Gender Is a Natural Kind with a Historical Essence

Ethics 122 (2):231-272 (2012)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Traditional debate on the metaphysics of gender has been a contrast of essentialist and social-constructionist positions. The standard reaction to this opposition is that neither position alone has the theoretical resources required to satisfy an equitable politics. This has caused a number of theorists to suggest ways in which gender is unified on the basis of social rather than biological characteristics but is “real” or “objective” nonetheless – a position I term social objectivism. This essay begins by making explicit the motivations for, and central assumptions of, social objectivism. I then propose that gender is better understood as a real kind with a historical essence, analogous to the biologist’s claim that species are historical entities. I argue that this proposal achieves a better solution to the problems that motivate social objectivism. Moreover, the account is consistent with a post-positivist understanding of the classificatory practices employed within the natural and social sciences.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
BACGIA
Revision history
Archival date: 2019-07-05
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Real Talk on the Metaphysics of Gender.Robin Dembroff - forthcoming - Philosophical Topics.

View all 16 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index
2012-01-06

Total views
1,997 ( #644 of 40,765 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
65 ( #8,186 of 40,765 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.