Philosophy Feminist Metaphysics
by
Mari Mikkola
  • LAST REVIEWED: 08 October 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 November 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0297

Introduction

Since the 1980s, feminist philosophy has become recognized as a philosophical subdiscipline in its own right. Feminist philosophy is typically distinctive in being framed around specific concepts and background beliefs, which are sensitive to concerns about gender justice. From this perspective, feminist philosophers have advanced influential arguments in ethics, aesthetics, epistemology, and political philosophy. Among the core areas of philosophy, metaphysics has remained dismissive of feminist insights, and some feminist philosophers have been suspicious of any value metaphysics may have for their endeavors. Metaphysics typically investigates the basic structure of reality (what really or fundamentally exists) and its nature (what kinds of entities exist). It examines reality’s putative building blocks or basic structure “carved in nature’s joints.” For the task of uncovering and elucidating such a structure, feminist insights appear simply irrelevant. Moreover, metaphysics seems to be a paradigm value-neutral endeavor, which is prima facie incompatible with feminism’s explicitly normative stance and its emphasis on how gender makes a difference to philosophical inquiry. Nonetheless, feminist philosophers have taken up explicitly metaphysical investigations on a number of topics and increasingly so in the early 21st century. The basic ideas behind feminist metaphysics can be summed up as follows: it is about negotiating the natural and going beyond the fundamental. Feminist metaphysics places prime importance on examining ways in which the central notions and categories of metaphysics might be value laden in particularly gendered ways. In so doing, feminist investigations have expanded the scope of metaphysics in holding that metaphysical tools can help advance debates on topics outside of traditional metaphysical inquiry (e.g., on the nature of gender, sex, and sexuality). Feminist philosophers have also discussed more common metaphysical topics (e.g., relations, the self, essence, identity) from a feminist perspective. Finally, as feminist philosophers typically bring new methodological insights to bear on traditional ways of practicing philosophy, feminist metaphysicians too have recently begun interrogating the methods of metaphysics. They have raised questions about what metaphysics as a discipline is in the business of doing and considered whether traditional “mainstream” metaphysics is antithetical or friendly to feminist metaphysical projects.

General Overviews

Although feminist philosophers have discussed many broadly metaphysical questions over the years (e.g., about the nature of putatively gendered moral agency or ways of knowing), distinctly feminist metaphysics is a relatively new philosophical area. Therefore, general overviews on the topic are sparse. The most comprehensive introduction to topics in feminist metaphysics is Haslanger and Sveinsdóttir 2011. Newcomers to the subject should start with this encyclopedia entry. To date, there is no single textbook that provides a comprehensive overview of the subject. Stone 2007 offers a good starting point for many topics that are central to feminist metaphysics, although the textbook was written as a general introduction to feminist philosophy. By way of background, those new to the area should also find Witt 2002 and Haslanger 2000 useful. These texts do some helpful groundwork for seeing the benefits of the connection between feminism and metaphysics. Furthermore, although much of contemporary feminist metaphysics is analytical in methodology, Battersby 1998 and Stone 2007 offer notable exceptions.

  • Battersby, Christine. The Phenomenal Woman: Feminist Metaphysics and the Patterns of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1998.

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    One of the first monographs explicitly on feminist metaphysics. The book focuses on the notion of identity and in particular on how identity is constructed through birthing. Although systematic in method, the book draws heavily on post-Kantian Continental philosophy. A more challenging work that is not particularly suitable for beginners.

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    • Haslanger, Sally. “Feminism and Metaphysics: Negotiating the Natural.” In The Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy. Edited by Miranda Fricker and Jennifer Hornsby, 107–126. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

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      Discusses the alliance of feminism and metaphysics, which some take to be untenable. Suggests a way to develop a distinctly feminist metaphysics by engaging in a debunking project relative to gender (to demonstrate that it is distinctly social, not natural). Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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      • Haslanger, Sally, and Ásta Sveinsdóttir. “Feminist Metaphysics.” In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2011.

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        Provides the most comprehensive extant introduction to topics in feminist metaphysics. Considers in detail what it is for something such as gender to be socially constructed; how feminist philosophers have challenged the putative naturalness of central metaphysical categories; and how feminist philosophers have leveled critiques against various dualisms.

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        • Stone, Alison. An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2007.

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          Although written as a general textbook on feminist philosophy, Stone discusses some topics at the heart of feminist metaphysics: gender, sex, sexual difference, and essentialism. These topics are usually discussed more in an analytical manner, but Stone offers a nice methodological crossover by discussing them from both systematic and Continental perspectives.

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          • Witt, Charlotte. “Feminist Metaphysics.” In A Mind of One’s Own. 2d ed. Edited by Charlotte Witt and Louise Antony, 302–318. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2002.

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            Originally published in 1993, an early text that makes a two-fold argument that (i) there are no reasons for feminists to be suspicious of metaphysics; (ii) feminism has much to contribute to metaphysics (specifically, to metaphysical conceptions of humanity). Argues that the relationship between feminism and metaphysics is not anachronistic, contra skeptics.

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            Anthologies

            Although general collections on feminist philosophy often include papers on feminist metaphysics, only one edited collection to date exclusively deals with the subject: Witt 2011. Collections that contain a significant portion of feminist metaphysical texts and that are essential for those interested in this area of study, include Haslanger 2012 and Alcoff 2006. In addition, Witt and Antony 2002 along with Hintikka and Harding 1983 include some key early papers on feminist metaphysics, being among the first collections to feature papers on this topic (and being among the first feminist philosophy collections ever published).

            • Alcoff, Linda. Visible Identities. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

              DOI: 10.1093/0195137345.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A collection of Alcoff’s work spanning over fifteen years on social identity categories such as gender (a key topic in feminist metaphysics). Contains twelve papers, out of which chapters 1–6 are particularly important for feminist debates on gender. Although methodologically systematic, the papers draw on Continental traditions as well.

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              • Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

                DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199892631.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                A comprehensive collection of Haslanger’s work on social ontology since the early 1990s. It includes seventeen papers that (with the exception of chapter 6) have all been previously published. Many papers in this collection have gone on to define debates in feminist metaphysics on social construction and gender.

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                • Hintikka, Merrill B., and Sandra Harding, eds. Discovering Reality: Feminist Perspectives on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Methodology and Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Reidel, 1983.

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                  One of the first collections to deal with metaphysical issues in analytic philosophy from a feminist perspective. Includes sixteen papers that discuss metaphysical questions in epistemology, philosophy of science, and philosophy of social sciences. Second edition printed in 2003.

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                  • Witt, Charlotte, ed. Feminist Metaphysics. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2011.

                    DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-3783-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    A groundbreaking collection that contains eleven previously unpublished papers on feminist metaphysics. There are papers on the following topics: the ontology of sex and gender, personhood and subjectivity, and (broadly) the social construction of reality. To date, this is the first and only collection exclusively devoted to the topic of feminist metaphysics.

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                    • Witt, Charlotte, and Louise Antony, eds. A Mind of One’s Own. 2d ed. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2002.

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                      Although a general collection of papers on analytic feminism, the book contains some well-known articles on feminist metaphysics. Originally published in 1993, these were among the first of their kind and largely dealt with the idea that reality is socially constructed from a male perspective.

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                      Gender

                      Feminist metaphysics deals with a number of different topics, many of which overlap. One of the most important, however, is the topic of gender. Feminism is often taken to be the movement to end women’s oppression. One possible way to understand “woman” in this claim is to take it as a sex term: “woman” picks out human females, and being a human female depends on various biological and anatomical features (e.g., genitalia). Historically many feminists have understood “woman” differently: not as a sex term, but as a gender term that depends on social and cultural factors (e.g., one’s social position). In so doing, they distinguished sex (being female or male) from gender (being a woman or a man), although most ordinary language users appear to treat the two interchangeably. Which social factors are constitutive of womanhood, however, is a major feminist controversy. Thus, a rich literature on gender and sex has emerged since the early 1990s. Important and noteworthy metaphysical literature on gender can be broken into four categories: (1) sex/gender distinction, (2) gender skepticism, (3) gender nominalism, and (4) gender realism.

                      The Sex/Gender Distinction

                      In order to grasp feminist metaphysical discussions about the nature of gender and sex, beginners are advised to consult some introductory texts on the sex/gender distinction in feminist philosophy. Mikkola 2012 offers a helpful introduction to those with no prior knowledge of the relevant debates. Nicholson 1994 elucidates a view of the relation between sex and gender that was prominent in the late 1980s and early 1990s, whereas Antony 1998 considers how supposedly genetic and biologistic explanations of gendered behavior fail. Moi 1999, Stone 2007, and Warnke 2008 provide introductions to the sex/gender distinction from more Continental and historical perspectives.

                      • Antony, Louise. “‘Human Nature’ and Its Role in Feminist Theory.” In Philosophy in a Feminist Voice. Edited by J. Kourany, 63–91. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.

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                        An informative paper that discusses explanations of typically gendered behavior as allegedly being expressions of “our” human nature. An important early text on analytic feminist metaphysics that is more suitable for an advanced readership.

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                        • Mikkola, Mari. “Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender.” In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2012.

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                          Provides a comprehensive introduction to feminist views on sex and gender. Those unfamiliar with the relevant metaphysical debates should start here.

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                          • Moi, Toril. “What is a Woman? Sex, Gender, and the Body in Feminist Theory.” In What is a Woman? By Toril Moi, 3–120. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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                            This relatively long article provides a useful introduction to contemporary feminist debates on gender and sex. It is particularly valuable in connecting those debates to historical feminist work such as that of Simone de Beauvoir.

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                            • Nicholson, Linda. “Interpreting Gender.” Signs 20 (1994): 79–105.

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                              Elucidates earlier feminist work on sex and gender. It illuminates the slogan “gender is the social interpretation of sex” with a coat-rack metaphor: sexed bodies are like coat racks on which cultural conceptions of how males and females should behave “hang.”

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                              • Stone, Alison. An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2007.

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                                Chapters 2 and 3 of this general textbook provide an opinionated introduction to feminist theories of gender. Also includes an easily comprehensible introduction to Continental debates about gender. Particularly helpful for those unfamiliar with the topic and who wish to know more about postmodern gender theories.

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                                • Warnke, Georgia. After Identity: Rethinking Race, Sex, and Gender. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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                                  Although the book discusses social identity categories more generally, it contains insightful chapters on sex, gender, and identity. It is also notable in that it provides an interesting discussion that draws on both Continental and Anglo-American traditions.

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                                  Gender Skepticism

                                  Feminist political theory and identity politics of the 1970s and 1980s shared an underlying metaphysical perspective on gender: that of gender realism. On this view, women as a group were assumed to share some characteristic social feature, experience, common condition, or criterion that is constitutive of their gender and the possession of which makes some individuals women (as opposed to, say, men). All women are thought to differ from all men in this respect (or respects). Spelman 1988 and Butler 1999 provide conceivably the most famous critiques of this general metaphysical perspective, which underlies earlier feminist identity politics. Their positions are skeptical when it comes to questions of gender: strictly speaking, there is not a “social” kind of woman. Although the works of Spelman and Butler have been immensely influential and widely accepted in feminist theory, Mikkola 2006 and Haslanger 2000 take issue with gender skepticism. Gatens 1983 and Mikkola 2011 also reject the traditional sex/gender distinction but on different grounds than these prominent gender-skeptical positions.

                                  • Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. 2d ed. London: Routledge, 1999.

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                                    Locus classicus of poststructuralist feminist theory (originally published in 1990). An extremely rich and challenging text (among other things) arguing that gender is not something one is; it is something one does. Gender only comes into being through certain gendering acts, which renders it (strictly speaking) a compelling ontological illusion.

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                                    • Gatens, Moira. “A Critique of the Sex/Gender Distinction.” Beyond Marxism 1 (1983): 143–160.

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                                      An early critique of the prominent sex/gender distinction, which questioned an underlying and related distinction between nature (sex) and culture (gender). Raised doubts about the viability of the former distinction insofar as the nature/culture dichotomy is misguided. Reprinted in her Imaginary Bodies: Ethics, Power and Corporeality (London: Routledge, 1996).

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                                      • Haslanger, Sally. “Feminism and Metaphysics: Negotiating the Natural.” In The Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy. Edited by Miranda Fricker and Jennifer Hornsby, 107–126. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

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                                        In discussing the alliance between feminism and metaphysics, this article takes issue with the view that gender realism is always untenable. A debunking project that demonstrates gender is distinctly social and not natural can yield a fruitful gender realist position. Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                        • Mikkola, Mari. “Elizabeth Spelman, Gender Realism, and Women.” Hypatia 21 (2006): 79–96.

                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2006.tb01129.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          This text shows that Spelman’s widely accepted critique of gender realism may not be as plausible as feminists have assumed. Spelman only rules out some realist ways to grasp women’s social kind, but not gender realism per se. Proposes a gender realist position that avoids Spelman’s critique.

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                                          • Mikkola, Mari. “Ontological Commitments, Sex and Gender.” In Feminist Metaphysics. Edited by Charlotte Witt, 67–83. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2011.

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                                            Argues that the sex/gender distinction has unintuitive and undesirable ontological commitments that render it politically unhelpful. Thus, it puts forward a radical critique that urges feminists to give up the distinction.

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                                            • Spelman, Elizabeth. Inessential Woman. Boston: Beacon, 1988.

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                                              A classic text that argues there is no social kind of woman as such. Gender is not constructed independently of race, class, ethnicity, and nationality. And since societies differ from one another and are internally diverse, females are made into particular kinds of women. A hugely influential text, although argumentatively not the clearest.

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                                              Gender Nominalism

                                              Gender-skeptical views of Judith Butler and Elizabeth Spelman call into question the viability of women’s social kind. If feminism is the movement to end oppression that women as a group face, and this group is an ontological illusion, the rug is pulled out from under feminist politics. If gender-skeptical critiques are successful, nothing binds women as a type together, which would justify demands feminists make on behalf of women. Many have found the fragmentation of women’s social kind problematic for political reasons, and some take the articulation of an inclusive category of women to be the prerequisite for effective feminist politics. A rich literature has emerged that aims to conceptualize women as a unified type and genuine social kind. The literature can be divided into two: (a) gender nominalist—positions that deny there is something women qua women share and that seek to unify women’s social kind by appealing to something external to women; and (b) gender neo-realist—positions that assume there is something women qua women share. Frye 1996 and Young 1997 offer notable early gender nominalist views, and Frye 2011 provides a further, more recent, elucidation of her gender nominalist approach. In elucidating women’s social kind membership, Heyes 2000 makes use of Wittgenstenian family resemblance relations, whereas Stoljar 1995 and Stoljar 2011 draw on more contemporary resemblance nominalism.

                                              • Frye, Marilyn. “The Necessity of Differences: Constructing a Positive Category of Women.” Signs 21 (1996): 991–1010.

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                                                Proposes that certain “practices of difference” and relations in which women stand relative to one another construct a positive and self-standing women’s social kind. An early gender nominalist text that connects metaphysical issues with practical political concerns.

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                                                • Frye, Marilyn. “Metaphors of Being a Φ.” In Feminist Metaphysics. Edited by Charlotte Witt, 85–95. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2011.

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                                                  A more recent critique of gender realism (and an argument for gender nominalism) that takes issue with set theoretic elucidations of gender kinds.

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                                                  • Heyes, Cressida. Line Drawings: Defining Women Through Feminist Practice. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000.

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                                                    In this monograph, Heyes offers an elucidation of women’s social kind in Wittgensteinian terms: in the absence of some essential gender-defining feature, focuses on “family resemblances” among women.

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                                                    • Stoljar, Natalie. “Essence, Identity and the Concept of Woman.” Philosophical Topics 23 (1995): 261–294.

                                                      DOI: 10.5840/philtopics19952328Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      The most sophisticated and detailed nominalist elucidation of women’s type to date. Argues for a Pricean resemblance nominalist understanding of the type.

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                                                      • Stoljar, Natalie. “Different Women: Gender and the Realism-Nominalism Debate.” In Feminist Metaphysics. Edited by Charlotte Witt, 27–46. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2011.

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                                                        A more recent paper that continues arguing for resemblance nominalism with respect to gender. Does so by arguing against Mikkola’s (Mikkola 2006) defense of gender realism.

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                                                        • Young, Iris Marion. “Gender as Seriality: Thinking about Women as a Social Collective.” In Intersecting Voices. By Iris Marion Young, 12–37. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997.

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                                                          An interesting nominalist account that draws on Sartre’s notion of seriality to elucidate women’s social kind membership. Proposes a way to grasp how women are passively related to one another via certain practical everyday realities and habits, in the absence of a shared gender identity to bind them together.

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                                                          Gender Neo-Realism

                                                          Gender-skeptical views (such as those of Judith Butler and Elizabeth Spelman) see no genuine women’s social kind. If these views are correct, nothing binds women as a type together, which would justify demands feminists make on behalf of women. But if feminism has no subject matter, the rug is pulled out from under feminist politics, which is something many have found problematic. In the early 21st century, a wealth of literature has emerged that aims to conceptualize women as a genuine type or social kind. Gender nominalists have been convinced of the skeptical view that women as a kind share nothing that binds them together. Thus, they seek to unify women’s social kind by appealing to some relations external to women. Not everyone, however, holds that gender nominalism is the only tenable response, and some claim to avoid gender-skeptical worries by appealing to distinctly realist accounts of gender. Positions perhaps best characterized as “gender neo-realist,” take women as women to share some relevant experience or social feature. This shared feature is not, however, strictly speaking identical but usually taken to be multiply realizable. Zack 2005, Haslanger 2000, Haslanger 2003, and Alcoff 2006 argue for such realist understandings of women’s social kind. A notable break from these realist texts is Bach 2012, which argues that women make up a natural kind.

                                                          • Alcoff, Linda. Visible Identities. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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                                                            Chapters 5 and 6 offer a view of gender as positionality: in other words, gender is a position from which one can act politically and foster the development of specifically gendered self-conceptions. Although clearly written, those without a background in Continental/ hermeneutical traditions may nevertheless find this gender realist elucidation difficult to comprehend.

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                                                            • Bach, Theodore. “Gender is a Natural Kind with a Historical Essence.” Ethics 122 (2012): 231–272.

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                                                              A challenging paper that takes gender to be a natural kind (contra other recent elucidations): x is a woman due to x’s participation in a lineage of women, which requires that x be a reproduction of ancestral women (i.e., x must have undergone the right ontogenetic process of gender socialization).

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                                                              • Haslanger, Sally. “Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them To Be?” Noûs 34 (2000): 31–55.

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                                                                To date, the most influential gender realist position and a classic feminist metaphysical text. Argues that gender is constituted by one’s position in a social hierarchy that is justified on assumed or observed sex-marked grounds. Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                                                • Haslanger, Sally. “Future Genders? Future Races?” Philosophic Exchange 34 (2003): 4–27.

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                                                                  An important rejoinder to Haslanger 2000. It discusses the possibility that sex is a meaningful political distinction. So non-hierarchical social meanings of sex could constitute egalitarian genders, which make up a future socially just vision of gender. Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                                                  • Zack, Naomi. Inclusive Feminism. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005.

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                                                                    A short book putting forward the novel position that women have a disjunctive relational essence. They are human beings designated as female from birth (F) or biological mothers (M) or primary sexual choice of men (P). The relation of assignment to or identification with the FMP category is the necessary and sufficient condition for womanhood.

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                                                                    Sex and Embodiment

                                                                    In order to challenge the view that anatomy is destiny, feminists in the 1970s posited the widely accepted sex/gender distinction. According to this distinction, being a human female or male (i.e., one’s sex) depends on various biological and anatomical features (e.g., genitalia). By contrast, one’s gender (being a woman or a man) depends on social and cultural factors such as one’s social position and thus gender is socially constructed in some sense. In line with this, many people, including many feminists, have ordinarily taken sex ascriptions to be solely a matter of biology with no social or cultural dimension. It is commonplace to think that there are only two sexes and that biological sex classifications are utterly unproblematic. By contrast, some feminist biologists have argued that sex classifications are not unproblematic and that they are not solely a matter of biology. Our sex classification system is also (somehow) a social construction that has led feminists to elucidate how sex can also be socially constructed. Haslanger 2003 provides a helpful metaphysical background to understanding this idea; and Stone 2007 offers a useful outline of feminist debates on the constructed nature of sex. Feminists from more Continental philosophical perspectives and traditions have engaged in similar debates too, but more commonly under the auspices of “sexual difference” or by discussing “the body.” The idea of sexual difference is offered as a rejoinder to sex and gender. It aims to capture the embodiedness of human lived experience and how such embodied experiences are imbued with an array of symbolic meanings and associations. Much of this literature draws on psychoanalysis and Continental philosophy and can be challenging for those trained in analytic philosophy. However, Stone 2007 provides an extremely clear introduction to this literature.

                                                                    • Battersby, Christine. The Phenomenal Woman: Feminist Metaphysics and the Patterns of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1998.

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                                                                      This early work in feminist metaphysics investigates the notion of identity from a perspective that takes birthing to be the default (as opposed to the deviant) subject-position. Offers a Continental philosophical elucidation of embodied identity and sexual difference. Suitable for a more advanced readership.

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                                                                      • Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. New York: Routledge, 1993.

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                                                                        A classic and difficult work in poststructuralist feminist philosophy that argues for the social constructedness of sexed bodies. Does not deny the materiality of bodies but holds that gendered conceptual schemes work to “sex” our bodies: gendered assumptions (e.g., expectations about bodily dimorphism) “sex” our bodies, which renders embodied experiences intelligible to us.

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                                                                        • Haslanger, Sally. “Social Construction: The ‘Debunking’ Project.” In Socializing Metaphysics: The Nature of Social Reality. Edited by F. Schmitt, 301–325. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

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                                                                          Offers a helpful distinction between object and idea construction: social forces can be said to construct certain kinds of objects (e.g., sexed bodies) and certain kinds of ideas (e.g., sex concepts). Recommended as background reading for those unfamiliar with the relevant debates. Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                                                          • Lennon, Kathleen. “Feminist Perspectives on the Body.” In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2014.

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                                                                            A clear and helpful overview of feminist literature on the body and embodiment. Deals extensively with Continental feminist texts but outlines them with great clarity. Recommended reading for everyone interested in embodiment and the ontology of the body.

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                                                                            • Stone, Alison. An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2007.

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                                                                              Provides an opinionated introduction to social constructionist debates pertaining to sex. Argues that sex classification should take place on a spectrum: one can be more or less female/male and no sharp distinction between the two exists with intersexes and trans-people being at the center of this spectrum.

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                                                                              • Sveinsdóttir, Ásta. “The Metaphysics of Sex and Gender.” In Feminist Metaphysics. Edited by Charlotte Witt, 47–65. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2011.

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                                                                                This paper includes a novel recent account of sex construction that those interested in the topic should consult. It argues for a particular conferralist account of sex construction: sex is a property that aims to track some physical features but ends up tracking certain conferred socio-legal features instead.

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                                                                                Social Construction

                                                                                The sex/gender distinction is central to much feminist work, and it is often captured by the slogan “gender is the social interpretation of sex.” All humans are either male or female; their sex is fixed. But cultures interpret sexed bodies differently and project different norms on those bodies, thereby creating feminine and masculine persons. Gender differences then result from cultural practices and social expectations. Contemporary feminist metaphysicians typically denote this by saying that gender is socially constructed. This means that genders (e.g., women and men) and gendered traits (e.g., being nurturing or ambitious) are intended or unintended products of social practices. There are, however, many ways to understand how something can be socially constructed. A rich feminist literature has emerged to elucidate difference senses of social construction. Diaz-Leon 2013, Haslanger 1995, and Sveinsdóttir 2013 offer resources to navigate the contours of recent feminist metaphysical debates on social construction. They provide elucidations and typologies of different conceptions of social construction more generally. Haslanger 2003, Haslanger 2011, and Sveinsdóttir 2011 discuss specific senses of social construction relative to particular phenomena, such as ideology, sex, and gender.

                                                                                • Diaz-Leon, Esa. “What is Social Construction?” European Journal of Philosophy (2013).

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                                                                                  A detailed paper discussing, from a feminist perspective, the question: what does it mean to say that a property is socially constructed? Considers particularly causal and constitutive construction. Highly recommended as an advanced text for feminist and non-feminist metaphysicians alike.

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                                                                                  • Haslanger, Sally. “Ontology and Social Construction.” Philosophical Topics 23 (1995): 95–125.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.5840/philtopics19952324Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    Challenging yet a brilliant explication of how to understand the claim that something is socially constructed. The article offers the most comprehensive typology to date of different senses of social construction, which provides a theoretical basis for understanding social constructionist claims in feminist metaphysics. Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                                                                    • Haslanger, Sally. “Social Construction: The ‘Debunking’ Project.” In Socializing Metaphysics: The Nature of Social Reality. Edited by F. Schmitt, 301–325. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

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                                                                                      Outlines one particular kind of social constructionist project that Ian Hacking fails to consider: that of debunking. Examples of debunking projects include Haslanger’s own constructionist accounts of gender and race. Valuable for everyone interested in the metaphysics of social identities. Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                                                                      • Haslanger, Sally. “Ideology, Generics and Common Ground.” In Feminist Metaphysics: Explorations in the Ontology of Sex, Gender and the Self. Edited by Charlotte Witt, 179–207. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2011.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-3783-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        A novel paper in connecting critical theory and analytic social philosophy. Considers how problematic generics (about women and black people) have become hegemonic via social construction, which calls for ideology critique: to expose and undermine the workings of ideologies in the formation and maintenance of social structures. Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                                                                        • Sveinsdóttir, Ásta. “The Metaphysics of Sex and Gender.” In Feminist Metaphysics. Edited by Charlotte Witt, 47–65. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2011.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-3783-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          Provides an interesting recent elucidation of yet another form of social constructionism relevant for feminist metaphysics: conferralism, which basically means that gender and sex properties are conferred by social agents’ judgments. A more advanced text for those interested in sex/gender construction.

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                                                                                          • Sveinsdóttir, Ásta. “The Social Construction of Human Kinds.” Hypatia 28 (2013): 716–732.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2012.01317.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            A rejoinder to Sveinsdóttir 2011, the text outlines more generally the social constructionist project Sveinsdóttir calls “conferralist.” Important for grasping the feminist literature on social construction.

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                                                                                            Truth and Objectivity

                                                                                            Since the early 1980s, feminist epistemologists have engaged in lively discussions about scientific objectivity: whether some scientific practice or method yields objective knowledge, or whether the findings of supposedly objective scientific investigations are in fact distorted by certain gender biases harbored by individual scientists. Feminist metaphysicians have also discussed the notion of objectivity, but in a slightly different spirit (although much of the feminist metaphysical literature connects to feminist epistemological literature on objectivity). For feminist metaphysicians, the central issue pertains to whether reality can be objective or objectively accessible to us, given the force of social construction. It is a familiar feminist claim (deriving from the work of the feminist legal philosopher Catharine MacKinnon) that reality is “male” or arranged to fit the standards set by those with social power (namely, men). Bluntly put, the idea is that what counts as real and true are socially constructed from a male point of view; but due to ideological forces, they are being passed off as the “really” real and objectively true. MacKinnon has famously critiqued a supposedly objective standpoint that allows us to see reality as it “really” is, and she has argued that upholding such a viewpoint hinders the attainment of gender justice. In order to understand and explicate this claim, Haslanger 2002, Zuckert 2002, and Mikkola 2010 examine what MacKinnon’s anti-objectivist stance amounts to and whether it helps or hinders feminist political commitments. Alcoff 2011 and Janack 2011 have additionally developed accounts of experience that connect to epistemology and philosophy of mind in order to explicate the idea that reality is perspectival.

                                                                                            • Alcoff, Linda. “Experience and Knowledge: The Case of Sexual Abuse Memories.” In Feminist Metaphysics. Edited by Charlotte Witt, 209–223. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2011.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-3783-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              A novel and advanced paper about truth, memory, and the construction of reality. Takes issue with the view that memories cannot serve to produce objective, truthful accounts of experience since they are too susceptible to suggestion.

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                                                                                              • Haslanger, Sally. “On Being Objective and Being Objectified.” In A Mind of One’s Own. 2d ed. Edited by Louise Antony and Charlotte Witt, 209–253. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2002.

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                                                                                                A classic text (originally published 1993) that no one interested in analytic feminist metaphysics should ignore. Considers what the oft-made feminist claims that reason and reality are “male” or “masculine” could mean and how plausible they are. Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                                                                                • Haslanger, Sally. “‘But Mom, Crop‐Tops Are Cute!’ Social Knowledge, Social Structure And Ideology Critique.” Philosophical Issues 17.1 (2007): 70–91.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1533-6077.2007.00123.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Considers how to make sense of genuine disagreement in a social world saturated with ideological baggage. Offers a way to understand truth values of evaluative claims that avoids relativism, and thereby makes genuine disagreement along with ideology critique possible. Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                                                                                  • Janack, Marianne. “The Politics and the Metaphysics of Experience.” In Feminist Metaphysics. Edited by Charlotte Witt, 159–178. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2011.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-3783-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    A more advanced text for those interested in connecting feminist metaphysics with epistemology and philosophy of mind. Discusses the idea of experience relative to a worldview, which is commonly found in feminist discussions about how reality is constructed from particular powerful perspectives.

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                                                                                                    • Mikkola, Mari. “Is Everything Relative? Anti-Realism, Truth and Feminism.” In New Waves in Metaphysics. Edited by Allan Hazlett, 179–198. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

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                                                                                                      A paper that critiques MacKinnon’s radical rejection of objectivity. MacKinnon makes truth relative to a worldview; but if the powerful can project their worldview as being the objectively true one, feminist claims to the contrary problematically end up coming out as false.

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                                                                                                      • Zuckert, Rachel. “MacKinnon’s Critique of Objectivity.” In A Mind of One’s Own. 2d ed. Edited by Louise Antony and Charlotte Witt, 272–301. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2002.

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                                                                                                        Helps to spell out MacKinnon’s critique of objectivity, which she holds ontologically underlies liberal political and moral agendas. Useful for understanding MacKinnon’s metaphysics better, especially for those who are not experts on her work.

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                                                                                                        Anti-Essentialism and Intersectionality

                                                                                                        Gender-skeptical positions of Judith Butler and Elizabeth Spelman advance anti-essentialist and intersectional critiques of a particular metaphysical perspective: gender essentialism. This perspective looks at women as a group to share some characteristic feature, experience, or common condition that defines their gender and the possession of which makes some individuals women (as opposed to, say, men). For example, Catharine MacKinnon’s view of gender is said to be essentialist: it holds that sexual objectification is the common condition that defines women’s gender and what women as women share. Pointing out females who are not sexually objectified does not provide a counterexample to MacKinnon’s view: being sexually objectified is constitutive of womanhood; a female who escapes such treatment simply would not count as a woman. However, feminist usage of “essentialism” varies tremendously. Heyes 2000 notes that if meaning is fixed by use, feminists will find it hard to articulate what “essentialism” means. First, essentialism can be about kind membership: if some feature is necessary for membership in type F, that feature is essential to Fs qua Fs. Second, it can be about individuation: some property F is essential to Fs qua individuals so that were I (qua F) to lose this feature, I would cease to be me (that very same individual entity). These classificatory and individual essentialisms are sometimes treated as co-dependent: if some feature is essential for, say, membership in women’s kind, this feature must also be essential to women qua individuals. But this does not necessarily follow. Further, there is considerable confusion in the literature about what kinds of properties are essential in the first classificatory sense. Some equate essentialism with biologism; but clearly social features can also be essential in the sense of fixing type membership. So there is much divergence in the literature on what anti-essentialist critiques amount to. Heyes 2000, Stone 2004, Stone 2007, and Witt 1995 clarify feminist usage of “essentialism” and of anti-essentialist critiques. However, although feminist metaphysicians have helpfully discussed anti-essentialism, parallel philosophical literature on intersectionality is still missing. Intersectional critiques emphasize our situatedness in the intersections of many social categories. Thus, individual identities are never just, for example, gendered or racialized: they are both, and more relative to other identity markers (such as class and ability). Carastathis 2014 and Garry 2011 provide notable elucidations of what intersectional critiques amount to. Although much of the literature focuses on classificatory gender essentialism, Witt 2011 provides a discussion of individual gender essentialism.

                                                                                                        • Carastathis, Anna. “The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist Theory.” Philosophy Compass 9 (2014): 304–314.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/phc3.12129Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          The notion of intersectionality is often employed to argue against individual gender essentialism, but it is difficult to explicate. The paper provides a nice recent elucidation of the notion’s origins and how it derived from feminist critical race theory. Good for both beginners and for more advanced readership.

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                                                                                                          • Garry, Ann. “Intersectionality, Metaphors, and the Multiplicity of Gender.” Hypatia 26 (2011): 826–850.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01194.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            A more advanced and much-needed elucidation of intersectionality and gender. Those working on these topics should consult the paper. Reprinted in Crasnow, Sharon L., and Anita M. Superson, eds. Out from the Shadows: Analytical Feminist Contributions to Traditional Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                                                                                            • Heyes, Cressida. Line Drawings: Defining Women Through Feminist Practice. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                              First chapters of the book address essentialism in feminist philosophy. Provides a helpful discussion of the so-called methodological essentialism and how feminists can make generalizations about women without being essentialists in a problematic sense.

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                                                                                                              • Stone, Alison. “Essentialism and Anti-Essentialism in Feminist Philosophy.” Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (2004): 135–153.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/174046810400100202Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Provides a useful outline of feminist disputes over essentialism and argues for overcoming them with the help of the notion of genealogy: that women as a group have a distinct history that binds them together. A valuable paper in combining Anglo-American and continental feminist metaphysics.

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                                                                                                                • Stone, Alison. An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Polity, 2007.

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                                                                                                                  A great introduction to anti-essentialist critiques of classificatory gender essentialism. Particularly valuable in outlining black feminist and postmodern critiques.

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                                                                                                                  • Witt, Charlotte. “Anti-Essentialism in Feminist Theory.” Philosophical Topics 23 (1995): 321–344.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.5840/philtopics19952327Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    A critical introduction to feminist discussions about essentialism. Provides an outline of different influential anti-essentialist positions and clarifies what precisely is at stake with these positions. The article helpfully spells out important contours of feminist classificatory anti-essentialism.

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                                                                                                                    • Witt, Charlotte. The Metaphysics of Gender. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199740413.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      A short book with a big impact: one of the most impressive and notable accounts of individual gender essentialism to date. Argues from an Aristotelian perspective that gender is uniessential to us as social individuals: gender is the mega social role that unifies and makes practical social agency possible.

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                                                                                                                      The Self

                                                                                                                      Feminist philosophers typically argue that selfhood is relational: the self not only causally depends on there being a social reality; certain social relations are also constitutive of selfhood. Much of the feminist literature on selfhood is committed to substantive theses about the self being constructed in some sense and that the proper ontological picture of the self should take gender and embodiment seriously. Debates about the relational nature of the self are not, however, often conducted in feminist metaphysics. These debates figure rather more prominently in feminist discussions about autonomy: the picture of what autonomous agency consists of is said to require a relational conception of the self. This being the case, many of the metaphysical debates about the nature of the self have taken place in books and articles on autonomy and responsibility, as opposed to texts that are more squarely in feminist metaphysics. This literature is valuable in understanding feminist metaphysical debates about the self; however, feminist literature on autonomy is also extensive. The citations included here aim to introduce works that can be more straightforwardly categorized as feminist metaphysics. Those unfamiliar with feminist discussions of autonomy should consult Mackenzie and Stoljar 2000. Holroyd 2011 connects such feminist discussions with more standard metaphysical debates about free will and determinism. In order to grasp feminist views on the self more broadly and ones that go beyond feminist autonomy debates, see Meyers 1997 and Meyers 2010. Bartky 1990 provides an early elucidation of feminine subject formation from a phenomenological perspective and, more recently, Witt 2011 considers gendered selfhood from an Aristotelian perspective.

                                                                                                                      • Bartky, Sandra Lee. Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression. New York: Routledge, 1990.

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                                                                                                                        This work collects seven previously published essays that deal with the construction of femininity and the feminine self, where this construction enables the production and reproduction of oppressive social structures. Although methodologically systematic, the essays draw on phenomenology and the Continental philosophical tradition.

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                                                                                                                        • Holroyd, Jules. “The Metaphysics of Relational Autonomy.” In Feminist Metaphysics. Edited by Charlotte Witt, 99–115. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2011.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-3783-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Connects feminist relational autonomy debates with debates about free will and causal determinacy. Although not straightforwardly about the social constructedness of the self, a worthy rejoinder to feminist debates about the ontology of the self.

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                                                                                                                          • Mackenzie, Catriona, and Natalie Stoljar, eds. Relational Autonomy: Feminist Perspectives on Autonomy, Agency, and the Social Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                            A classic edited collection on relational autonomy. Contains twelve original articles, many of which discuss the constructedness and the relational nature of the self. Although not strictly speaking a collection on feminist metaphysics, this well-known anthology contains insightful feminist metaphysical discussions on the nature and ontology of autonomous agency.

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                                                                                                                            • Meyers, Diana, ed. Feminists Rethink the Self. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1997.

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                                                                                                                              A collection of ten papers on feminist relational conceptions of the self. Recommended for anyone doing more in-depth work on the nature of selfhood from a feminist perspective.

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                                                                                                                              • Meyers, Diana. “Feminist Perspectives on the Self.” In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2010.

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                                                                                                                                Introduction to feminist discussions about the self and helpful for those new to the topic. Notably, the entry contains an extensive and comprehensive bibliography to feminist debates on selfhood and related topics.

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                                                                                                                                • Witt, Charlotte. The Metaphysics of Gender. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199740413.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  The most detailed and impressive account to date of how gender is individually essential to our relationally constituted selves. The monograph argues from an Aristotelian perspective that gender is derivatively essential to our selves in being essential to us as social individuals, the latter being a component of selfhood.

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                                                                                                                                  Dualism

                                                                                                                                  Feminist philosophers have argued that traditional metaphysics (and philosophy at large) involves untenable dualisms, which fail to take the relational nature of particular phenomena into account. Butler 1993, Gatens 1996, Grosz 1994, Lloyd 1993, Prokhovnik 1999 and Scheman 1993 raise worries about dichotomies pertaining to nature/culture, reason/emotion, sex/gender, subject/object, self/other, and mind/ body. This literature on untenable dichotomies comes from more Continental and hermeneutical philosophical traditions. Furthermore, although these critiques are clearly metaphysical in spirit, it is not entirely uncontroversial to name their authors feminist metaphysicians. Many of the debates are conducted in the spirit of critiquing (both mainstream and feminist) metaphysics that retains dualistic thinking and does not challenge the apparent “givenness” of oppositional categories. The following literature should thus be taken as exemplary feminist critiques of metaphysics, rather than as literature necessarily authored by outright and self-proclaimed feminist metaphysicians. Many of the works listed below are more suitable for an advanced readership. Being metaphysical literature in feminist philosophy from a distinctly continental perspective, the texts may be particularly challenging for those trained in contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy. Stone 2007 is recommended as an introductory background for those unfamiliar with Continental feminism.

                                                                                                                                  • de Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex. Translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier. New York: Vintage, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                    One the best-known monographs in modern feminist philosophy. Rich in detail, it contains a classic critique of the opposition between being an “Absolute” subject (being male) and an “Other” (being female). Original in French: Le Deuxième Sexe. Paris: Gallimard, 1949.

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                                                                                                                                    • Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. London: Routledge, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                      A classic metaphysical text, although probably not recognized as metaphysics by its author. Deals with a number of prevalent oppositions; most notably, with that of givenness and constructedness of sexed bodies.

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                                                                                                                                      • Gatens, Moira. Imaginary Bodies; Ethics, Power and Corporeality. London: Routledge, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                        In this collection of previously published papers, Gatens questions tenable distinctions between nature/culture, biology/construction and sex/gender.

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                                                                                                                                        • Grosz, Elizabeth. Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                          Argues that the sex/gender distinction reflects politically problematic dualistic thinking that undercuts feminist aims: it is taken to reflect and replicate androcentric oppositions between mind/body, culture/nature, and reason/emotion that have been used to justify women’s oppression. Thus, the sex/gender distinction is devoid of any potential for emancipation.

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                                                                                                                                          • Lloyd, Genevieve. The Man of Reason: ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ in Western Philosophy. 2d ed. London: Routledge, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                            A well-known work that critiques the dichotomy between reason and emotion. Takes this opposition to map onto to distinction between males and females, due to which women are identified and associated with emotions (not reason or rationality) and ranked therefore as inferior. Originally published 1984.

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                                                                                                                                            • Prokhovnik, Raia. Rational Woman: A Feminist Critique of Dichotomy. London: Routledge, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                              Considers how the mind/body dichotomy has perpetuated gendered social hierarchies. Challenges this opposition and argues that “rational woman” is not a contradiction in terms. The monograph develops a new relational conception of rational womanhood and emphasizes the interdependence (not opposition) of reason and emotion, and of man and woman.

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                                                                                                                                              • Scheman, Naomi. Engenderings: Constructions of Knowledge, Authority, and Privilege. New York: Routledge, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                A collection of twenty-one previously published essays that transcend disciplinary boundaries in philosophy. Largely epistemological in subject matter, but with a strong metaphysical focus on challenging a number of accepted dualism (e.g., nature/culture, mind/body). Offers a rich resource for those interested in category formation and critiques of dualism from a more Continental philosophical perspective.

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                                                                                                                                                • Stone, Alison. An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                  A general textbook on feminist philosophy that provides a clear, opinionated introduction to topics at the heart of feminist metaphysics: gender, sex, sexual difference, and essentialism. Offers a helpful methodological crossover discussing these topics from both systematic and continental perspectives.

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                                                                                                                                                  Philosophical Methodology and Feminist Metaphysics

                                                                                                                                                  Feminist investigations have expanded the scope of metaphysics in holding that metaphysical tools can help advance debates on topics outside of traditional metaphysical inquiry (e.g., debates on gender, sex, sexuality). However, as feminist philosophers typically bring new methodological insights to bear on traditional ways of doing philosophy, feminist metaphysicians too have recently begun interrogating the methods of metaphysics. They have raised questions about what metaphysics as a discipline is in the business of doing and considered which philosophical tools are appropriate for doing feminist metaphysical work (e.g., how suitable are intuitions when conducting a metaphysical investigation of gender). The field of feminist meta-metaphysics is still developing. However, Haslanger 2005, Haslanger 2006, and Mills 2005 provide some guidance to social ontological tools and methods. Barnes 2014 discusses how “mainstream” and feminist metaphysics bear relative to one another.

                                                                                                                                                  • Barnes, Elizabeth. “Going Beyond the Fundamental: Feminism in Contemporary Metaphysics.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (2014): 335–351.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9264.2014.00376.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    A recent discussion of how (and whether) feminist metaphysics fits some prevalent contemporary conceptions of what metaphysics is about and what it does. Highly recommended for everyone interested in analytic feminist metaphysics, though more suitable for advanced readers than beginners.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Haslanger, Sally. “What Are We Talking About? The Semantics and Politics of Social Kinds.” Hypatia 20 (2005): 10–26.

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                                                                                                                                                      Provides a methodological rejoinder to Haslanger’s social constructionism. It argues for an ameliorative approach to explicating social kind terms: since gender is not found in nature’s joints, we should appropriate gender terminology that best helps feminists realize their legitimate political goals. Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                                                                                                                                      • Haslanger, Sally. “What Good are Our Intuitions? Philosophical Analysis and Social Kinds.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Suppl. 80 (2006): 89–118.

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                                                                                                                                                        A leading paper on thinking about the methods of feminist metaphysics. Given the influence of ideological forces when thinking about gender, Haslanger argues, we should reconsider the role and value of intuitions when doing social ontology. Reprinted in Haslanger, Sally. Resisting Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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                                                                                                                                                        • Mills, Charles. “‘Ideal Theory’ as Ideology.” Hypatia 20 (2005): 165–183.

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                                                                                                                                                          Much of feminist philosophy and feminist metaphysics is taken to involve non-ideal theorizing. Although not (strictly speaking) on feminist metaphysics, this influential paper elucidates such a methodological outlook and provides the most worked out account of non-ideal theory to date. Helpful as background to feminist meta-metaphysics.

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