Inspiration from JVN (Jonathan Van Ness)

In my research, I have come across a dominant notion of limited available conceptions. A rough sketch of the idea is that we have thoughts and feelings which we must communicate through available words and concepts. Sometimes, this means squeezing the thought or feeling into an available conception, which can result in certain important bits being left behind. Sometimes, this means that a word is not available to communicate the thought or feeling. With a general understanding, this idea can be applied to numerous things that we interact with every day.

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A Continued Discussion

In the past week, I have focused on Ásta’s article, “The Metaphysics of Sex and Gender.” Specifically, my goal has been to write a sympathetic summary of her interpretation. With this established, I will have a grounding for later criticizing and building upon her work.

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Some Thoughts on Feminist Metaphysics

I developed an interest in how gender applied to Immanuel Kant’s metaphysics while reading the Critique of Pure Reason as part of one of my spring 2019 courses, Kant and His Successors, in the Philosophy Department. With these concerns, I began a conversation with my instructor, Professor Aaron Griffith, and was referred to a piece by Ásta. In her article, Ásta writes about Judith Butler, a leading feminist philosopher, who proposed a metaphysical theory on gender. Upon reading the article, I felt the work was incomplete. Ásta set the stage for formally applying Butler’s views in a Kantian framework, yet gaps remained. In conversations with Professor Griffith, we agreed upon the promising claims in Ásta’s interpretation and that they required further development. 

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Abstract: Feminist Philosophy

In Bodies That Matter and Gender Trouble, feminist philosopher Judith Butler argues for the existence of a fundamental metaphysical category: gender. Although scholars agree upon the opaqueness of Butler’s writing, some, including Ásta, have merely scratched the surface of true clarity with an analogy of Butler’s metaphysics to a Kantian framework. Through an expansion of Ásta’s analogy, this research will consist of an analysis of Butler’s metaphysics on sex and gender through interpretive and critical lenses. The project will be guided by the question: How do we best understand Judith Butler’s metaphysics of sex and gender? Butler’s arguments undeniably revolutionized feminist philosophy. Improved comprehension of Butler’s opaque work will provide new, compelling insight into the metaphysics of sex and gender.

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