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Gender Concepts and Intuitions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020

Mari Mikkola*
Furness College, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UKLA1 4YG


This paper has two goals: it takes issue with a revisionary analysis of the concept woman and it defends certain linguistic intuitions about the use of the term ‘woman’. A number of contemporary feminists have been concerned with how to best define the concept woman: how best to cash out under which conditions someone counts as a woman. This concern strikes non-feminist philosophers and ordinary language users as surprising since (ordinarily) cashing out the said conditions doesn't appear to be problematic: aren't women simply human females? Most feminists disagree. They standardly understand woman as a gender concept and gender ascriptions are taken to depend on some social traits (like one's social role or position). These are distinct from sex ascriptions that are thought to depend on anatomical traits (like chromosomes and genitalia).

Research Article
Copyright © The Authors 2009

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