Chinese].Robin Dembroff - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (9):1-23.
    Chinese translation courtesy of Zhuanxu Xu. We want to know what gender is. But metaphysical approaches to this question solely have focused on the binary gender kinds men and women. By overlooking those who identify outside of the binary–the group I call ‘genderqueer’–we are left without tools for understanding these new and quickly growing gender identifications. This metaphysical gap in turn creates a conceptual lacuna that contributes to systematic misunderstanding of genderqueer persons. In this paper, I argue that to better (...)
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  • Ending Sex-Based Oppression: Transitional Pathways.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (3):1021-1041.
    From a radical feminist perspective, gender is a cage. Or to be more precise, it’s two cages. If genders are cages, then surely we want to let people out. Being less constrained in our choices is something we all have reason to want: theorists in recent years have emphasized the importance of the capability to do and be many different things. At the very least, we should want an end to sex-based oppression. But what does this entail, when it comes (...)
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  • Evaluating Arguments for the Sex/Gender Distinction.Tomas Bogardus - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (3):873-892.
    Many philosophers believe that our ordinary English words man and woman are “gender terms,” and gender is distinct from biological sex. That is, they believe womanhood and manhood are not defined even partly by biological sex. This sex/gender distinction is one of the most influential ideas of the twentieth century on the broader culture, both popular and academic. Less well known are the reasons to think it’s true. My interest in this paper is to show that, upon investigation, the arguments (...)
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  • Gender Muddle: Reply to Dembroff.Alex Byrne - 2021 - Journal of Controversial Ideas 1 (1).
    Dembroff’s “Escaping the natural attitude about gender” replies to my “Are women adult human females?”. This paper responds to Dembroff’s many criticisms of my arguments, as well as to the charge that “Are women...” “fundamentally is an unscholarly attempt to vindicate a political slogan that is currently being used to undermine civic rights and respect for trans persons”. I argue that Dembroff’s criticisms fail without exception, and explain why the claims about my motives are baseless.
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  • Escaping the Natural Attitude About Gender.Robin Dembroff - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):983-1003.
    Alex Byrne’s article, “Are Women Adult Human Females?”, asks a question that Byrne treats as nearly rhetorical. Byrne’s answer is, ‘clearly, yes’. Moreover, Byrne claims, 'woman' is a biological category that does not admit of any interpretation as (also) a social category. It is important to respond to Byrne’s argument, but mostly because it is paradigmatic of a wider phenomenon. The slogan “women are adult human females” is a political slogan championed by anti-trans activists, appearing on billboards, pamphlets, and anti-trans (...)
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  • He/She/They/Ze.Robin Dembroff & Daniel Wodak - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
    In this paper, we defend two main claims. The first is a moderate claim: we have a negative duty to not use binary gender-specific pronouns he or she to refer to genderqueer individuals. We defend this with an argument by analogy. It was gravely wrong for Mark Latham to refer to Catherine McGregor, a transgender woman, using the pronoun he; we argue that such cases of misgendering are morally analogous to referring to Angel Haze, who identifies as genderqueer, as he (...)
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  • Invariantist, Contextualist, and Relativist Accounts of Gender Terms.Dan Zeman - 2020 - EurAmerica 4 (50):739-781.
    In this paper, I explore a range of existent and possible ameliorative semantic theories of gender terms: invariantism, according to which gender terms are not context-sensitive, contextualism, according to which the meaning of gender terms is established in the context of use, and relativism, according to which the meaning of gender terms is established in the context of assessment. I show that none of these views is adequate with respect to the plight of trans people to use their term of (...)
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  • Towards a Distinction Between Gender Identity and Gender Orientation.Avery Newman - 2020 - Georgia State University Master's Theses 2020.
    Gender identity is usually thought of in psychologistic terms. But thinking about gender identity in this way often undermines the political and social agencies of queer and trans individuals who rely on the concept the most. To ameliorate this problem, I argue that we should endorse a conceptual distinction between gender identity and what I call gender orientation. The former is an agent’s sincerely self-ascribed gender categorization, and the latter is an agent’s psychological relation to gendered social practices.
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  • On the Amelioration of “Women”.Hsiang-Yun Chen - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (4):1391-1406.
    Social constructionist analysis of kind terms such as ‘women’ are often criticized as counterintuitive. In response, Haslanger claims that such charges are moot once the distinctions between different types of philosophical analyses and their corresponding concepts are in place. I argue that even with the said distinctions, the Haslangerian definition of ‘women’ is problematic. Drawing on recent discussions on contextualism, metalinguistic negotiation, and the crucial role solidarity plays in politically significant terms, I claim that Haslanger’s replies would lead to consequences (...)
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  • Are women adult human females?Alex Byrne - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3783-3803.
    Are women (simply) adult human females? Dictionaries suggest that they are. However, philosophers who have explicitly considered the question invariably answer no. This paper argues that they are wrong. The orthodox view is that the category *woman* is a social category, like the categories *widow* and *police officer*, although exactly what this social category consists in is a matter of considerable disagreement. In any event, orthodoxy has it that *woman* is definitely not a biological category, like the categories *amphibian* or (...)
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  • Quantum Mechanics and Metaphysical Indeterminacy.George Darby - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):227-245.
    There has been recent interest in formulating theories of non-representational indeterminacy. The aim of this paper is to clarify the relevance of quantum mechanics to this project. Quantum-mechanical examples of vague objects have been offered by various authors, displaying indeterminate identity, in the face of the famous Evans argument that such an idea is incoherent. It has also been suggested that the quantum-mechanical treatment of state-dependent properties exhibits metaphysical indeterminacy. In both cases it is important to consider the details of (...)
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  • Subject-Contextualism and the Meaning of Gender Terms.Dan Zeman - 2020 - Journal of Social Ontology 6 (1):69-83.
    In this paper, I engage with a recent contextualist account of gender terms proposed by Díaz-León, E. 2016. “Woman as a Politically Significant Term: A Solution to the Puzzle.” Hypatia 31 : 245–58. Díaz-León’s main aim is to improve both on previous contextualist and non-contextualist views and solve a certain puzzle for feminists. Central to this task is putting forward a view that allows trans women who did not undergo gender-affirming medical procedures to use the gender terms of their choice (...)
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  • Expanding the Romantic Circle.Tena Thau - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (5):915-929.
    Our romantic lives are influenced, to a large extent, by our perceptions of physical attractiveness – and the societal beauty standards that shape them. But what if we could free our desires from this fixation on looks? Science fiction writer Ted Chiang has explored this possibility in a fascinating short story – and scientific developments might, in the future, move it beyond the realm of fiction. In this paper, I lay out the prudential case for using “attraction-expanding technology,” and then (...)
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  • Feminism Without Metaphysics or a Deflationary Account of Gender.Louise Antony - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (3):529-549.
    I argue for a deflationary answer to the question, “What is it to be a woman?” Prior attempts by feminist theorists to provide a metaphysical account of what all and only women have in common have all failed for the same reason: there is nothing women have in common beyond being women. Although the social kinds man and woman are primitive, their existence can be explained. I say that human sex difference is the material ground of systems of gender; gender (...)
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  • Some Internal Problems with Revisionary Gender Concepts.Tomas Bogardus - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (1):55-75.
    Feminism has long grappled with its own demarcation problem—exactly what is it to be a woman?—and the rise of trans-inclusive feminism has made this problem more urgent. I will first consider Sally Haslanger’s “social and hierarchical” account of woman, resulting from “Ameliorative Inquiry”: she balances ordinary use of the term against the instrumental value of novel definitions in advancing the cause of feminism. Then, I will turn to Katharine Jenkins’ charge that Haslanger’s view suffers from an “Inclusion Problem”: it fails (...)
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  • Being Perceived and Being “Seen”: Interpersonal Affordances, Agency, and Selfhood.Nick Brancazio - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    Are interpersonal affordances a distinct type of affordance, and if so, what is it that differentiates them from other kinds of affordances? In this paper, I show that a hard distinction between interpersonal affordances and other affordances is warranted and ethically important. The enactivist theory of participatory sense-making demonstrates that there is a difference in coupling between agent-environment and agent-agent interactions, and these differences in coupling provide a basis for distinguishing between the perception of environmental and interpersonal affordances. Building further (...)
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