Philosophia:1-26 (forthcoming)

Tomas Bogardus
Pepperdine University
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 Inquirists, since not all those who identify as women count as women on these proposals, and some who count as women on these proposals don’t identify as women. This is the Trans Inclusion Problem. Is there any solution? Can there be? Recently, Katharine Jenkins, pointing to the work of Mari Mikkola, suggests that the Trans Inclusion Problem can be “deflated” rather than solved. We will investigate this proposal, and show that, unfortunately, Jenkins is mistaken: Mikkola’s project will not help us answer the Trans Inclusion Problem. After that, we’ll look at Robin Dembroff’s suggestion that we “imitate” the linguistic practices of trans inclusive and queer communities, and we will evaluate whether this would help us solve the Trans Inclusion Problem. Unfortunately, this strategy also fails to solve the problem. By the end, we’ll have a better appreciation of the challenges faced by Ameliorative Inquirists in their project of redefining “woman,” and clearer view of why the Trans Inclusion Problem cannot, in fact, be solved. That’s primarily because, no matter what it means to be a woman, it’s one thing to be a woman, and another thing to identify as a woman.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11406-022-00525-9
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Individualism and the Mental.Tyler Burge - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.
Escaping the Natural Attitude About Gender.Robin Dembroff - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):983-1003.

View all 37 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

If “Ifs” and “Buts” Were Candy and Nuts.Veronica Ivy - 2021 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 7 (2).
From Knowledge to Wisdom.Nicholas Maxwell - 2009 - In David Cayley (ed.), Ideas on the Nature of Science. New Brunswick, Canada: Goose Lane Editions. pp. 360-378.
Laws: Projectability and Uniformity.G. M. K. Hunt - 1990 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (3):241 – 246.
On the Everettian Epistemic Problem.Hilary Greaves - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):120-152.
The Value of Inclusion.Franziska Felder - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 52 (1):54-70.


Added to PP index

Total views
2,572 ( #1,579 of 2,520,360 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2,572 ( #51 of 2,520,360 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes