• Gregory
    591
    So when it comes to question of race and sexual identity, it is easy to say "look at the continuum in between the 'races' and between the 'sexes'". Is this a valid argument though? I think someone can be feel sure what a female or a male is without worrying about the in-betweens. But those people that are "in between" actually, I think, make it hard to say that the extremes are discrete. Someone would be hard pressed to prove what exactly constitutes a female. You can always change a little here or there, and it seems to be infinite. Where exactly can you draw a line on any of this stuff?
  • Virgo Avalytikh
    177
    'Male' and 'female' are genetic classifications, determined (in humans) by the presence or absence of the Y chromosome. The Y chromosome is the male-making chromosome. There are anatomically untypical cases of males and females, but this does not imply the existence of a 'continuum', as though there were infinitely many increments between male and female. Human sex classifications are binary ('intersex' is a misnomer, since being Y-chromosomed and being non-Y-chromosomed are jointly exhaustive of all the permutations in humans).
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    146
    This is a very touchy subject...

    As far as types of behaviors which are stereotypically viewed as "masculine" or "feminine", I believe the behaviors can exist in either sex. I find that most overly reductive stereotypes are unhelpful, and that it's better to read about thinking men and women in the context of their whole lives, rather than media stereotypes or dichotomies oriented toward childhood or adolescence moreso than mature adulthood.

    I agree with Virgo in that there is a genetic inheritance, and that this is widely documented, it is not solely a "social construct"; people may have invented the terms 'male and female', but they weren't invented in a vacuum, or for conspirital reasons, they were invented on the basis of objective differences.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6.6k

    Why are the "in-betweens" so hard to find? The vast majority of human beings are either male or female, and there's very few in-between. There's a similar situation with species. We have one species and other species, and evolution theory tells us that one evolved from the other. Shouldn't there be a vast array of in-betweens? The discreteness appears to be very real.

    Consider the fundamental laws of logic, either the thing has the specified property or it does not, there is a law of excluded middle which dictates that there is no other possibility. So we make judgements based on the assumption that there is no in-between either the thing has, or has not the specified property. Wouldn't allowing the real existence of in-betweens impair our capacity to judge? So we have evolved in such a way so as to minimize the existence of in-betweens, because the existence of in-betweens impairs our ability to judge.
  • alcontali
    1.2k
    So when it comes to question of race and sexual identity, it is easy to say "look at the continuum in between the 'races' and between the 'sexes'".Gregory

    The existence of sexes is considered to be a biological matter related to reproduction:

    Organisms of many species are specialized into male and female varieties, each known as a sex.[1][2] Sexual reproduction involves the combining and mixing of genetic traits: specialized cells known as gametes combine to form offspring that inherit traits from each parent. The gametes produced by an organism define its sex: males produce small gametes (e.g. spermatozoa, or sperm, in animals) while females produce large gametes (ova, or egg cells).

    One of the basic properties of life is reproduction, the capacity to generate new individuals, and sex is an aspect of this process.

    Sexual reproduction in eukaryotes is a process whereby organisms produce offspring that combine genetic traits from both parents. Chromosomes are passed on from one generation to the next in this process. Each cell in the offspring has half the chromosomes of the mother and half of the father.[20]

    Many animals and some plants have differences between the male and female sexes in size and appearance, a phenomenon called sexual dimorphism.

    Sexual dimorphisms in animals are often associated with sexual selection—the competition between individuals of one sex to mate with the opposite sex.[43]
    Wikipedia on the concept of sex

    Concerning the existence of exactly two sexes, we are talking about biological functionality and necessity. Deviation from this pattern is most generally simply biologically disfunctional. This is not the case for race. Offspring with grandparents from four different races are not more or less functional than offspring from just one race. Hence, race and sex are very dissimilar subjects.
  • Gregory
    591
    What combinations of genes are viable is not verified by science. Evolution marches on, and nominalism has something to say about this debate. It's not about proving nominalism true, but showing that classifications are all about psychology. So it is not wrong to say there are two sexes, but what is in reality is another matter. How close are two females? Are they close enough to share a nature despite there uniqueness? Seeing "natures" is just psychology. I think the "in-betweens" do indicate a continuum, because it's impossible to know how to define the nature. Nowadays people want to change parts of themselves aesthetically. What if a woman wants to remove her clitoris for aesthetic reasons? What if a woman was born just like other females but had a penis instead of a clitoris. Who is to say that is not more natural or normal? It's the Christian idea that Adam and Eve were perfect representations of the sexes. Evolution is all over the place. I think philosophy can clarify in this way. But what is boils down to is just different psychological ways of looking at material objects (even conscious ones).
  • christian2017
    777
    So when it comes to question of race and sexual identity, it is easy to say "look at the continuum in between the 'races' and between the 'sexes'". Is this a valid argument though? I think someone can be feel sure what a female or a male is without worrying about the in-betweens. But those people that are "in between" actually, I think, make it hard to say that the extremes are discrete. Someone would be hard pressed to prove what exactly constitutes a female. You can always change a little here or there, and it seems to be infinite. Where exactly can you draw a line on any of this stuff?Gregory

    Most animals have discrete sexes. Humans are not frogs. If you had an operation turning yourself into a frog then you could justify a sex change. In rare cases appendages are lost of someone might have XXY instead of XY or XX.
  • tim wood
    3.9k
    I'm thinking race and sexuality are not comparable. Reason: sexual identity is real and race is a fiction.

    So we make judgements based on the assumption that there is no in-between either the thing has, or has not the specified property. Wouldn't allowing the real existence of in-betweens impair our capacity to judge? So we have evolved in such a way so as to minimize the existence of in-betweens, because the existence of in-betweens impairs our ability to judge.Metaphysician Undercover
    Interesting observation. My take is that the LEM applies to individuals - the thing - as you say. But at the same time, if the LEM is either-or, the fellow who gave us that, Aristotle, also gave us neither-nor.

    It follows, then, that if it's true of some people that they're either male or female, and modern insights are also correct, then it's also true that there are people who are neither male nor female, in the sense just given. I'm old and don't really know what to make of that, but it seems to me that we're witnessing the opening of doors and raising of curtains on extraordinary possibilities and freedoms in human sexual expression. Likely, though, realizing those freedoms - as with most freedoms - will require the courage of a lot of people, and the dying off of folks who will refuse to acknowledge new realities. "Rainbow coalition," as suggestive of a continuum of a spectrum, will turn out to be a prescient choice for a name. And "male" and "female" as terms are going to be due for an overhaul and updating.
  • bongo fury
    232
    'Male' and 'female' are genetic classifications,Virgo Avalytikh

    And as such they are ever subject to clarification and revision in terms of genotype and phenotype and the implied correlation.

    You could try simply identifying them (male and female) with presence or absence of a Y chromosome, which is indeed an impressively clear and easily maintained distinction. That might stabilise matters. Make the classification less open to question. Not that a gradual (or even continuous) scale going from one to the other is inconceivable, but there are precious few real intermediate examples to deal with.

    However, if you then say,

    The Y chromosome is the male-making chromosome.Virgo Avalytikh

    ... then it's clear you expect to correlate gene with phene. (The one making the other.) So biology doesn't simplify the issue as much as you seem to hope. You need to acknowledge not only the clear chromosomal dichotomy but also a definition of 'male' in phenotypic terms which is likely to smear along countless gradual scales of differentiation, none of which has nature been considerate enough to simplify, by removing examples from the central zone.

    This doesn't mean you can't, if you wish to, claim that possession of what you define as relatively male phenotypic qualities is associated with possession of a Y chromosome. Or that received cultural stereotypes reflect such real associations.

    It just means you might be overestimating the scientific basis for the stereotypes.

    Dawkins is great on this danger: http://www.evolbiol.ru/document/1301 (2.4 Genes aren't us).
  • Gnomon
    479
    So when it comes to question of race and sexual identity, it is easy to say "look at the continuum in between the 'races' and between the 'sexes'". Is this a valid argument though?Gregory
    That depends on your attitude and viewpoint. Philosophers and Scientists tend to analyze the world into finer & finer distinctions. But that kind of arcane rationalizing is confusing to the average person, who can't deal with such complexity. So, the typical man-on-the-street-viewpoint is more direct, simplistic, and obvious. This results in what psychologists and sociologist call "binary thinking" --- what I call "Either/Or" thinking. In Western societies, the primitive science and binary thinking of ancient tribal law-makers has codified Either/Or opinions into dogma. For adherents to doctrinal religion ---even in modern multi-cultural contexts --- the technicalities of continua have no bearing on their moral judgments. You can argue about the broad range of racial or gender types all you want, but your reasoning will have no force against faith. You're either an "innie" or an "outie". :nerd:

    Binary Genders : The term gender binary describes the system in which a society allocates its members into one of two sets of gender roles, gender identities, and attributes based on the type of genitalia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_binary
  • Gregory
    591
    I wonder if science could make a man who has only two Y chromosome and.If this would be a superior type of superman. The finer distinctions are bound to cause.great headaches for believers in natures. The world is noumenic potentiality
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6.6k
    nteresting observation. My take is that the LEM applies to individuals - the thing - as you say. But at the same time, if the LEM is either-or, the fellow who gave us that, Aristotle, also gave us neither-nor.

    It follows, then, that if it's true of some people that they're either male or female, and modern insights are also correct, then it's also true that there are people who are neither male nor female, in the sense just given.
    tim wood

    The LEM only applies when the two terms are properly opposed, or form a dichotomy. It's quite clear that "male" is not a proper opposite of "female", so the LEM does not actually apply, though many of us might like to claim it does.

    The point I was trying to make is that I think we tend to see things in dichotomous terms (we have even evolved to see things in this way), because it facilitates judgement. If male and female were proper opposites, dichotomous attributes we could look at a person and say that the person is either male or female, apply LEM and say there is no other possibility. So when we see things in this way, it's very easy for us. It's easy because we don't have to ask, if the person is neither male nor female, then what is the person. Seeing them as dichotomous attributes, logic disallows anything else. Therefore it is really just this way of seeing things, (the easy way, or "lazy man's way") as either black or white, which blinds us to all the colour in the world.
  • Gregory
    591
    Aristotle said things have common natures, but we can imagine a world only consisting of two identical metal balls. Do they share a nature? The more your mind emphasizes their individuality, the more it sees natures are not necessary
  • Gregory
    591
    A lamp for Aristotle has two natures, the base and the shade. This is because they are easily separable and not glued together. Each by themselves can be different things in different cultures. But if our consciousness determines what things are, we see that the lamp is one thing. One object. So Heidegger wins over Aristotle
  • tim wood
    3.9k
    If male and female were proper opposites,Metaphysician Undercover
    Yes, that's the point. Apparently it's not that simple, and evidently never was. That blows the whole thing open, I'm thinking.
  • Gregory
    591
    The law of the excluded middle doesn't apply to anything really, love be ing a great example (again Aristotle is wrong). I have favorites in the family but I love them all equally. I love my dad and twin brother the most but I love them all equally. The others have no reason to be jealous. I think most people can see my point here
  • TheMadFool
    4.9k
    Gregory
    453
    So when it comes to question of race and sexual identity, it is easy to say "look at the continuum in between the 'races' and between the 'sexes'". Is this a valid argument though? I think someone can be feel sure what a female or a male is without worrying about the in-betweens. But those people that are "in between" actually, I think, make it hard to say that the extremes are discrete. Someone would be hard pressed to prove what exactly constitutes a female. You can always change a little here or there, and it seems to be infinite. Where exactly can you draw a line on any of this stuff?
    Gregory

    I was having similar but not exact thoughts on the matter of extremes which I feel is fully manifested in contradictions - something and not that something. I think some may refer to this obvious duality as a dance "between" thesis and antithesis.

    I'm unsure if every belief has an anti-belief but I suspect that this is the case for any belief may be denied/negated and as simply as that we can pair every belief with its contradictory.

    Now, most matters where such duality manifests are those where the matter is not yet settled and the descriptive "open question" is apt. If so, then consider a belief x and its antithesis not-x = y. If you endorse x, y is false and if you endorse y, x is false. The problem is we don't know for sure whether x or y is true. Ergo, we must reside in-between.

    PS: More accurately, extremes are contraries i.e. a proposition and its contrary can't both be true but both can be false.
  • Gregory
    591
    Great thoughts MadFool and everyone
  • Gregory
    591
    Perspective was considered by Descartes to be an illusion in a sense. Even seeing cuitness is an illusion for him. A thought of philosophy can be for from this idea. Is Heidegger wrong to say "being is not deduced by the idea of a human being" ?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6.6k
    The law of the excluded middle doesn't apply to anything really, love be ing a great example (again Aristotle is wrong).Gregory

    Actually Aristotle is the one who first explained the failings of the LEM. Sophists at the time could produce absurd conclusions by adhering to the laws of logic. He found that either the law of non-contradiction, or the law of excluded middle had to be violated to adequately describe the real world of change, becoming. He insisted that the law of non-contradiction ought to be upheld, and described the types of situations which were to be considered as exceptions to the law of excluded middle. Notice in the Nichomachean Ethics he describes the various virtues, each as the mean between two extremes, the extremes being a vice.

    The other possibility, of allowing violation of the law of non-contradiction, was dismissed because Aristotle felt it would lead to incoherency and unintelligibility. It's better to say "x is neither A nor B", than it is to say "x is both A and B". He seemed to appeal to intuition on this principle, but intuition he classified as the highest form of knowledge. If we say "neither A nor B", then we must find different words, a different category, to speak of this property of x. But if we say "both A and B", then we find ourselves in a logical conundrum which prevents us from saying anything intelligible about that property.
  • Gregory
    591
    Intuition has to have content though. And this content could be relative, with one truth, that all things are relative. Relative means it comes from within. Aquinas said the intellect was greater than the will because it brings happiness, even though the will is more actual. If happiness is the goal of being, then there is one thing that is true
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