Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3783-3803 (2020)

Authors
Alex Byrne
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Abstract
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 *adult human female*. In the first part, a number of arguments are given for the view that women are adult human females; the second part turns to rebutting the main objections. Finally, a couple of morals are briefly noted: one for activist sloganeering, and one for ameliorative projects that seek to change the meaning of ‘woman’.
Keywords sex  gender  transgender  intersex  conceptual engineering  amelioration  feminism  sex/gender distinction
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-019-01408-8
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Thinking, Fast and Slow.Daniel Kahneman - 2011 - New York: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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Citations of this work BETA

Escaping the Natural Attitude About Gender.Robin Dembroff - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):983-1003.
Reimagining Transgender.Robin Dembroff - forthcoming - In Talia Bettcher, Perry Zurn & Andrea Pitts (eds.), Trans Philosophy: Meaning and Mattering.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

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