Hosted by the Department of Philosophy
Joint work with Aja Watkins (University of Wisconsin).
Abstract: The concept of biological sex guides research, clinical practice, science funding policy, and contemporary political discourse. In many such contexts, this concept is understood to mean that sex categories such as “male” and “female” crosscut other forms of biological categorization, such as species. We argue that there is no coherent definition of biological sex that applies to all sexually reproducing organisms in a consistent or useful way, and that there are shortcomings or gaps in existing pluralist accounts of sex. Furthermore, there are serious social and epistemic costs to using “biological sex” in place of more specific alternatives. Because of this, biologists and philosophers of science should consider eliminativism about the concept of biological sex. That is, we should consider eliminating the concept of biological sex from large swaths of biological practice and philosophical theorizing.
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