1
TWO NOTIONS OF ESSENCE

WHEN A COLLEAGUE INVITED me to teach the material in this chapter to his class of undergraduate philosophy majors, I began by asking them to write brief answers to two questions: First, are there any properties that define membership in the kind woman or the kind man? Second, would you be the same individual if you were gendered differently? The first question received a range of answers, from those who confidently singled out a physical or psychological property common to all women or to all men to those who hesitated, perhaps having been instructed on the moral and political failings of “essentialist” or “identity” thinking in another philosophy class. The second question prompted a lively discussion about gender, transgendered individuals, the relation between gender and self-understanding, and the ways in which our daily lives and activities are gendered. Speculations about universally shared properties, and doubts about whether there are any led the conversation in one direction. Reflections about the ways in which our lives and social roles (student, professor, mother, child) are inflected by our gender took the conversation in another. In this chapter I argue that my students were wrestling with two different notions of essence that address two different philosophical questions.1

1. My claim that gender is essential to social individuals has three terms needing explanation. In this chapter I describe the notion of essence that I will be using, but in the course of doing so I will necessarily use the other two terms, which I describe sequentially in chapters 2 (gender) and 3 (social individual). I hope that the sequential process of setting out the terms of my argument is not too confusing to the reader.

-3-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Metaphysics of Gender
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Preface- Why Gender Essentialism? xi
  • 1- Two Notions of Essence 3
  • 2- Gender and Social Normativity 27
  • 3- Human Organisms, Social Individuals, and Persons 51
  • 4- The Argument for Gender Essentialism 75
  • 5- The Person, the Social Individual, and the Self 107
  • Epilogue- Gender Essentialism and Feminist Politics 127
  • Select Bibliography 133
  • Index 141
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 153

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.