Invariantist, Contextualist, and Relativist Accounts of Gender Terms

EurAmerica 4 (50):739-781 (2020)
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Abstract

In this paper, I explore a range of existent and possible ameliorative semantic theories of gender terms: invariantism, according to which gender terms are not context-sensitive, contextualism, according to which the meaning of gender terms is established in the context of use, and relativism, according to which the meaning of gender terms is established in the context of assessment. I show that none of these views is adequate with respect to the plight of trans people to use their term of choice to self-identify and be referred to accordingly. I then consider an invariantist view based on self-identification and explore some of its challenges.

Author's Profile

Dan Zeman
University of Warsaw

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