David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Neuroethics 5 (3):295-303 (2012)
Despite tremendous advances in neuroscience, the topic “brain, sex and gender” remains a matter of misleading interpretations, that go well beyond the bounds of science. In the 19th century, the difference in brain sizes was a major argument to explain the hierarchy between men and women, and was supposed to reflect innate differences in mental capacity. Nowadays, our understanding of the human brain has progressed dramatically with the demonstration of cerebral plasticity. The new brain imaging techniques have revealed the role of the environment in continually re-shaping our brain all along our lifetimes as it goes through new experiences and acquires new knowledge. However, the idea that biology is a major determining factor for cognition and behavioral gender differentiation, is still very much alive. The media are far from being the only guilty party. Some scientific circles actively promote the idea of an innate origin of a gender difference in mental capacities. Experimental data from brain imaging, cognitive tests or genetics are often distorted to serve deterministic ideas. Such abuse of “scientific discourses” have to be counteracted by effective communication of clear and unbiased information to the citizens. This paper presents a critical analysis of selected examples which emphasize sex differences in three fields e.g. skills in language and mathematics, testosterone and financial risk-taking behavior, moral cognition. To shed light on the data and the methods used in some papers, we can now—with today’s knowledge on cerebral plasticity—challenge even more strongly, many false interpretations. Our goal here is double: we want to provide evidence against archaic beliefs about the biological determinism of sex differences but also promote a positive image of scientific research
|Keywords||Sex Gender Brain Biological determinism Cerebral plasticity|
|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
Stanislas Dehaene, Elizabeth Spelke & Lisa Feigenson (2004). Core Systems of Number. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (7):307-314.
David C. Geary (1996). Sexual Selection and Sex Differences in Mathematical Abilities. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 19 (2):229.
Judy Illes, Raymond de Vries, Mildred Cho & Pam Schraedley-Desmond (2006). ELSI Priorities for Brain Imaging. American Journal of Bioethics 6 (2):W24-W31.
Judy Illes & Eric Racine (2005). Imaging or Imagining? A Neuroethics Challenge Informed by Genetics. American Journal of Bioethics 5 (2):5 – 18.
D. Rees & Steven P. R. Rose (eds.) (2004). The New Brain Sciences: Perils and Prospects. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Kristi Giselsson (2014). Book Review: Robert H. Blank. 2013. Intervention in the Brain: Politics, Policy, and Ethics. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. [REVIEW] Neuroethics 7 (2):247-249.
Similar books and articles
Rebecca Jordan-Young & Raffaella I. Rumiati (2012). Hardwired for Sexism? Approaches to Sex/Gender in Neuroscience. Neuroethics 5 (3):305-315.
Deboleena Roy (2012). Neuroethics, Gender and the Response to Difference. Neuroethics 5 (3):217-230.
Robyn Bluhm (2013). Self‐Fulfilling Prophecies: The Influence of Gender Stereotypes on Functional Neuroimaging Research on Emotion. Hypatia 28 (4):870-886.
Myra J. Hird (2004). Sex, Gender, and Science. Palgrave Macmillan.
Cynthia Kraus (2012). Critical Studies of the Sexed Brain: A Critique of What and for Whom? [REVIEW] Neuroethics 5 (3):247-259.
Hannah Fitsch (2012). (A)E(s)Th(Et)Ics of Brain Imaging. Visibilities and Sayabilities in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Neuroethics 5 (3):275-283.
Sandra E. Trehub & E. Glenn Schellenberg (1998). Cultural Determinism is No Better Than Biological Determinism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (3):427-428.
Dahlia W. Zaidel (1999). Neuronal Connectivity, Regional Differentiation, and Brain Damage in Humans. Philosophical Explorations 22 (5):854-855.
Alice H. Eagly & Wendy Wood (2005). Universal Sex Differences Across Patriarchal Cultures [Not Equal] Evolved Psychological Dispositions. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):281-283.
Jon Driver, Patrick Haggard & Tim Shallice (eds.) (2008). Mental Processes in the Human Brain. Oup Oxford.
Katrin Nikoleyczik (2012). Towards Diffractive Transdisciplinarity: Integrating Gender Knowledge Into the Practice of Neuroscientific Research. Neuroethics 5 (3):231-245.
Ruth Sample (2013). Autism and the Extreme Male Brain. In Jami L. Anderson Simon Cushing (ed.), The Philosophy of Autism. Rowman and Littlefield.
Diane F. Halpern (1998). Recipe for a Sexually Dimorphic Brain: Ingredients Include Ovarian and Testicular Hormones. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (3):330-331.
Richard P. Cooper & Tim Shallice (2010). Cognitive Neuroscience: The Troubled Marriage of Cognitive Science and Neuroscience. Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):398-406.
Added to index2011-06-10
Total downloads67 ( #31,512 of 1,696,233 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #77,982 of 1,696,233 )
How can I increase my downloads?