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The Ontology of Gender

Katharine Jenkins with Kate Ritchie

Gender matters to all sorts of people in all sorts of ways. But different ways of thinking about gender can appear to be in tension with one another. For example, thinking about gender as a valuable aspect of identity may seem at odds with thinking of gender as a social role that is pushed upon us. Sorting out these apparent tensions requires us to ask: what is gender? This question belongs in a branch of philosophy called ontology: the study of what there fundamentally is in the world – of what things exist and how they do so. This conversation between two prominent social ontologists will attempt to clarify some of the key contemporary debates in feminist philosophy, considering ways of distinguishing between sex and gender, the role of social structures, scripts, norms, and other cultural factors, and, ultimately, help us to find answers to the question, “What is it to have a gender?”

Katharine Jenkins is lecturer in philosophy at the University of Glasgow. Her research is primarily in social philosophy, especially the ontology of social categories. She is interested in how social categories such as races and genders exist, and how these categories are bound up with systematic injustices. / @dr_k_jenkins

Katherine Ritchie is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. Her research lies at the intersection of inquiry on language and the social world, with a focus on the nature of social groups (teams, committees, races, genders), the semantics of terms that pick out social groups (plurals, collective nouns, slurs, generics), and the interface between semantics and ontology.

Image by Simran Sood

23 November 2020 at 19:00:00

This event has passed.

7.00 p.m. (UK time)/2.00 p.m. (EST)

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