How Much Gender is Too Much Gender?

In Justin Khoo & Rachel Katharine Sterken (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Social and Political Philosophy of Language. Routledge. pp. 362-376 (2021)
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We live in a world saturated in both racial and gendered divisions. Our focus is on one place where attitudes about these divisions diverge: language. We suspect most everyone would be horrified at the idea of adding race-specific pronouns, honorifics, generic terms, and so on to English. And yet gender-specific terms of the same sort are widely accepted and endorsed. We think this asymmetry cannot withstand scrutiny. We provide three considerations against incorporating additional race-specific terms into English, and argue that these considerations also support eliminating the analogous gender-specific terms. With respect to these parts of speech, English should be no more gender-specific than it already is race-specific.



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Author Profiles

Robin Dembroff
Yale University
Daniel Wodak
University of Pennsylvania