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Gender as an anti-concept

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That's a separate thing. I agree that rules can always be refined and bettered with more information, but the fact that there are exceptions does not affect the rule unless you demand that the rule includes the word "all" at the beginning of it. If I say, "let's go swan hunting! Keep your eyes open for any large white birds." The fact that its possible that they can very occasionally be black or that someone dyed a couple swans blue doesn't change the usefulness of looking for a large white bird.

My use of "all" is an attempt to make your "rules" rules.

Your comment about the "usefulness of looking for a large white bird" when looking for a swan isn't to our point here. Remember the context. We're discussing this as an ancillary topic to the morality of transgenderism, and whether a person who changes sex (superficially at least) is somehow "at metaphysical war with their nature" or something like that, which is the claim that some people make.

Or, in terms of your swans, there must be something about being a "white swan" versus being a "black swan," apart from simply their plumage, that relates to their innermost swanny nature. And we would advise a white swan which desires to be black 1) that it can never truly be a black swan, no matter what it does to its feathers; and 2) that this desire and resultant activity is illogical and immoral (because it is "against its nature," which is for some unstated reason accounted as "the good qua swans").

We gain nothing if we drop that context and pretend not to know what is at issue here.

So if you have nothing to say about gender that applies to "all," then you have nothing to say about gender that makes someone who wishes to change sex necessarily irrational, immoral, or etc. If there are no "all" rules, then there are no rules that constrain the individual for whom that (misnamed) "rule" doesn't actually apply.

It's a nice equitable thought, but it's not how our brains function. We don't treat each new experience as a first.

Where do I say that we "treat each new experience as a first"? Where do I suggest any such thing?

I say, rather, that we treat people as individuals. Not for nothing, but because -- based on my experiences -- people are individuals. That's not an easy thing to grasp, and it's rather a stereotype in itself (is it not?) that those who tend to make assumptions of people based on their race, gender, and etc., tend to be the most ignorant/uneducated among us. Those with more experience, knowledge and insight recognize that individuals must be judged on their own, individual merits.

Also, I think the fact that you keep adding "every" and "all" to each reiteration of my examples is a large part of what makes them so unpalatable.

Of course. It demonstrates that none of your examples can be satisfactorily generalized. Which is the point.

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My use of "all" is an attempt to make your "rules" rules.

Semantic arguments bore me, but if you prefer we can call them rules of thumb. If I say things fall toward the earth, your going to point out that helium balloons don't. Great. I'm not daft. When you do this though, I feel as though you're ignoring my meaning especially since I've now stated on several occasions that I am talking about rules in which there exist a number of unknowns and exceptions. I really have no idea what you are trying to accomplish with that approach.

Your comment about the "usefulness of looking for a large white bird" when looking for a swan isn't to our point here. Remember the context. We're discussing this as an ancillary topic to the morality of transgenderism, and whether a person who changes sex (superficially at least) is somehow "at metaphysical war with their nature" or something like that, which is the claim that some people make.

We're at odds then, because I am primarily defending gender as a concept and not trying to defend Peikoff's position on them.

Or, in terms of your swans, there must be something about being a "white swan" versus being a "black swan," apart from simply their plumage, that relates to their innermost swanny nature. And we would advise a white swan which desires to be black 1) that it can never truly be a black swan, no matter what it does to its feathers; and 2) that this desire and resultant activity is illogical and immoral (because it is "against its nature," which is for some unstated reason accounted as "the good qua swans").

Again with the oughts? I made no sich oughts about the nature of transgendered people.

We gain nothing if we drop that context and pretend not to know what is at issue here.

More to the point, we gain nothing by arguing 2 positions from 2 different points of view.

Where do I say that we "treat each new experience as a first"? Where do I suggest any such thing?

I say, rather, that we treat people as individuals. Not for nothing, but because -- based on my experiences -- people are individuals. That's not an easy thing to grasp, and it's rather a stereotype in itself (is it not?) that those who tend to make assumptions of people based on their race, gender, and etc., tend to be the most ignorant/uneducated among us. Those with more experience, knowledge and insight recognize that individuals must be judged on their own, individual merits.

Oh...thanks!?!

Of course. It demonstrates that none of your examples can be satisfactorily generalized. Which is the point.

No, unfortunately it only demonstrates that there isn't much benefit to continuing this conversation. We're clearly not understanding each other at all.

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The cause is only important in assessing morality or in searching for ways to alter the fact. The fact remains immutable though.

No, the cause is important to evaluate if your observations are not mere correlation. True, that the statistic holds is a fact, but if you went on to change the context to outside the sample, your statistics are useless. Without a principle developed by understanding causation, the statistic is pretty useless, especially because you wouldn't know where the statistic would or would not apply. Assessing morality is enabled by looking at causality, but making scientific claims or useful concepts also depends upon causality. If you want your claims about gender to hold, we need to discuss causes, otherwise, we only have correlation. So far, you've mentioned some anecdotal evidence, which is okay, and studies that are basically only studies on correlation. Grames suggested earlier (post #65) that testosterone levels and estrogen levels bring about observed gender behavior. This is plausible. The only issue I have with that claim really is that I don't know how *much* an individual is affected. As I brought up with the "Asian's are good at math" stereotype, Asian genetics could possibly have *some* influence, but first language seems to have a much stronger impact than any other factor I can think of.

Edited by Eiuol

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No, the cause is important to evaluate if your observations are not mere correlation. True, that the statistic holds is a fact, but if you went on to change the context to outside the sample, your statistics are useless. Without a principle developed by understanding causation, the statistic is pretty useless, especially because you wouldn't know where the statistic would or would not apply. Assessing morality is enabled by looking at causality, but making scientific claims or useful concepts also depends upon causality. If you want your claims about gender to hold, we need to discuss causes, otherwise, we only have correlation. So far, you've mentioned some anecdotal evidence, which is okay, and studies that are basically only studies on correlation. Grames suggested earlier (post #65) that testosterone levels and estrogen levels bring about observed gender behavior. This is plausible. The only issue I have with that claim really is that I don't know how *much* an individual is affected. As I brought up with the "Asian's are good at math" stereotype, Asian genetics could possibly have *some* influence, but first language seems to have a much stronger impact than any other factor I can think of.

Just to be clear, I'm not opposed to finding causation and it's always the goal. It's a great goal, but neuroscientists are nowhere near having a full understanding of the causation involved, to my knowledge. In light of that, correlation is adequate for decision making. A cab driver in NY deciding who to pick up or a headhunter for a multinational drilling company, would do well to take what data was known, even racially based data, to make decisions with, even if it was correlational or incomplete.

Using people for the example makes everyone uncomfortable, so it would be better to use an example about expectations like the Einstein's or say having a rule about avoiding lions because they tend to bite. My primary point, to clarify this, is that our brains, at their most basic levels of functioning correlate information that we're presented with. Taking it to the point of understanding causation is great when possible, but when it's not, then using correlational information has great survival value like avoiding lions, even if some of them don't bite. Maybe because of a strictly adhered to circadium rhythm they only bite between 3pm and 6pm and are useful to ride in between those times, but the avoidance of them, absent that causal knowledge, is still wise.

Edited by aequalsa

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I’ve been otherwise occupied and so I’m a little behind on this thread. If I’ve missed something relevant to this post I’m about to make then I’m sorry. I just now got a good time to post this thought I had a couple nights ago. There has been mention in this thread that even after having surgery to alter one’s sexual organs that the chromosomes of this person would still be the same. On the basis of these chromosomes not changing I’m pretty sure I recall it being said somewhere in here that this meant one was not whatever sex they had surgery to fit their sex organs to. What I had been thinking though was that I wondered if chromosomes were not really the “what” of one’s sex so much as the “how,” that they are just a set of instructions we came with that lead to the formation of a particular set of sex organs and perhaps some associated characteristics. If those chromosomes are not what one’s sex is and are instead just instructions to make it, then might surgery be another form of how to get to a particular sexual set up and whatever chromosomes one has are just left overs? There’s more than one way to skin a cat, maybe there’s more than one way to become a male or female. Granted of course surgical capabilities are not yet able to create a sex for a person as well as chromosomes do, but a crumby baker is still a baker and besides that there are medical advances being made all the time.

Concepts exist to be used. If something is functionally the same then why not file it under that concept? Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, et cetera.

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Granted of course surgical capabilities are not yet able to create a sex for a person as well as chromosomes do, but a crumby baker is still a baker and besides that there are medical advances being made all the time.

Lol, a crummy baker baking crumby cake is what I pictured. XD

In another thread a similar point was made about how once you are born, your chromosomes really don't have as much of a use anymore after birth. Regarding the concept of sex, this is relevant to the extent chromosomes aren't really an essential consideration, unless a biologist wants to better understand early development. Conversation has moved more towards psychological distinctions of sex, which is how gender is distinguished, although I see gender as mostly behavior which is almost entirely related to social norms. To use your analogy, my focus is on what would it mean to quack like a woman versus quack like a man? Gender concepts are alright in the context of a specific culture (what I meant by an emic concept earlier).

Just to be clear, I'm not opposed to finding causation and it's always the goal. It's a great goal, but neuroscientists are nowhere near having a full understanding of the causation involved, to my knowledge. In light of that, correlation is adequate for decision making. A cab driver in NY deciding who to pick up or a headhunter for a multinational drilling company, would do well to take what data was known, even racially based data, to make decisions with, even if it was correlational or incomplete.

Correlation is adequate when you do not have time to thoroughly analyze a concept, such as a lion confronting you on a safari, or a cab driver on an intense schedule (although you probably understand predatory animals well enough to know lion behavior for sure). We have time, so correlation only is inadequate for making conclusions in our discussion.

True, neuroscientists do not even have a full understanding of the brain as a whole, but that does not mean we non-neuroscientists are in a justified position to make generalizations to make up for their lack of knowledge. If you want to talk more about the neuroscience, give me some studies to read. We'd get more done by avoiding heavy science, and instead talking about actual observations of males and females "in their environment" to establish that there is actually a female or male "way" of acting, aside from just how Western society works. One's sex might not establish a uniquely or even notably "female" style, similar to how being Asian in genetic terms does not lead one to being good at math. Maybe a little bit, but other factors matter more. Think of how Rand tried to explain masculinity and femininity. She didn't cite any neuroscience; she went for an abstract argument, albeit one I think is baseless.

Edited by Eiuol

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According to the collectivist view, masculinity and femininity refer to specific gender roles to which men and women must conform. Such a view is, obviously, sheer nonsense.

 

But if one takes an individualist approach towards these concepts, just as a sense of life creates the style of one's soul (this is from Ayn Rand's The Romantic Manifesto), masculinity/femininity is about the style of one's gender.

 

So when a man falls in love with a woman, what he's drawn to, is the total package, i.e., a styled soul in a styled woman.

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As for trans-gendered people, my suggestion would be to, instead of trying to change your gender, try dismissing gender as a defining trait altogether. I also have a budding suspicion that the cause of trans-sexuality is rooted in feeling trans-gendered, and misunderstanding the cause (but this second part is just a suspicion, like I said before, I don't know that much about it).

There are differences between males and females (as sex), but when we go beyond those differences to assign them roles in society, accepting those roles (and even trying to reject them and embrace the opposite role instead) is second-handedness.

Good thing I qualified this with "I don't know that much about it". I no longer think this way. My suggestion for trans-gendered people would be to just do what they want to do. Nothing second-handed about it.

 

Still not a fan of sex change procedures (surgical or chemical).

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