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"Trans Women and the Meaning of ‘Woman’"

In A. Soble, N. Power & R. Halwani (eds.), Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings, Sixth Edition. Rowan & Littlefield. pp. 233-250 (2013)

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  1. Gender-Affirmation and Loving Attention.E. M. Hernandez - 2021 - Hypatia 36 (4):619-635.
    In this article, I examine the moral dimensions of gender affirmation. I argue that the moral value of gender affirmation is rooted in what Iris Murdoch called loving attention. Loving attention is central to the moral value of gender affirmation because such affirmation is otherwise too fragile or insincere to have such value. Moral reasons to engage in acts that gender affirm derive from the commitment to give and express loving attention to trans people as a way of challenging their (...)
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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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  • Moral Constraints on Gender Concepts.N. G. Laskowski - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (1):39-51.
    Are words like ‘woman’ or ‘man’ sex terms that we use to talk about biological features of individuals? Are they gender terms that we use to talk about non-biological features e.g. social roles? Contextualists answer both questions affirmatively, arguing that these terms concern biological or non-biological features depending on context. I argue that a recent version of contextualism from Jennifer Saul that Esa Diaz-Leon develops doesn't exhibit the right kind of flexibility to capture our theoretical intuitions or moral and political (...)
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  • Real Talk on the Metaphysics of Gender.Robin Dembroff - 2018 - Philosophical Topics 46 (2):21-50.
    Gender classifications often are controversial. These controversies typically focus on whether gender classifications align with facts about gender kind membership: Could someone really be nonbinary? Is Chris Mosier really a man? I think this is a bad approach. Consider the possibility of ontological oppression, which arises when social kinds operating in a context unjustly constrain the behaviors, concepts, or affect of certain groups. Gender kinds operating in dominant contexts, I argue, oppress trans and nonbinary persons in this way: they marginalize (...)
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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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  • On Haslanger’s Meta-Metaphysics: Social Structures and Metaphysical Deflationism. E. Díaz-León - 2018 - Disputatio 10 (50):201-216.
    The metaphysics of gender and race is a growing area of concern in contemporary analytic metaphysics, with many different views about the nature of gender and race being submitted and discussed. But what are these debates about? What questions are these accounts trying to answer? And is there real disagreement between advocates of differ- ent views about race or gender? If so, what are they really disagreeing about? In this paper I want to develop a view about what the debates (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • The metaphysics of intersectionality.Sara Bernstein - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):321-335.
    This paper develops and articulates a metaphysics of intersectionality, the idea that multiple axes of social oppression cross-cut each other. Though intersectionality is often described through metaphor, theories of intersectionality can be formulated using the tools of contemporary analytic metaphysics. A central tenet of intersectionality theory, that intersectional identities are inseparable, can be framed in terms of explanatory unity. Further, intersectionality is best understood as metaphysical and explanatory priority of the intersectional category over its constituents, akin to metaphysical priority of (...)
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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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  • How to Do Things with Gendered Words.E. M. Hernandez & Archie Crowley - forthcoming - In Luvell Anderson & Ernest Lepore (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Applied Philosophy of Language. New York: Oxford University Press.
    With increased visibility of trans people comes increased philosophical interest in gendered language. This chapter aims to look at the research on gendered language in analytic philosophy of language so far, which has focused on two concerns: (1) determining how to define gender terms like ‘man’ and ‘woman’ such that they are trans inclusive and (2) if, or to what extent, we should use gendered language at all. We argue that the literature has focused too heavily on how gendered language (...)
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  • 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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  • How Much Gender is Too Much Gender?Robin Dembroff & Daniel Wodak - forthcoming - In Justin Khoo & Rachel Katharine Sterken (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Social and Political Philosophy of Language. Routledge.
    We live in a world saturated in both racial and gendered divisions. Our focus is on one place where attitudes about these divisions diverge: language. We suspect most everyone would be horrified at the idea of adding race-specific pronouns, honorifics, generic terms, and so on to English. And yet gender-specific terms of the same sort are widely accepted and endorsed. We think this asymmetry cannot withstand scrutiny. We provide three considerations against incorporating additional race-specific terms into English, and argue that (...)
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  • Gender Identities and Feminism.Josh T. U. Cohen - 2018 - Ethics, Politics and Society.
    Many feminists (e.g. T. Bettcher and B. R. George) argue for a principle of first person authority (FPA) about gender, i.e. that we should (at least) not disavow people's gender self-categorisations. However, there is a feminist tradition resistant to FPA about gender, which I call "radical feminism”. Feminists in this tradition define gender-categories via biological sex, thus denying non-binary and trans self-identifications. Using a taxonomy by B. R. George, I begin to demystify the concept of gender. We are also able (...)
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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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  • Strategic Conceptual Engineering for Epistemic and Social Aims.Ingo Brigandt & Esther Rosario - 2020 - In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 100-124.
    Examining previous discussions on how to construe the concepts of gender and race, we advocate what we call strategic conceptual engineering. This is the employment of a (possibly novel) concept for specific epistemic or social aims, concomitant with the openness to use a different concept (e.g., of race) for other purposes. We illustrate this approach by sketching three distinct concepts of gender and arguing that all of them are needed, as they answer to different social aims. The first concept serves (...)
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  • Misgendering and its Moral Contestability.Kapusta Stephanie - 2016 - Hypatia 31 (3):512-519.
    In this article, I consider the harms inflicted upon transgender persons through “misgendering,” that is, such deployments of gender terms that diminish transgender persons’ selfrespect, limit the discursive resources at their disposal to define their own gender, and cause them microaggressive psychological harms. Such deployments are morally contestable, that is, they can be challenged on ethical or political grounds. Two characterizations of “woman” proposed in the feminist literature are critiqued from this perspective. When we consider what would happen to transgender (...)
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