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Title: Engineering genders : pluralism, trans identities, and feminist philosophy
Author: Cull, Matthew
ISNI:       0000 0004 9352 4224
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis is an attempt to provide an account of gender. In particular, it is an attempt to develop an ameliorative approach to gender that satisfies a number of transfeminist political goals. That is, following Sally Haslanger, I ask what do we want gender to be? In order to answer the question, I develop a novel Neurathian methodology for conceptual engineering, and a distinctively 'activist' take on that project. From there I criticise a number of theories of gender and suggest that we should instead adopt a position I call Ameliorative Semantic Pluralism. That is, a position that endorses multiple meanings for gender terms. I develop this position in conversation with those traditions that arose from the anti-essentialism debates of the 1990s – family resemblance theories, Butlerian performativity, deflationism, scepticism, and nihilism about gender. I provide novel critiques of each position but take seriously the concerns that each position had. I end the thesis by drawing on Audre Lorde to engineer one of the senses of the term 'agender' that speaks to my phenomenology, before using that account to critique some further recent attempts to theorise nonbinary gender identities.
Supervisor: Saul, Jennifer ; Barnes, Elizabeth Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available