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The Metaphysics of Gender$
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Charlotte Witt

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199740413

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199740413.001.0001

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Gender and Social Normativity

Gender and Social Normativity

2 (p.27) Gender and Social Normativity
The Metaphysics of Gender

Charlotte Witt

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains the notion of gender used in articulating the claim of gender essentialism, and begins by drawing a distinction between sex and gender. Next, it explores the nature of social norms, and social normativity because an individual's gender, being a woman or being a man, is a position associated with a social role, a complex set of social norms. One central question about social norms is why individuals are responsive to and evaluable under them. The view developed here is that for some social positions individuals are responsive to and evaluable in relation to a social role simply because they occupy the social positions that correspond to the norms. For a range of social positions, including gender, social recognition is a necessary element in determining social position occupancy.

Keywords:   gender, essentialism, sex, social norms, social normativity, social position

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