Radical feminist and gender-critical philosophers challenge their opponents to avoid some obviously bad argumentative moves

by Sophie Allen, Jane Clare Jones, Holly Lawford-Smith, Mary Leng, Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, and Kathleen Stock.

We’re a group of gender-critical and radical feminist academic philosophers. In our work, some of us argue that women, by definition, are adult human females. On this view, since no trans woman is an adult human female, no trans woman is correctly categorised as a woman. The rest of us are currently agnostic between i) exclusively taking the former position, and ii) also taking a position that says that there…

I set out to write a response to Carol Hay’s recent opinion piece ‘Who Counts as a Woman?’ in the New York Times, but trying to get to grips with her argument (or even to work out whether there is an argument) made my head hurt as I began to notice several general philosophical mistakes which seem to occur fairly frequently in discussions of sex and gender. In light of these, I’ve set out to do two things: first, to list some of the general philosophical problems which arise within Hay’s piece; and second, given these, to assess whether she…

We are often asked to believe that transwomen are women. Many people are happy to accept this claim but those who disagree are treated to ridicule or abuse until most dare not speak up. As a philosopher, this worries me. We should be able to question the truth of any claim without causing offence, but I cannot imagine that I will get away lightly from doing so here.

In this piece, I argue that those who think that it is true that transwomen are women do not have a coherent, unequivocal definition of ‘woman’, and thus whatever they do understand…

Sophie Allen

Lecturer in Philosophy, Keele University

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