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CEPPA Talk – Katharine Jenkins (Glasgow)

October 29 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Title: ‘How To Be a Pluralist About Gender’

Abstract: There are various of attractive accounts of gender kinds on offer (Haslanger 2012, Asta 2018), as well as accounts of the ontology of human social kinds (or social groups) more broadly (Mallon 2016, Ritchie 2020) that are much more conducive to feminist aims than a lot of previous work in social ontology. As metaphysicians of gender, we are spoilt for choice! In this talk, I argue that we do not have to choose a single account of gender kinds, but can adopt a principled pluralism about gender kinds: there are many different varieties of social kinds that can be understood as gender kinds, and which ones we need to use in our theorising and practices depend on our explanatory and practical goals. Although many philosophers appear willing to entertain pluralism about gender kinds, little has been said about how this would work, and it is important to fend off the worry that pluralism would entail an ontological ‘free-for-all’. I offer a framework for systematising these different gender kinds, the ‘Constraints and Enablements Framework’ and show how it fends off the free-for-all worry, revealing gender pluralism as a metaphysically manageable and politically appealing position.

Jenkins Handout