David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Summary Transsexuals are individuals who identify as a member of the gender opposite to that which they are born. Many transsexuals report that they have always had a feeling of a mismatch between their inner gender-based ‘‘body image’’ and that of their body’s actual physical form. Often transsexuals undergo gender reassignment surgery to convert their bodies to the sex they feel they should have been born. The vivid sensation of still having a limb although it has been amputated, a phantom limb, was first described by Weir Mitchell over a century ago. The same phenomenon is also occurs after amputation of the penis or a breast. Around 60% of men who have had to have their penis amputated for cancer will experience a phantom penis. It has recently been shown that a significant factor in these phantom sensations is ‘‘cross-activation’’ between the de-afferented cortex and surrounding areas. Despite this it also known that much of our body image is innately ‘‘hard-wired’’ into our brains; congenitally limbless patients can still experience phantom sensations. We hypothesise that, perhaps due to a dissociation during embryological development, the brains of transsexuals are ‘‘hard-wired’’ in manner, which is opposite to that of their biological sex. We go on to predict that male-to-female transsexuals will be much less likely to experience a phantom penis than a ‘‘normal’’ man who has had his penis amputated for another reason. The same will be true of female-to-male transsexuals who have had breast removal surgery. We also predict that some female-to-male transsexuals will have a phantom penis even although there is not one physically there. We believe that this is an easily testable hypothesis, which, if correct, would offer insights into both the basis of transsexuality and provide farther evidence that we have a gender specific body image, with a strong innate component that is ‘‘hard-wired’’ into our brains. This would furnish us with a better understanding the mechanism by which nature and nurture interact to link the brain-based internal body image with external sexual morphology..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Maria Alessandria, Roberto Vetrugno, Pietro Cortelli & Pasquale Montagna (2011). Normal Body Scheme and Absent Phantom Limb Experience in Amputees While Dreaming. Consciousness and Cognition 20 (4):1831-1834.
Regina M. O'Neill & Stacy D. Blake-Beard (2002). Gender Barriers to the Female Mentor – Male Protégé Relationship. Journal of Business Ethics 37 (1):51 - 63.
M. Sabine (2009). Body Integrity Identity Disorder (Biid)—is the Amputation of Healthy Limbs Ethically Justified? American Journal of Bioethics 9 (1):36 – 43.
Elizabeth M. Bucar (2010). Bodies at the Margins: The Case of Transsexuality in Catholic and Shia Ethics. Journal of Religious Ethics 38 (4):601-615.
E. PricE (2006). A Critical Review of Congenital Phantom Limb Cases and a Developmental Theory for the Basis of Body Image. Consciousness and Cognition 15 (2):310-322.
Monica Meijsing (2006). Real People and Virtual Bodies: How Disembodied Can Embodiment Be? [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 16 (4):443-461.
Rachel Wood & Susan A. J. Stuart (2009). Aplasic Phantoms and the Mirror Neuron System: An Enactive, Developmental Perspective. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (4):487-504.
Peter Brugger (2006). From Phantom Limb to Phantom Body: Varieties of Extracorporeal Awareness. In Günther Knoblich, Ian M. Thornton, Marc Grosjean & Maggie Shiffrar (eds.), Human Body Perception From the Inside Out. Oxford University Press 171-209.
V. S. Ramachandran (2008). Phantom Penises in Transsexuals. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (1):5-16.
Added to index2009-06-19
Total downloads98 ( #32,309 of 1,726,237 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #56,985 of 1,726,237 )
How can I increase my downloads?