A dispositional account of gender

Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2575-2589 (2015)
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According to some philosophers, gender is a social role or pattern of behavior in a social context. I argue that these accounts have problematic implications for transgender. I suggest that gender is a complex behavioral disposition, or cluster of dispositions. Furthermore, since gender norms are culturally relative, one’s gender is partially constituted by extrinsic factors. I argue that this has advantages over thinking of gender as behavior, and has the added advantage of accommodating the possibility of an appearance/reality dissonance with respect to one’s gender

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Jennifer McKitrick
University of Nebraska, Lincoln


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