"Truths are not relative. What are relative are opinions about truth."
- Nicolas Gomez Davila.
Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...
Pants-of-dog wrote:Do you mean gender roles or gender identity?
Pants-of-dog wrote:Whether or not gender identity (or gender roles) is biological should be determinable through empirical study. If it is biological, there will be physical evidence for this claim. If there is no such evidence, the number of people who believe otherwise is immaterial.
We still do not even have a definition of what the OP means by "gender".
For several pages, Fanon argues that black people must embrace blackness, and struggle on the basis of being black, in order to negate white supremacists social relations. But to stop there reproduces our one-sided existence and the forms of appearance of capitalism. Identity politics argues, “I am a black man,” or “I am a woman,” without filling out the other side of the contradiction “…and I am a human.” If the starting and ending point is one-sided, there is no possibility for abolishing racialized and gendered social relations. For supporters of identity politics (despite claiming otherwise), womanhood, a form of appearance within society, is reduced to a natural, static “identity.” Social relations such as “womanhood,” or simply gender, become static objects, or “institutions.” Society is therefore organized into individuals, or sociological groups with natural characteristics. Therefore, the only possibility for struggle under identity politics is based on equal distribution or individualism (I will discuss this further below). This is a bourgeois ideology in that it replicates the alienated individual invented and defended by bourgeois theorists and scientists (and materially enforced) since capitalism’s birth.
Victoribus Spolia wrote:These two are, if fact, related.
That is cute, it assumes that a standard or criteria by which validation is made is purely empirical.
Cultural-Marxists like Judith Butler, that more-or-less pioneered our current understanding of gender v. sex, argued based on the dialectic of history interpreted through cultural deconstruction NOT empirical analysis (in the scientific sense). That is, human sexuality at the biological level via empirical analysis, cannot trump thousands of years of historically recorded physiognomic morphology; wherein, the forms of gender expression changed from epoch-to-epoch.
Pants-of-dog wrote:That's possible, but does not change the fact that younhave yet to define if you are discussing gender roles or gender identity.
Victoribus Spolia wrote:@Wellsy,
I guess the biological-determinitive position would object that such "biological differentials" labeled as "the essence" of masculinity and feminity are not in fact extrapolated from an observation of social performativity, which seems to be your argument.
They would likely examine "common" characteristics of the historically manifested phenomena of social-performativity and correlate that to a reasonable and inferrable expression of biological sex in the social sphere.
For example (assuming the position that biological sex in some way determines gender). We see that the majority of tribes and civilizations, for the majority of the time, were patriarchal in their structure; wherein, males took the primary role as protector, leader, and provider; wherein, the women took the primary role of producing and caring for children in deference to the male position. Then, if we examine biological factors: males have better analytical capabilities, increased perceptual awareness, and greater muscle mass, heart size, and lung capacity, as well as increased aggression (from Testosterone) and such physical characteristics, can be observed in non-humans. Women, by contrast, have great inherent empathy, breasts capable of ordinary lactation, child-bearing capabilities, orgasmic reaction to rape-scenarios, smaller lung size, less bone density etc., which can also be observed in the animal world. these biological facts tend to indicate that the manifestation of certain socially performative roles and idenities are, in fact, inferrable to some degree by the dictates of human nature. Hence, the social-performing of roles and the nature of gender identification are (according to the biological view) dictated by human physicality, these being determined by correlations between presently observed physical traits and historically manifested roles and identities in gender.
Thus, it seems unfair for you to accuse the biological claim of deriving its conclusions by inferring a biological essence based on an observation of social characteristics (and I don't even subscribe to that view).
Marx's second argument against Kantian morality is that its focus on the free will belies the extent to which the will is itself determined by material conditions and material interests. The abstraction of the “free will” is illegitimate according to Marx because it attempts to prize apart the intellectual life of individuals from their economic, social, and historical context. A person with a will that is “wholly independent of foreign causes determining it,” to adopt Kant's phrase, simply does not exist in reality, and therefore such a subject makes a rather poor starting point for moral theory. (Later, in 1853, Marx writes, there critiquing Hegel, “Is it not a delusion to substitute for the individual with his real motives, with multifarious social circumstances pressing upon him, the abstraction of “free-will” — one among the many qualities of man for man himself”74!)
Of course, thirst must be satisfied. But will the normal person in normal circumstances lie down in the gutter and drink out of a puddle, or out of a glass with a rim greasy from many lips? But the social aspect is most important of all.
The idea of natural differences runs into difficulties on several fronts. Sociobiological explanations of human kinship, for instance, foundered when the predictions from genetics failed to match the realities of kinship systems actually documented by anthropologists (Sahlins 1977). It seems that social logic works independently of genetic logic. The explanation of gender hierarchy by a hormonal "aggression advantage' founders when it is discovered that higher testosterone levels follow from social dominance as much as they precede it (Kemper 1990)
Geary's argument, being recent and sophisticated, is particularly worth attention. Geary's account of sexual selection is based on individuals making choices that maximize their genetic payoff, very like firms in a free market maximizing their utilities in neo-classical ecnomic models. Geary can't really 'see' society as a reality, so his arguments don't have any place for institutionalized gender arrangements. For instance, in discussing the higher levels of violence among men than among women, all he can see is male vs male competition for reproductive resources; he cannot see military institutions, collective struggles, gendered interests and cultural definitions of manhood and womanhood. it is characteristic of this literature that Geary speaks constantly of 'males' and 'females', not 'men' and 'women'.
Lacking any account of social process, Geary constnatly falls back on evolutionary speculation to explain the facts of social life. it comes as a slight shock, after reading this 400-page monograph calling on the name of science and published by so august an institution as the American Psychological Association, to realize that the entire argument is speculation. Not one sex difference in psychological characteristics has actually been shown to result from evolutionary mechanisms.
Theordore Kemper (1990) argues that we need to replace the idea of natural differnece with a more complex chain of social-biologica-socail causation. Body-machine models of gender assume that hte machine runs by itself: that biological causation is indepdnent of society. But there have been no human (or even hominid) bodies outside society for a very long time. Social processes cna be traced for 2.5 million years, give or take a few weeks. (This is the approximate age of the earlist hand-tool cultures so far discovered by archaeologists (Semaw 2000). The discoery of such industries proves the social transmission of specific techniques for making stone tools, over this length of time.)
There are not two different and originally contrary objects of investigation body and thought, but only one single object, which is the thinking body of living, real man (or other analogous being, if such exists anywhere in the Universe), only considered from two different and even opposing aspects or points of view. Living, real thinking man, the sole thinking body with which we are acquainted, does not consist of two Cartesian halves ‘thought lacking a body’ and a ‘body lacking thought’. In relation to real man both the one and the other are equally fallacious abstractions, and one cannot in the end model a real thinking man from two equally fallacious abstractions.
This simple and profoundly true idea was expressed this way by Spinoza in the language of his time: thought and extension are not two special substances as Descartes taught, but only two attributes of one and the same organ; not two special objects, capable of existing separately and quite independently of each other, but only two different and even opposite aspects under which one and the same thing appears, two different modes of existence, two forms of the manifestation of some third thing.
If the traits of interest to evolutionary psychologists are universally distributed, then we should expect to find them in all humans. This partly explains the stock that evolutionary psychologists put in cross cultural psychological tests (see e.g. Buss 1990). If we find evidence for the trait in a huge cross section of humans, then this supports our view that the trait is an adaptation —on the assumption that adaptations are organ-like traits that are products of natural selection but not subject to variation. But given the wider scope view of evolution defended by philosophers of biology, this method of testing seems wrong-headed as a test of an evolutionary hypothesis. Certainly such testing can result in the very interesting results that certain preference profiles are widely shared cross culturally but the test does not speak to the evolutionary hypothesis that the preferences are adaptations (cf. Lloyd 1999; Buller 2005).
A classic example of the distinction between implicit and explicit cognitive function is to ask bicycle riders what they would do if their bike started tilting to one side. Many bikers respond that they would lean to the other side to right themselves. This is incorrect and would result in the person falling off the bike every few meters. Surprisingly, people seem to be quite capable of riding over long distances with no mishap. When placed on a bike, if it starts to tilt, people turn the handlebars, using their momentum to right their center of gravity, avoiding the fall. This function is independent of general processing, exists without awareness, and is specific to the bike-riding domain. So do we have an evolved bike-riding module? The answer is obviously no. Obvious because there is an apparent learning phase to bike riding where people do fall off every few meters (and, yes, because of the paucity of bicycles in the Pleistocene). In an area where the learning phase is less apparent, and the Pleistocene pressure more plausible, such “modules,” created by the most fundamental of learning processes, can readily but incorrectly be heralded as evolved traits.
Cosmides and Tooby’s second method of inferring adaptation is equally problematic. Just because a behavioral trait is found across cultures does not necessarily mean it is a product of adaptive evolution. Comparative psychologists have emphasized for decades that species-specific behaviors can arise through species-specific patterns of experience (Gray, 2001; Gottlieb, 1976; Lerhman, 1970). People the world over eat soup out of a bowl and not off of a plate. Gravity acts the whole world over and people adjust their behavior in light of this. The whole world over there is a benefit to cheating (providing you don’t get caught) and a benefit to being able to know when you’re being cheated. The fact that cheater detection is crosscultural does not automatically mean it is an evolutionary adaptation.
Referentialist views of language treat words as standing for, or referring to, objects. While Wittgenstein’s Tractatus espoused such a view, he later came to think one of the Tractatus crucial failings was that it ignored the difference between alternate kinds of words and uses of language. Consider the words ‘table’, ‘blue’ and ‘hot’, these do not all signify objects, and understanding the words does not in each case involve knowing what objects they stand for. Rather, according to Wittgenstein, it involves knowing how the words are used. Consequently treating reference as central to meaning gives a one sided and inaccurate view of language.
However in psychology this referentialist doctrine seems alive: In the misplaced reification of concepts as ‘concrete’ tangible things. As Gould argues, there is a strong tendency to believe that whatever received a name must be an entity or being, having an independent existence of its own. However on a Wittgensteinian take, we can reasonably be sure that no such ‘concept-entities’ can be found among the neurons in a person’s skull, they are concepts not concrete things. Confusing the two is equivalent to confusing a “map with a territory.”  Essentially it involves taking a pattern of behaviour, naming it, then taking this named thing to be a physical entity, then viewing someone’s behaviour as caused by having this entity inside them. Confusing psychological concepts with inner entities, like so, leads to postulating metaphysical explanations which actuality explain nothing. It is equivalent to saying a volcano erupts because it has ‘eruptability’ inside, or to say someone’s nervous behaviour is caused by an inner ‘neuroses’. This is merely to repeat the observation that they tend to behave in a nervous manner. The explanation merely repeats the description of the initial behaviour, yet the vacuousness of the explanation is concealed by pointing to a mystified inner entity; ‘neurosis’. This form of referentialism survives in psychology and leads to much conceptual confusion, distorting our notion of causality and providing only vacuous explanations[J1] .
Victoribus Spolia wrote:How one self-identifies and what roles such an identity participates in, are both subsets to the concept of gender. Its like asking someone who uses the term "vertabrate" as a point of contrast to "Invertabrate" whether or not they are speaking of mammals or reptiles.
Pants-of-dog wrote: Well, gender roles are a purely social construct, while gender identity is mostly biological for cis people and psychological or neurological for trans people.
So the answer is different according to which you are asking about.
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