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Are women adult human females?

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

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  1. Engineering Social Concepts: Labels and the Science of Categorization.Eleonore Neufeld - manuscript
    One of the core insights from Eleanor Rosch’s work on categorization is that human categorization isn’t arbitrary. Instead, two psychological principles constrain possible systems of classification for all human cultures. According to these principles, the task of a category system is to provide maximum information with the least cognitive effort, and the perceived world provides us with structured rather than arbitrary features. In this paper, I show that Rosch's insights give us important resources for making progress on the 'feasibility question' (...)
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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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  • The complex case of Ellie Anderson.Joona Räsänen & Anna Smajdor - 2022 - Journal of Medical Ethics 48 (4):217-221.
    Ellie Anderson had always known that she wanted to have children. Her mother, Louise, was aware of this wish. Ellie was designated male at birth, but according to news sources, identified as a girl from the age of three. She was hoping to undergo gender reassignment surgery at 18, but died unexpectedly at only 16, leaving Louise grappling not only with the grief of losing her daughter, but with a complex legal problem. Ellie had had her sperm frozen before starting (...)
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  • Polysemy and thought: Toward a generative theory of concepts.Jake Quilty-Dunn - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (1):158-185.
    Most theories of concepts take concepts to be structured bodies of information used in categorization and inference. This paper argues for a version of atomism, on which concepts are unstructured symbols. However, traditional Fodorian atomism is falsified by polysemy and fails to provide an account of how concepts figure in cognition. This paper argues that concepts are generative pointers, that is, unstructured symbols that point to memory locations where cognitively useful bodies of information are stored and can be deployed to (...)
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  • Why ‘Meaningful Competition’ is not fair competition.Jon Pike - 2023 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 50 (1):1-17.
    In this paper I discuss a new conception that has arrived relatively recently on the scene, in the context of the debate over the inclusion of transwomen (hereafter TW) in female sport. That conception is ‘Meaningful Competition’ (hereafter MC) – a term used by some of those who advocate for the inclusion of TW in female sport if and only if they reduce their testosterone levels. I will argue that MC is not fair. I understand MC as a substitute concept, (...)
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  • Women are not adult human females.Rebecca Mason - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Some philosophers argue that women are adult human females. Call this the Adult Human Female thesis (AHF). The aim of this paper is to show that AHF is false.
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  • Conflating and misgendering: why World Athletics (and other sports governing bodies) should jettison the competitive labels ‘Women’s’/‘Men’s’.Federico Luzzi - 2022 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 49 (3):366-382.
    Martínková et al provide an overview of a tendency to use gender terms in key sports contexts, including eligibility criteria and testing, where gender is unintended. They argue that to avoid conceptual confusion and aid clarity, we should disentangle gender and sex, acknowledging that often gender talk should be interpreted as talk of sex. One of their recommendations is that the labels of competitive categories ‘women’s’/’men’s’ should change to ‘female’/’male’. I first make their argument against gendered labelling more precise by (...)
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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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  • Feminism without "gender identity".Anca Gheaus - 2023 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 22 (1):1470594X2211307.
    Talk of gender identity is at the core of heated current philosophical and political debates. Yet, it is unclear what it means to have one. I examine several ways of understanding this concept in light of core aims of trans writers and activists. Most importantly, the concept should make good trans people’s understanding of their own gender identities and help understand why misgendering is a serious harm and why it is permissible to require information about people’s gender identities in public (...)
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  • How to Solve the Gender Inclusion Problem.Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini - manuscript
    The inclusion problem for theories of gender arises when those theories inappropriately fail to include certain individuals in the gender categories to which they ought to belong. The inclusion problem affects both of the most influential traditions in feminist theorizing about gender: social-position accounts and identity accounts. I argue that the inclusion problem can be solved by adopting a structured theory of gender which incorporates aspects of both social-position accounts and identity accounts. According to the theory I favor, an individual’s (...)
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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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  • Recent Work on Gender Identity and Gender.Rach Cosker-Rowland - 2023 - Analysis 83 (4):801-820.
    Our gender identity is our sense of ourselves as a woman, a man, as genderqueer or as another gender. Trans people have a gender identity that is different from.
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  • Why the Trans Inclusion Problem cannot be Solved.Tomas Bogardus - 2022 - Philosophia 50 (4):1639-1664.
    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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  • 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 Importance of Realism about Gender Kinds: Lessons from Beauvoir.Theodore Bach - 2023 - Analyse & Kritik 45 (2):269-295.
    Beauvoir’s The Second Sex stands out as a master class in the accommodation of conceptual and inferential practices to real, objective gender kinds. Or so I will argue. To establish this framing, we will first need in hand the kind of scientific epistemology that correctly reconciles epistemic progress and error, particularly as pertains to the unruly social sciences. An important goal of the paper is to develop that epistemological framework and unlock its ontological implications for the domain of gender. As (...)
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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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  • Sex and Gender.Esther Rosario - forthcoming - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy.
    This chapter surveys essentialist and anti-essentialist theories of sex and gender. It does so by engaging three approaches to sex and gender: externalism, internalism, and contextualism. The chapter also draws attention to two key debates about sex and gender in the feminist literature: the debate about the sex/gender distinction (the distinction debate) and the debate about whether sex and gender have essences (the essentialism/anti-essentialism debate). In addition, it describes three problems that theories of sex and gender tend to face: the (...)
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  • Reimagining Transgender.Robin Dembroff - forthcoming - In Talia Bettcher, Perry Zurn, Andrea Pitts & P. J. DiPietro (eds.), Trans Philosophy: Meaning and Mattering. University of Minnesota Press.
    'Transgender’ is often described either as an identity, or else as the full spectrum of gender nonconformity. In this essay, I suggest that these descriptions do not align with the conceptual labor that we often ask ‘transgender’ to do: highlighting people who engage in forms of self-directed gender nonconformity that are heavily penalized.
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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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  • 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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  • Appendix to "The female of the species: reply to Heartsilver".Alex Byrne - 2022 - Journal of Controversial Ideas 2 (1).
    More discussion of some issues raised in "The female of the species: reply to Heartsilver", Journal of Controversial Ideas 2: 1-22 (2022).
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  • What are biological sexes?Paul E. Griffiths - manuscript
    Biological sexes (male, female, hermaphrodite) are defined by different gametic strategies for reproduction. Sexes are regions of phenotypic space which implement those gametic reproductive strategies. Individual organisms pass in and out of these regions – sexes - one or more times during their lives. Importantly, sexes are life-history stages rather than applying to organisms over their entire lifespan. This fact has been obscured by concentrating on humans, and ignoring species which regularly change sex, as well as those with non-genetic or (...)
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  • Women-only spaces and the right to exclude.Holly Lawford-Smith - manuscript
    The central question of the paper is: do women have the right to exclude transwomen from women-only spaces? First I argue that biological sex matters politically, and should be protected legally—at least until such a time as there is no longer sex discrimination. Then I turn to the rationales for women-only spaces, arguing that there are eight independent rationales that together overdetermine the moral justification for maintaining particular spaces as women-only. I address a package of spaces, including prisons, changing rooms, (...)
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