Ordinary discourse is filled with discussions about ‘sexual orientation’. This discourse might suggest a common understanding of what sexual orientation is. But even a cursory search turns up vastly differing, conflicting, and sometimes ethically troubling characterizations of sexual orientation. The conceptual jumble surrounding sexual orientation suggests that the topic is overripe for philosophical exploration. This paper lays the groundwork for such an exploration. In it, I offer an account of sexual orientation – called ‘Bidimensional Dispositionalism’ – according to which sexual (...) orientation concerns what sex[es] and gender[s] of persons one is disposed to sexually engage, and makes no reference to one’s own sex and gender. (shrink)
Gender classifications often are controversial. These controversies typically focus on whether gender classifications align with facts about gender kind membership: Could someone really be nonbinary? Is Chris Mosier really a man? I think this is a bad approach. Consider the possibility of ontological oppression, which arises when social kinds operating in a context unjustly constrain the behaviors, concepts, or affect of certain groups. Gender kinds operating in dominant contexts, I argue, oppress trans and nonbinary persons in this way: they marginalize (...) trans men and women, and exclude nonbinary persons. As a result, facts about membership in dominant gender kinds should not settle gender classification practices. (shrink)
Alex Byrne’s article, “Are Women Adult Human Females?”, asks a question that Byrne treats as nearly rhetorical. Byrne’s answer is, ‘clearly, yes’. Moreover, Byrne claims, 'woman' is a biological category that does not admit of any interpretation as (also) a social category. It is important to respond to Byrne’s argument, but mostly because it is paradigmatic of a wider phenomenon. The slogan “women are adult human females” is a political slogan championed by anti-trans activists, appearing on billboards, pamphlets, and anti-trans (...) online forums. In this paper, I respond to Byrne’s argument, revealing significant problems with its background assumptions, content, and methodology. (shrink)
In this paper, we defend two main claims. The first is a moderate claim: we have a negative duty to not use binary gender-specific pronouns he or she to refer to genderqueer individuals. We defend this with an argument by analogy. It was gravely wrong for Mark Latham to refer to Catherine McGregor, a transgender woman, using the pronoun he; we argue that such cases of misgendering are morally analogous to referring to Angel Haze, who identifies as genderqueer, as he (...) or she. The second is a radical claim: we have a negative duty to not use any gender-specific pronouns to refer to anyone, regardless of their gender identity. We offer three arguments in favor of this claim (which appeal to concerns about inegalitarianism and risk, invasions of privacy, and reinforcing essentialist ideologies). We also show why the radical claim is compatible with the moderate claim. Before concluding, we examine common concerns about incorporating either they or a neologism such as ze as a third-person singular gender-neutral pronoun. These concerns, we argue, do not provide sufficient reason to reject either the moderate or radical claim. (shrink)
We want to know what gender is. But metaphysical approaches to this question solely have focused on the binary gender kinds men and women. By overlooking those who identify outside of the binary–the group I call ‘genderqueer’–we are left without tools for understanding these new and quickly growing gender identifications. This metaphysical gap in turn creates a conceptual lacuna that contributes to systematic misunderstanding of genderqueer persons. In this paper, I argue that to better understand genderqueer identities, we must recognize (...) a new type of gender kind: critical gender kinds, or kinds whose members collectively destabilize one or more pieces of dominant gender ideology. After developing a model of critical gender kinds, I suggest that genderqueer is best modeled as a critical gender kind that destabilizes the ‘binary axis’, or the piece of dominant gender ideology that says that the only possible genders are the binary, discrete, exclusive, and exhaustive kinds men and women. (shrink)
What’s important about ‘coming out’? Why do we wear business suits or Star Trek pins? Part of the answer, we think, has to do with what we call agential identity. Social metaphysics has given us tools for understanding what it is to be socially positioned as a member of a particular group and what it means to self-identify with a group. But there is little exploration of the general relationship between self-identity and social position. We take up this exploration, developing (...) an account of agential identity—the self-identities we make available to others. Agential identities are the bridge between what we take ourselves to be and what others take us to be. Understanding agential identity not only fills an important gap in the literature, but also helps us explain politically important phenomena concerning discrimination, malicious identities, passing, and code-switching. These phenomena, we argue, cannot be understood solely in terms of self-identity or social position. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Chinese translation courtesy of Zhuanxu Xu. We want to know what gender is. But metaphysical approaches to this question solely have focused on the binary gender kinds men and women. By overlooking those who identify outside of the binary–the group I call ‘genderqueer’–we are left without tools for understanding these new and quickly growing gender identifications. This metaphysical gap in turn creates a conceptual lacuna that contributes to systematic misunderstanding of genderqueer persons. In this paper, I argue that to better (...) understand genderqueer identities, we must recognize a new type of gender kind: critical gender kinds, or kinds whose members collectively resist dominant gender ideology. After developing a model of critical gender kinds, I suggest that genderqueer is best modeled as a critical gender kind that stands in opposition to `the binary assumption', or the prevalent assumption that the only possible genders are the binary, discrete, exclusive, and exhaustive kinds men and women. (shrink)
There has been extensive discussion of testimonial epistemic injustice, the phenomenon whereby a speaker’s testimony is rejected due to prejudice regarding who they are. But people also have their testimony rejected or preempted due to prejudice regarding what they communicate. Here, the injustice is content focused. We describe several cases of content focused injustice, and we theoretically interrogate those cases by building up a general framework through which to understand them as a genuine form of epistemic injustice that stands in (...) intertwined relationships to other forms of epistemic injustice. (shrink)
When one takes an intersectional perspective on patterns of oppression and domination, it becomes clear that familiar forms of systemic injustice, such as misogyny and anti-Black racism, are inseparable. Some feminist theorists conclude, from this, that the systems behind these injustices cannot be individuated—for example, that there isn’t patriarchy and white supremacy, but instead only white supremacist patriarchy. This chapter offers a different perspective. Philosophers have long observed that a statue and a lump of clay can be individuated although inseparable, (...) and that statues and lumps of clay do different explanatory and predictive work for the same causal outcomes. This chapter suggests that the same is true of systems such as patriarchy and white supremacy. These systems, like the injustices they produce, are inseparable. But they can be individuated, and when they are individuated, they do different explanatory and predictive work. (shrink)
Twice in the 2020 term, in Bostock and Comcast, the Supreme Court doubled down on the reasoning of “but-for causation” to interpret antidiscrimination statutes. According to this reasoning, an outcome is discriminatory because of some status—say, sex or race—just in case the outcome would not have occurred “but-for” the plaintiff’s status. We think this reasoning embeds profound conceptual errors that render the decisions deeply confused. Furthermore, those conceptual errors tend to limit the reach of antidiscrimination law. In this essay, we (...) first unpack the ambiguity of this but-for causal reasoning. We then show that this reasoning arises from a misapplication of tort law principles within antidiscrimination law, and that, as a result, it is both conceptually and normatively indeterminate. (shrink)
In the consolidated cases Altitude Express v. Zarda, Bostock v. Clayton County, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, the Supreme Court will decide whether or not Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Although the parties disagree as to the appropriate formulation of a but-for test to determine whether or not there was a discriminatory outcome, all parties do agree to the use of such a test, which asks “whether the evidence (...) shows ‘treatment of a person in a manner which but for that person’s sex would be different.’” City of Los Angeles, Dep’t. of Water and Power v. Manhart, 435 U.S. 702, 711 (1978). However, but-for tests confuse more than they clarify the inquiry; a discriminatory outcome cannot be explained by appeal to just a discrete characteristic of a particular person. Individuals are not discriminated against because of these characteristics per se. Rather, they are discriminated against because of the social meanings and expectations that attach to these characteristics. Beyoncé and Taylor Swift illustrate the difference between individual-level causation and social explanation in two separate songs, “If I Were a Boy” and “The Man.” The explanation for why the counterfactual ‘male’ Beyoncé and Swift are evaluated differently than their current ‘female’ versions does not lie in individual-level features considered apart from the social world, but in social-level roles and expectations associated with those features. For this reason, a social explanation test—one that asks whether the social meanings of sex characteristics, rather than the characteristics per se, explain the outcome in question—is more suitable for determining whether or not Title VII has been violated. (shrink)
Dembroff’s “Escaping the natural attitude about gender” replies to my “Are women adult human females?”. This paper responds to Dembroff’s many criticisms of my arguments, as well as to the charge that “Are women...” “fundamentally is an unscholarly attempt to vindicate a political slogan that is currently being used to undermine civic rights and respect for trans persons”. I argue that Dembroff’s criticisms fail without exception, and explain why the claims about my motives are baseless.
RobinDembroff (Real Talk about the Metaphysics of Gender, 2018) believes that ‘non-binary’ is a social kind. I have my doubts about this, but if it is a social kind, then it is a very special one. The membership conditions of the social kind ‘non-binary’ are only accessible to non-binary persons. They establish and police their own membership conditions (Dembroff 2018: 36f.): ‘Individuals are granted authority over their gender kind membership.’ So, if this is indeed a ‘social (...) kind’, then it is a highly unusual one. (shrink)
Our gender identity is our sense of ourselves as a woman, a man, as genderqueer, or as another gender. Our gender is the property we have of being a woman, being a man, being non-binary, or being another gender. What is the relationship between our gender identity and our gender? Recently, much work has been done on ameliorative accounts of the gender concepts that we should accept and on the metaphysics of gender properties. From this work 4 views of the (...) relationship between having gender identity G (e.g. having a female gender identity) and being a gender G (e.g. being a woman) have emerged. A first, the no connection view, says that gender identity and gender are entirely distinct; Sally Haslanger’s ameliorative account of gender, as well as Theodore Bach’s account of gender properties, are instances of this view. A second, the gender-identity-first view, says that all there is to our gender is our gender identity; this view is at least similar to views that Talia Bettcher and R.A. Briggs and B.R. George have argued for. A third, contextualist view, says that in some contexts and relative to certain standards, our gender identity determines our gender, and that in others it does not; Ásta and RobinDembroff have proposed and defended views along these lines. A fourth view, the two gender properties view, says that there are two properties that can make it the case that one is gender G (in any context), one’s having gender identity G and one’s being socially classed as a G; Katharine Jenkins and Elizabeth Barnes have proposed views along these lines. This article explains these 4 different views and spells out their prospects, and the problems they face, as both ameliorative and as metaphysical views. (shrink)
This article is a reexamination of the author’s understanding of pedagogy, aimed at developing an increased awareness of the provinciality, limits and blind spots of the pedagogy and knowledge systems of colonial modernity. It engages with particular Indigenous epistemological theorisations of non-human agency, with Haraway’s notion of multispecies entanglement, and with the Australian Great Barrier Reef in an inquiry aimed at noticing absences and hauntings of pedagogies of modernity, including the absence of ways of knowing and being without separability and (...) determinacy and the damage that has come of this. This opens space for contemplating separability and determinacy as ontological difficulties contributing to socio-ecological crises of our time. The article is intended as a move by the author toward developing greater capacity to stay with the trouble of educating and living on a damaged planet that is fast becoming uninhabitable. (shrink)
In recent years, many school librarians have been scrambling to build and expand their graphic novel collections to meet the large and growing demand for these materials. For the purposes of this study, the term graphic novels refers to volumes in which the content is provided through sequential art, including fiction, nonfiction, and biographical material. As the library field has not yet arrived at a set of best practices or guidelines for institutions working to classify and catalog graphic novels, this (...) study seeks to record the ways in which school librarians are handling these materials as well as issues and questions at the forefront of their minds. A survey of school librarians in the United States revealed that almost all of them collect fiction and nonfiction graphic novels, while 67% collect manga. Most respondents indicated that they are partly or solely responsible for the cataloging and classification decisions made in their media centers. For classification purposes, most have elected to create separate graphic novel collections to house their fictional graphic novels. Some include nonfiction graphic novels in this section, while others create a nonfiction graphic novel collection nearby or shelve nonfiction graphic novels with other items that deal with similar subject matter. Many school librarians express uncertainty about how best to catalog and classify longer series, adapted classics, superhero stories, and the increasing number and variety of inventive titles that defy categorization. They also struggle with inconsistent vendor records and past practices and suffer from a lack of full confidence in their knowledge of how to best classify and catalog graphic novels so that they are both searchable in the library catalog and easily accessible on the shelves. (shrink)
In this article, Dembroff argues that the category nonbinary should not be understood in terms of presentation or psychological states, but instead in terms of how its members are politically situated with respect to the binary expectations of Western gender ideology.
In this peer commentary on Maura Priest's "Transgender Children and the Right to Transition: Medical Ethics When Parents Mean Well but Cause Harm", I argue against the "mismatch" model of trans identity. On this model, which is prevalent in institutional and medical contexts, to be trans is to have one's gender identity "mismatch" with one's sexed body.
Analytic philosophy has transgender trouble. In this paper, I explore potential explanations for this trouble, focusing on the notion of 'cisgender commonsense' and its place in philosophical methodology.
Chinese translation by Zhuanxu Xu. Analytic philosophy has transgender trouble. In this paper, I explore potential explanations for this trouble, focusing on the notion of 'cisgender commonsense' and its place in philosophical methodology.
'Transgender’ is often described either as an identity, or else as the full spectrum of gender nonconformity. In this essay, I suggest that these descriptions do not align with the conceptual labor that we often ask ‘transgender’ to do: highlighting people who engage in forms of self-directed gender nonconformity that are heavily penalized.
A challenge of performing research in the paediatric emergency and acute care setting is obtaining valid prospective informed consent from parents. The ethical issues are complex, and it is important to consider the perspective of participants, health care workers and researchers on research without prospective informed consent while planning this type of research. We performed a systematic review according to PRISMA guidelines, of empirical evidence relating to the process, experiences and acceptability of alternatives to prospective informed consent, in the paediatric (...) emergency or acute care setting. Major medical databases and grey sources were searched and results were screened and assessed against eligibility criteria by 2 authors, and full text articles of relevant studies obtained. Data were extracted onto data collection forms and imported into data management software for analysis. Thirteen studies were included in the review consisting of nine full text articles and four abstracts. Given the heterogeneity of the methods, results could not be quantitatively combined for meta-analysis, and qualitative results are presented in narrative form, according to themes identified from the data. Major themes include capacity of parents to provide informed consent, feasibility of informed consent, support for alternatives to informed consent, process issues, modified consent process, child death, and community consultation. Our review demonstrated that children, their families, and health care staff recognise the requirement for research without prior consent, and are generally supportive of enrolling children in such research with the provisions of limiting risk, and informing parents as soon as possible. Australian data and perspectives of children are lacking and represent important knowledge gaps. (shrink)
Unlike gender inequality, racial inequality primarily accumulates across generations. In this article, Dembroff and Payton argue that transracial identification undermines collective reckoning with that injustice.
People who inject drugs are often the target of stigma that puts this already at-risk group at greater risk of harm. Past research has shown that holding stigmatizing views of people who inject drugs increases risky behaviors and is a barrier to their engagement in important medical and public health interventions. One explanation is that the negativity surrounding the group causes increased levels of anticipated emotional exhaustion, discouraging positive engagement. However, there has been minimal research focused on addressing this negativity (...) to reduce levels of held stigma against people who inject drugs. We hypothesized that giving people an imagined positive contact exercise about people who inject would lead to a reduction in stigma, since exposure to positive empathy may create new mental associations between stigmatized groups and more positive emotions and experiences. Secondarily, we hypothesized that positive empathy strategies would be more effective than traditional informational or learning based techniques, and that the latter would be more effective than a control condition. Our sample consisted of 375 participants recruited online. Participants were assigned to one of three study conditions: a positive empathy condition, an informational learning condition, or a control condition, and completed a posttest social distance measure. Results demonstrated that subjects exposed to the positive empathy stigma reduction condition experienced a significant reduction in held stigma while participants exposed to traditional informational learning techniques showed no significant reduction in held stigma. Positive empathy-based stigma interventions should be further researched as a promising avenue to reduce the effects of drug-related stigma. (shrink)
We argue that the claim that essence-based causal explanations emerge, hydra-like, from an inherence heuristic is incomplete. No plausible mechanism for the transition from concrete properties, or cues, to essences is provided. Moreover, the fundamental shotgun and storytelling mechanisms of the inherence heuristic are not clearly enough specified to distinguish them, developmentally, from associative or causal networks.
Mitchell et al.'s claim, that their propositional theory is a single-process theory, is illusory because they relegate some learning to a secondary memory process. This renders the single-process theory untestable. The propositional account is not a process theory of learning, but rather, a heuristic that has led to interesting research.
Two experiments using a realistic version of the selection task examined the relationship between participants' probability estimates of finding a counter example and their selections. Experiment 1 used everyday categories in the context of a scenario to determine whether or not the number of instances in a category affected the estimated probability of a counter-example. Experiment 2 modified the scenario in order to alter participants' estimates of finding a specific counter-example. Unlike Kirby 1994a, but consistent with his proposals, both studies (...) showed that probability estimates significantly predicted selection. Overall results point to the value of understanding selections in terms of their subjective expected utility. (shrink)
Institutional discrimination matters. The purpose of this longitudinal community‐based participatory research study was to examine institutional procedural discrimination, institutional racism, and other institutional discrimination, and their relationships with participants' health during a maternal and child health program in a municipal initiative. Twenty participants from nine multilingual, multicultural community‐based organizations were included. Overall reported incidences of institutional procedural discrimination decreased from April 2019 (18.6%) to November 2019 (11.8%) although changes were not statistically significant and participants reporting incidences remained high (n = (...) 15 in April and n = 14 in November). Participants reported experiencing significantly less “[when] different cultural ways of doing things were shared, the project did not support my way” from April 2019 (23.5%, n = 4) to November 2019 (0%, n = 0), Wilcoxon signed‐rank test Z = −2.00, p < 0.05. Some participants reported experiencing institutional racism (29.4%, n = 5) and other institutional discrimination (5.9%, n = 1). Participants experiencing institutional racism, compared to those who did not, reported a higher impact of the Initiative's program on their quality of life (t = 3.62, p < 0.01). Participatory survey designs enable nurse researchers to identify hidden pathways of institutional procedural discrimination, describe the impacts experienced, and examine types of institutional discrimination in health systems. (shrink)
We agree with Jones & Love (J&L) that much of Bayesian modeling has taken a fundamentalist approach to cognition; but we do not believe in the potential of Bayesianism to provide insights into psychological processes. We discuss the advantages of associative explanations over Bayesian approaches to causal induction, and argue that Bayesian models have added little to our understanding of human causal reasoning.