Sex‐specific transcriptional and epigenomic profiles are detectable in the embryo very soon after fertilization. I propose that in male (XY) and female (XX) pre‐implantation embryos sex chromosomes establish sexually dimorphic interactions with the autosomes, before overt differences become apparent and long before gonadogenesis. Lineage determination restricts expression biases between the sexes, but the epigenetic differences are less constrained and can be perpetuated, accounting for dimorphisms that arise later in life. In this way, sexual identity is registered in the epigenome (...) very early in development. As development progresses, sex‐specific regulatory modules are harbored within shared transcriptional networks that delineate common traits. In reviewing this field, I propose that analyzing the mechanisms for sexual dimorphisms at the molecular and biochemical level and incorporating developmental and environmental factors will lead to a greater understanding of sex differences in health and disease. (shrink)
At the turn of the twentieth century, biologists such as Oscar Riddle, Thomas Hunt Morgan, Frank Lillie, and Richard Goldschmidt all puzzled over the question of sexual difference, the distinction between male and female. They all offered competing explanations for the biological cause of this difference, and engaged in a fierce debate over the primacy of their respective theories. Riddle propounded a metabolic theory of sex dating from the late-nineteenth century suggesting that metabolism lay at the heart of sexual difference. (...) Thomas Hunt Morgan insisted on the priority of chromosomes, Frank Lillie emphasized the importance of hormones, while Richard Goldschmidt supported a mixed model involving both chromosomes and hormones. In this paper, I will illustrate how the older metabolic theory of sex was displaced when those who argued for the relatively newer theories of chromosomes and hormones gradually formed an alliance that accommodated each other and excluded the metabolic theory of sex. By doing so, proponents of chromosomes and hormones established their authority over the question of sexual difference as they laid the foundations for the new disciplines of genetics and endocrinology. Their debate raised urgent questions about what constituted sexual difference, and how scientists envisioned the plasticity and controllability of this difference. These theories also had immediate political and cultural consequences at the turn of the twentieth century, especially for the eugenic and feminist movements, both of which were heavily invested in knowledge of sex and its determination, ascertainment, and command. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to call the attention, especially that of feminists, to the current progress in biology. It appears gender studies still confine themselves to outdated ideas of sex chromosomes like XX, XY (§10). However, science has been making progress. It no longer sticks to such matters as XX, XY. Its interest is now in Sry, a kind of gene (§11), and MIS, a kind of sex hormone (§14). Abnormalities of sex chromosomes are no longer (...) evidence to deny the biological approaches, for example. We shed light on this fact, putting gender studies in the context of chronologies of science as well (§§2-9). (shrink)
Following the tradition of feminist philosophers and scholars of science from the 1980s onward such as Evelyn Fox-Keller, Helen Longino, Anne Fausto-Sterling, and others who revealed how popular notions of masculinity and femininity infiltrated and shaped the content of scientific knowledge, Sarah S. Richardson's book Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome deserves a place on the shelf with this canonical literature. It addresses one of the most celebrated symbols of biological sex binary: the X (...) and Y chromosomes. The X and Y chromosomes, we learn, were not given the role of "sex chromosomes" upon their discovery in 1890 and 1905, respectively. Their transformation into the ultimate... (shrink)
Comparative mapping and sequencing show that turnover of sex determining genes and chromosomes, and sex chromosome rearrangements, accompany speciation in many vertebrates. Here I review the evidence and propose that the evolution of therian mammals was precipitated by evolution of the male‐determining SRY gene, defining a novel XY sex chromosome pair, and interposing a reproductive barrier with the ancestral population of synapsid reptiles 190 million years ago (MYA). Divergence was reinforced by multiple translocations in monotreme sex chromosomes, the (...) first of which supplied a novel sex determining gene. A sex chromosome‐autosome fusion may have separated eutherians (placental mammals) from marsupials 160 MYA. Another burst of sex chromosome change and speciation is occurring in rodents, precipitated by the degradation of the Y. And although primates have a more stable Y chromosome, it may be just a matter of time before the same fate overtakes our own lineage. (shrink)
Oogenesis being performed in the ovary shows two different kinds of nuclei in the nursing cells. The above mentioned nuclei are transferred and incorporated into the nuclei of developing eggs, which become sexually differentiated and showWolanski's methyl-green reaction. The sex determination is, therefore, cytologically progamic and genotypical. The spawned eggs in the jelly strings appear first of identical shape and are all coated from the very beginning with grainy bonellian pigment, but afterwards, being reared in free water cultures in the (...) absence of females, they differentiate into distinctly different male and female larvae. The numerical ratio of the sexually differentiated larvae is discussed. The true chromosomes in gamogenesis as well as in somatic cells have not been found. L'oogénèse qui a lieu dans l'ovaire montre deux sortes de noyaux dans les cellules nourricières. Les noyaux mentionnés ci-dessus sont transportés dans les noyaux des ovules en voie de développement qui se différencient sexuellement et montrent la réaction deWolanski au vert de méthyle. Le déterminisme du sexe est, par conséquent progamique et génotypique, du point de vue cytologique. Les ovules déposés en gelée sont d'abord de forme identique et sont tous recouverts, dès le début, du pigment granulé de boneliéne, mais, élevés par la suite, dans des cultures en eau courante, en l'absence des femelles, ils se différencient distinctement en larves mâles et femelles. La proportion numérique des larves différenciées sexuellement est discutée. Dans la gamétogénèse, comme dans les cellules somatiques, les vrais chromosomes restent introuvables. Während der Oogenese, die sich im Eierstock abspielt, zeigen sich zwei differente Kerntypen in den Nährzellen. Diese Kerne werden allmählich in die Kerne des sich entwickelnden Eies übertragen und dort inkorporiert. Das Ei wird dadurch geschlechtlich differenziert und zeigt dann dieWolanski's Methyl-grün Reaktion. Die sexuelle Determination ist somit progam und genotypic. Die in schnurartigen Gallerten abgelegten Eier sind am Beginn von gleicher Form und Grösse, so wie von Anfang an mit Körnchen des Pigmentes Bonellein bekleidet. In freien Wasserkulturen,ohne Weibchen, entwickeln sie sich in deutlich differenzierte männliche und weibliche Larven. Das numerische Verhältniss der geschlechtlich differenten Larven wird diskutiert. Echte Chromosomen sind weder bei der Gamogenese noch in somatischen Zellen gefunden worden. (shrink)
T. H. Morgan, A. H. Sturtevant, H. J. Muller and C. B. Bridges published their comprehensive treatise "The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity" in 1915. By 1920 Morgan 's "Chromosome Theory of Heredity" was generally accepted by geneticists in the United States, and by British geneticists by 1925. By 1930 it had been incorporated into most general biology, botany, and zoology textbooks as established knowledge. In this paper, I examine the reasons why it was accepted as part of a series of (...) comparative studies of theory-acceptance in the sciences. In this context it is of interest to look at the persuasiveness of confirmed novel predictions, a factor often regarded by philosophers of science as the most important way to justify a theory. Here it turns out to play a role in the decision of some geneticists to accept the theory, but is generally less important than the CTH's ability to explain Mendelian inheritance, sex-linked inheritance, non-disjunction, and the connection between linkage groups and the number of chromosome pairs; in other words, to establish a firm connection between genetics and cytology. It is remarkable that geneticists were willing to accept the CTH as applicable to all organisms at a time when it had been confirmed only for Drosophila. The construction of maps showing the location on the chromosomes of genes for specific characters was especially convincing for non-geneticists. (shrink)
This chapter examines a common objection to sex robots: the symbolic-consequences argument. According to this argument sex robots are problematic because they symbolise something disturbing about our attitude to sex-related norms such as consent and the status of our sex partners, and because of the potential consequences of this symbolism. After formalising this objection and considering several real-world uses of it, the chapter subjects it to critical scrutiny. It argues that while there are grounds for thinking that sex robots could (...) symbolically represent a troubling attitude toward women (and maybe children) and the norms of interpersonal sexual relationships, the troubling symbolism is going to be removable in many instances and reformable in others. What will ultimately matter are the consequences of the symbolism but these consequences are likely to be difficult to ascertain. This may warrant an explicitly experimental approach to the development of this technology. (shrink)
In ____Bodies That Matter,__ Judith Butler further develops her distinctive theory of gender by examining the workings of power at the most "material" dimensions of sex and sexuality. Deepening the inquiries she began in _Gender_ _Trouble,_ Butler offers an original reformulation of the materiality of bodies, examining how the power of heterosexual hegemony forms the "matter" of bodies, sex, and gender. Butler argues that power operates to constrain "sex" from the start, delimiting what counts as a viable sex. She offers (...) a clarification of the notion of "performativity" introduced in _Gender Trouble_ and explores the meaning of a citational politics. The text includes readings of Plato, Irigaray, Lacan, and Freud on the formation of materiality and bodily boundaries; "Paris is Burning," Nella Larsen's "Passing," and short stories by Willa Cather; along with a reconsideration of "performativity" and politics in feminist, queer, and radical democratic theory. (shrink)
The chapter introduces the edited collection Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications. It proposes a definition of the term 'sex robot' and examines some current prototype models. It also considers the three main ethical questions one can ask about sex robots: (i) do they benefit/harm the user? (ii) do they benefit/harm society? or (iii) do they benefit/harm the robot?
In July 2014, the roboticist Ronald Arkin suggested that child sex robots could be used to treat those with paedophilic predilections in the same way that methadone is used to treat heroin addicts. Taking this onboard, it would seem that there is reason to experiment with the regulation of this technology. But most people seem to disagree with this idea, with legal authorities in both the UK and US taking steps to outlaw such devices. In this paper, I subject these (...) different regulatory attitudes to critical scrutiny. In doing so, I make three main contributions to the debate. First, I present a framework for thinking about the regulatory options that we confront when dealing with child sex robots. Second, I argue that there is a prima facie case for restrictive regulation, but that this is contingent on whether Arkin’s hypothesis has a reasonable prospect of being successfully tested. Third, I argue that Arkin’s hypothesis probably does not have a reasonable prospect of being successfully tested. Consequently, we should proceed with utmost caution when it comes to this technology. (shrink)
Many feminist and queer scholars believe that one way to fight racism, sexism and homophobia is to challenge identity labels---ideas of what it means to be “black,” “gay,” “white,” “woman,” “lesbian.” Biology, however, continues to thwart this political agenda; the Body---the biological reality of skin color and sex chromosomes---makes it difficult to propose the idea that identity labels are merely social constructs, not natural facts. Female bodybuilding is a performance that literalizes the body as a site of artificial construction, (...) of intervention, modification. Furthermore, female bodybuilding is a performance of gender bending---women who construct hypermuscular bodies disrupt social norms of gender, performing a kind of self-styled hermaphroditism that begs the question, “why?” This essay explores how female body builders challenge identity labels of sex and gender because of the fact that their gender transgressions occur at the physiological level of the body. I argue that female bodybuilders parody dominant labeling philosophies of sex, gender, and sexual orientation, challenging our sex/gender paradigm in very unique ways. (shrink)
How should we react to the development of sexbot technology? Taking their cue from anti-porn feminism, several academic critics lament the development of sexbot technology, arguing that it objectifies and subordinates women, is likely to promote misogynistic attitudes toward sex, and may need to be banned or restricted. In this chapter I argue for an alternative response. Taking my cue from the sex positive ‘feminist porn’ movement, I argue that the best response to the development of ‘bad’ sexbots is to (...) make better ones. This will require changes to the content, process and context of sexbot development. Doing so will acknowledge the valuable role that technology can play in human sexuality, and allow us to challenge gendered norms and assumptions about male and female sexual desire. This will not be a panacea to the social problems that could arise from sexbot development, but it offers a more realistic and hopeful vision for the future of this technology in a pluralistic and progressive society. (shrink)
In September 2015 a well-publicised Campaign Against Sex Robots (CASR) was launched. Modelled on the longer-standing Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, the CASR opposes the development of sex robots on the grounds that the technology is being developed with a particular model of female-male relations (the prostitute-john model) in mind, and that this will prove harmful in various ways. In this chapter, we consider carefully the merits of campaigning against such a technology. We make three main arguments. First, we argue (...) that the particular claims advanced by the CASR are unpersuasive, partly due to a lack of clarity about the campaign’s aims and partly due to substantive defects in the main ethical objections put forward by campaign’s founder(s). Second, broadening our inquiry beyond the arguments proferred by the campaign itself, we argue that it would be very difficult to endorse a general campaign against sex robots unless one embraced a highly conservative attitude towards the ethics of sex, which is likely to be unpalatable to those who are active in the campaign. In making this argument we draw upon lessons from the campaign against killer robots. Finally, we conclude by suggesting that although a generalised campaign against sex robots is unwarranted, there are legitimate concerns that one can raise about the development of sex robots. (shrink)
On some accounts, prostitution is just another form of casual sex and as such not particularly harmful in itself, if regulated properly. I claim that, although casual sex in general is not inher-ently harmful, prostitution in fact is. To show this, I defend an account of sex as joint action characteristically aimed at sexual enjoyment, here understood as a tangible experience of com-munity among partners, and argue that prostitution fails to achieve this good by incentivizing partners to mistreat each other. (...) To substantiate this claim, I explore ways in which prostitution fails on the virtues of temperance, respect, and sincerity. (shrink)
How wrong is it to deceive someone into sex by lying, say, about one's profession? The answer is seriously wrong when the liar's actual profession would be a deal breaker for the victim of the deception: this deception vitiates the victim's sexual consent, and it is seriously wrong to have sex with someone while lacking his or her consent.
I argue that the right to sexual satisfaction of severely physically and mentally disabled people and elderly people who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases can be fulfilled by deploying sex robots; this would enable us to satisfy the sexual needs of many who cannot provide for their own sexual satisfaction; without at the same time violating anybody’s right to sexual self-determination. I don’t offer a full-blown moral justification of deploying sex robots in such cases, as not all morally relevant concerns can (...) be addressed here; rather, I put forward a plausible way of fulfilling acute sexual needs without thereby violating anybody’s sexual rights. (shrink)
Some critics of sex-robots worry that their use might spread objectifying attitudes about sex, and common sense places a higher value on sex within love-relationships than on casual sex. If there could be mutual love between humans and sex-robots, this could help to ease the worries about objectifying attitudes. And mutual love between humans and sex-robots, if possible, could also help to make this sex more valuable. But is mutual love between humans and robots possible, or even conceivable? We discuss (...) three clusters of ideas and associations commonly discussed within the philosophy of love, and relate these to the topic of whether mutual love could be achieved between humans and sex-robots: (i) the idea of love as a “good match”; (ii) the idea of valuing each other in our distinctive particularity; and (iii) the idea of a steadfast commitment. We consider relations among these ideas and the sort of agency and free will that we attribute to human romantic partners. Our conclusion is that mutual love between humans and advanced sex-robots is not an altogether impossible proposition. However, it is unlikely that we will be able to create robots sophisticated enough to be able to participate in love-relationships anytime soon. -/- . (shrink)
This paper explores how a virtuous Kantian agent would regard and express her sexuality. I argue both that Kant has a rich account of virtue, and that a virtuous Kantian agent should view her sexuality as a good thing–as an important aspect of her animal nature. On my view, the virtuous agent does not seek to suppress her sexuality, but rather to find modes and contexts for its expression that allow the agent to maintain her self-respect and to avoid degrading (...) others. The paper begins by considering reasons, grounded in Kant’s texts, why one might reasonably think that Kant has a pejorative view of sexuality, and only the thinnest account of virtue, to offer. I then aim to correct this picture by more carefully and fully exploring Kant’s work, putting his apparently negative comments about sex, and apparently narrow account of virtue, in their proper context. I also dispute—based on Kant’s own principles—some of Kant’s claims about homosexual sex and masturbation as violations of duties to oneself as an animal and moral being. Finally, I conclude the paper with an account of the virtuous Kantian agent’s proper attitude toward her sexuality. (shrink)
Epicurus strongly discouraged sex, marriage, and the rearing of children. This paper looks at some of the primary evidence for these claims, clears up a translation of one passage, and emends another passage. (The emendation has been accepted into Dorandi's new edition of Diogenes Laertius).
Religious conservatives in the U.S. have frequently opposed public-health measures designed to combat STDs among minors, such as sex education, condom distribution, and HPV vaccination. Using Rawls’s method of conjecture, I will clear up what I take to be a misunderstanding on the part of religious conservatives: even if we grant their premises regarding the nature and source of sexual norms, the wide-ranging authority of parents to enforce these norms against their minor children, and the potential sexual-disinhibition effects of the (...) above public-health measures, their opposition to at least one of these measures, HPV vaccination, cannot be justified. In fact, their comprehensive doctrines, when properly interpreted, should lead them to back this measure and thereby draw closer to a policy consensus with other citizens regarding teenage sexual health. (shrink)
The most accessible edition ever published of Darwin’s incendiary classic, edited by “as fine a science essayist as we have” ( New York Times ) The Descent of Man , Darwin’s second landmark work on evolutionary theory (following The Origin of the Species ), marked a turning point in the history of science with its modern vision of human nature as the product of evolution. Darwin argued that the noblest features of humans, such as language and morality, were the result (...) of the same natural processes that produced iris petals and scorpion tails. To convey the revolutionary importance of this groundbreaking book, renowned evolutionary science writer Carl Zimmer edited this special abridged edition—made up of nine excerpts, each one representing one of Darwin’s major themes—and wrote illuminating introductions to each section, as well as an overall introduction. Zimmer brilliantly places Darwin’s basic ideas in the context of the current understanding of human nature and twenty-first-century DNA research. By accessibly presenting Darwin’s thinking to a modern readership, Zimmer eloquently demonstrates Darwin’s ever-increasing relevance and amazing scientific insight. (shrink)
We apply virtue ethics to evaluate the ethical implications of intimate human-robot relationships. Our evaluation develops in four steps. First, we present virtue ethics as a suitable framework for the evaluation of human-robot relationships. Second, we compare our account to instrumentalist approaches which draw on the work done by David Levy to show how our account avoids certain fundamental problems. Third, we examine how a virtue ethical analysis of intimate human-robot relationships could inspire the design of robots that support the (...) cultivation of virtues. We suggest that a sex robot which is equipped with a consent-module could support the cultivation of compassion when used in supervised, therapeutic scenarios. Fourth, we examine some further ethical implications for user autonomy and responsibility based on our analysis. (shrink)
Is sex work (specifically, prostitution) vulnerable to technological unemployment? Several authors have argued that it is. They claim that the advent of sophisticated sexual robots will lead to the displacement of human prostitutes, just as, say, the advent of sophisticated manufacturing robots have displaced many traditional forms of factory labour. But are they right? In this article, I critically assess the argument that has been made in favour of this displacement hypothesis. Although I grant the argument a degree of credibility, (...) I argue that the opposing hypothesis -- that prostitution will be resilient to technological unemployment -- is also worth considering. Indeed, I argue that increasing levels of technological unemployment in other fields may well drive more people into the sex work industry. Furthermore, I argue that no matter which hypothesis you prefer -- displacement or resilience -- you can make a good argument for the necessity of a basic income guarantee, either as an obvious way to correct for the precarity of sex work, or as a way to disincentivise those who may be drawn to prostitution. (shrink)
Despite a staggering body of research demonstrating sex differences in expressed emotion, very few theoretical models (evolutionary or non-evolutionary) offer a critical examination of the adaptive nature of such differences. From the perspective of a socio-relational framework, emotive behaviors evolved to promote the attraction and aversion of different types of relationships by advertising the two most parsimonious properties of reciprocity potential, or perceived attractiveness as a prospective social partner. These are the individual's (a) perceived capacity or ability to provide expedient (...) resources, or to inflict immediate harm onto others, and their (b) perceived trustworthiness or probability of actually reciprocating altruism (Vigil 2007). Depending on the unique social demands and relational constraints that each sex evolved, individuals should be sensitive to advertise and cues through selective displays of dominant versus submissive and masculine versus feminine emotive behaviors, respectively. In this article, I introduce the basic theoretical assumptions and hypotheses of the framework, and show how the models provide a solid scaffold with which to begin to interpret common sex differences in the emotional development literature. I conclude by describing how the framework can be used to predict condition-based and situation-based variation in affect and other forms of expressive behaviors. (shrink)
This research focuses on the similarities and differences in the cognitive moral development of business professionals and graduate business students in two countries, India and the United States. Factors that potentially influence cognitive moral development, namely, culture, education, sex and gender are analyzed and discussed. Implications for ethics education in graduate business schools and professional associations are considered. Future research on the cognitive moral development of graduate business students and business professionals is recommended.
What are the effects of circumcision on sexual function and experience? And what does sex—in the sense related to gender—have to do with the ethics of circumcision? Jacobs and Arora (2015) give short shrift to the first of these questions; and they do not seem to have considered the second. In this commentary, I explore the relationship between sex (in both senses) and infant male circumcision, and draw some conclusions about the ongoing debate regarding this controversial practice.
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. (shrink)
People often assume that everyone can be divided by sex/gender (that is, by physical and social characteristics having to do with maleness and femaleness) into two tidy categories: male and female. Careful thought, however, leads us to reject that simple ‘binary’ picture, since not all people fall precisely into one group or the other. But if we do not think of sex/gender in terms of those two categories, how else might we think of it? Here I consider four distinct models; (...) each model correctly captures some features of sex/gender, and so each is appropriate in some contexts. But the first three models are inadequate when tough questions arise, like whether trans women should be admitted as students at a women’s college or when it is appropriate for intersex athletes to compete in women’s athletic events. (‘Trans’ refers to the wide range of people who have an atypical gender identity for someone of their birth-assigned sex, and ‘intersex’ refers to people whose bodies naturally develop with markedly different physical sex characteristics than are paradigmatic of either men or women.) Such questions of inclusion and exclusion matter enormously to the people whose lives are affected by them, but ordinary notions of sex/gender offer few answers. The fourth model I describe is especially designed to make those hard decisions easier by providing a process to clarify what matters. (shrink)
In this article, we argue that there is an essential difference between social intelligence and creative intelligence, and that they have their foundation in human sexuality. For sex differences, we refer to the vast psychological, neurological, and cognitive science research where problem-solving, verbal skills, logical reasoning, and other topics are dealt with. Intelligence tests suggest that, on average, neither sex has more general intelligence than the other. Though people are equals in general intelligence, they are different in special forms of (...) intelligence such as social intelligence and creative intelligence, the former dominant in women, the latter dominant in men. The dominance of creative intelligence in men needs to be explained. The focus of our research is on the strictly anthropological aspects, and consequently our explanation for this fact is based on the male-female polarity in the mating systems. Sexual dimorphism does not only regard bodily differences but implies different forms of sex life. Sex researchers distinguish between two levels of sexual intercourse: procreative sex and recreational sex, and to these we would add “creative sex.” On all three levels, there is a behavioral difference between men and women, including the subjective experience. These differences are as well attributed to culture as genetically founded in nature. Sexual reproduction is only possible if females cooperate. Their biological inheritance makes females play a decisive role in mate choice. Recreational sex for the purpose of pleasure rather than reproduction results from female extended sexual activity. Creative sex, on the contrary, is a specifically male performance of sexuality. We identify creative sex with eroticism. Eroticism evolved through the transformation of the sexual drive into a mental state of expectation and fantasizing. Hence, sex differences (that nowadays are covered up by cultural egalitarianism) continue to be the evolutionary origin of the difference between social and creative intelligence. (shrink)
However liberalism is best understood, liberals typically seek to defend a wide range of liberty. Since same-sex marriage [henceforth: SSM] prohibitions limit the liberty of citizens, there is at least some reason to suppose that they are inconsistent with liberal commitments. But some have argued that it is the recognition of SSM—not its prohibition—that conflicts with liberalism’s commitments. I refer to the thesis that recognition of SSM is illiberal as “The Charge.” As a sympathetic liberal, I take The Charge seriously (...) enough to consider and ultimately reject it. Ultimately, I contend that The Charge is simply misguided and that arguments for it either fail to find support in some liberal principle or else find support from some illiberal principle. (shrink)