The Metaphysics of Sex and Gender
In this chapter I offer an interpretation of Judith Butler’s metaphysics of sex and gender and situate it in the ontological landscape alongside what has long been the received view of sex and gender in the English speaking world, which owes its inspiration to the works of Simone de Beauvoir. I then offer a critique of Butler’s view, as interpreted, and subsequently an original account of sex and gender, according to which both are constructed—or conferred, as I would put it—albeit in different ways and subject to different constraints.
KeywordsBody Part Regulatory Ideal Gender Category Biological Reproduction Gender Assignment
Thanks are due to the following colleagues and friends for comments on earlier drafts of parts of this chapter or conversations about it; of course, none of them is responsible for the views expressed herein or any errors of judgement or interpretation: Jennifer Church, Jeanna Eichenbaum, Sally Haslanger, Kattis Honkanen, Jennifer Hudin, Ada Jaarsma, Colin Koopman, Francesca Lattanzi, Jamie Lindsay, Helen Longino, Fiona Macpherson, Ishani Maitra, Rebecca McLennan, Uma Narayan, Jeffrey Paris, Elizabeth Potter, Dennis Rothermel, John Searle, Alice Sowaal, Jacqueline Taylor, Brian Thomas, Shelley Wilcox, Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, Charlotte Witt, Sigríður Ϸorgeirsdóttir, and my students in my classes on Social Ontology and Metaphysics at San Francisco State University.