The Metaphysics of Gender

The Metaphysics of Gender

3.68 (38 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.68 (38 ratings by Goodreads)

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The Metaphysics of Gender is a book about gender essentialism: what it is and why it might be true. It opens with the question: What is gender essentialism? After distinguishing between essentialism about gender viewed as a kind and essentialism about gender in relation to individuals and their lived experiences, successive chapters introduce the ingredients for a theory of gender essentialism about individuals, called uniessentialism. Gender uniessentialism
claims that a social individual's gender is uniessential to that individual. It is modeled on Aristotle's essentialism in which the form or essence of an individual is the principle of unity of that individual. For example, the form or essence of an artifact, like a house, is what unifies the material
parts of the house into a new individual (over and above a sum of parts). Since an individual's gender is a social role (or set of social norms) the kind of unity in question is not the unity of material parts, as it is in the artifact example. Instead, the central claim of gender uniessentialism is that an individual's gender provides that individual with a principle of normative unity - a principle that orders and organizes all of that individual's other social roles. An important ingredient
in gender uniessentialism concerns exactly which individuals are at issue - human organisms, persons or social individuals? Given the view of gender as a social role the claim of gender essentialism can only be coherently expressed of social individuals. The Metaphysics of Gender argues that a
social individual's gender is uniessential to it.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 168 pages
  • 141 x 209 x 20mm | 226g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0199740402
  • 9780199740406
  • 616,268

Table of contents

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Review quote

The book is extremely systematic and original. Witt brings to the discussion a solid background in metaphysics and Aristotelian ethics that informs her view. Drawing on this she is able to construct a very substantial and intricate argument for her conclusion... Moreover her view is utterly unique. It introduces a novel idea of the social subject and a twist on the idea of essentialism to get a genuinely interesting and provocative conclusion. Witt explains complex
metaphysical concepts in a way that is understandable and employs them artfully. The book relies on good clear examples at important points and will engage a broad readership. * Sally Haslanger, MIT * Charlotte Witt has published a bold new book on the metaphysics of our social world, in which she argues for gender essentialism...Her book is a sustained argument for a precise thesis that weaves together issues in feminist theory, metaphysics, moral psychology, ethics, and political philosophy. There are not many works that achieve this. Witt's book is a very important contribution to our understanding of the metaphysics of social reality and of sexist oppression. * Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
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About Charlotte Witt

Charlotte Witt is Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at the University of New Hampshire. She is the author of Substance and Essence in Aristotle and Ways of Being: Potentiality and Actuality in Aristotle's Metaphysics. She is also the editor of Feminist Metaphysics: Explorations in the Ontology of Sex, Gender and the Self, and the co-editor of A Mind of One's Own: Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity . She lives in Portland, Maine with her
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Rating details

3.68 out of 5 stars
- 38 ratings
5 21% (8)
4 39% (15)
3 29% (11)
2 8% (3)
1 3% (1)
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