Colloquium: March 19

Date/Time:  Friday, March 19th at 2:30pm via Zoom

Zoom link

Meeting ID: 962 1297 1124
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Speaker: Kit Fine, New York University

Title: The Concept of Gender


What is it to be a trans woman?  What is it to be a woman in a sense that is inclusive of trans women?  These questions raise a number of difficult conceptual issues.  What is the target concept of woman to which a proposed account of the concept should be responsive?  How do we avoid the vicious circularity that appears to be involved in partly defining woman in terms of taking oneself  to be a woman?  And how can the intended concept of woman meet the various different demands that have been placed upon it?  How can it function, for example, as a means of self-identification, as a role in society, and as a basis for political action?  I shall attempt to resolve these issues by offering a response dependent account of what it is to be a woman.  Under this account, one way to be a woman is appropriately to take oneself to be a woman.  But the circularity is harmless in a way that is characteristic of response dependent concepts; and the circularity is not merely harmless but actually beneficial in that it enables one to see womanhood not simply as a classification to which women will belong but as a social group to which a person may take themselves to be affiliated.