Monday, August 01, 2016

The Bizarre Embargo On Questioning The Neo-Orthodoxy On Transgenderism

   I think the thing that perhaps strikes me as weirdest about the leftish neo-orthodoxy on transgenderism--where the flagship claim there is that "transwomen" like e.g. Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner are literally women--is that there seems to be no one anywhere in the mainstream (i.e. liberal-leaning) media articulating the very obvious, extremely weighty arguments on the other side of the issue. It's as if there's an embargo on even stating the arguments on the other side of the issue. When the arguments are so clear and obvious, and anyone should be able to articulate them more-or-less off the top of his head... Well, it really ought to strike people as creepy that these arguments aren't getting a hearing. In fact, the arguments are so obvious that only a campaign of social suppression can explain their absence from the public discussion.

2 Comments:

Blogger Darius Jedburgh said...

The most basic question here, which I have never seen addressed, is a broadly logical one. It seems we are supposed to effectively define 'woman' as 'someone who identifies as a woman' -- otherwise we admit the possibility that someone might identify as a woman, and yet not be a woman, and this is now treated in many quarters as thoughtcrime, verboten. But if 'woman' means someone who identifies as a woman, then there immediately arises a rather pressing question about what someone who identifies as a woman is identifying as. The attempt to specify this looks endless: she is identifying as someone who identifies as someone who identifies as someone who... etc. It is rather surprising that this has never even been brought up. It's a pretty glaring apparent problem with the intelligibility of what we're now supposed to be required to believe.

Invocations of Orwell are often tendentious or premature, but I am worryingly reminded here of O'Brien's attempt to force Winston to affirm an arithmetic falsehood.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I couldn't agree more JD, though I haven't squawked about this aspect of the thing in awhile. Now I'm mad about it all over again...

I mean...what is an F? An F is someone who thinks they are an F. Ok...uh...well...what is it that they think they are? What is the property F-ness that they think they have? Of course a lot of these people are nominalists, so I don't think it's above them to try something like: an F is someone who thinks that they are (truly?) called "F"... Since I think their goal is to win public acceptance of certain ways of speaking rather than to say true things, they might be happy with that.

Also, as for the enforced/voluntary silence point: philosophers absolutely can't resist a good regress...and yet...total silence from philosophers on this point so far as I can tell... Imagine if the right were pushing ideas and policies upsetting to the left, and their arguments contained that very same error... The Stone would be clogged with submissions.

I guess this is obvious, but my take on this is that two definitions of 'woman' are in play, the normal one, which does the heavy lifting of determining the meaning of the term, and then the "identification" point is a kind of a sidecar: a woman is an adult female human...and anyone who thinks they're a woman is also a woman. This won't work either philosophically speaking...but, again, to the extent that their goal is rhetorical victory and consequent social change, all they need to do is have something to say to stave off obvious theoretical defeat long enough to get new ways of speaking entrenched.

Does that sound overly cynical? I mean, I read something from Haslanger recently, and she seemed reasonably open about her goal being political change (as opposed to rational acceptability, one would think). At least that's the only way I could think to interpret her talk of "ameliorative analysis" (or was it "ameliorative concepts"?).

9:47 AM  

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