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The Wrong of InjusticeDehumanization and its Role in Feminist Philosophy$
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Mari Mikkola

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190601072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190601072.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 September 2020

The Gender Controversy

The Gender Controversy

(p.21) 2 The Gender Controversy
The Wrong of Injustice

Mari Mikkola

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the so-called gender controversy that the book’s first part aims to overcome. In short: to refute biological determinism, feminists in the 1960s and 1970s argued that gender is a social notion. On this view, women as women share some gender-defining social feature(s). However, cultural and historical variability and gender-skeptical positions undermine the view that there is a single social kind of women around which feminism is politically organized. This has generated two sets of puzzles: one about the semantics of gender concepts, another about the ontology of gendered social kinds. These puzzles apparently threaten feminism’s political viability: without a way to conceptualize women’s social kind, feminism will lack a subject matter. Subsequently, a number of contemporary feminist philosophers have advanced various theories of gender to resolve the puzzles. The chapter outlines the relevant philosophical background and key theoretical underpinnings to understand feminist philosophical work on gender.

Keywords:   gender controversy, biological determinism, gender skepticism, semantic puzzle, ontological puzzle

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