Male and Female Robots

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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:03 am

Carleas wrote:But you don't have to pretend to see, you do see, immediately. When you meet a coworker with long hair and a dress and a blouse and earrings and makeup, you see immediately what they are trying to tell you about their social sex.


If the dude in the dress has a square jaw, a giant adam's apple and sporting a five o'clock shadow... What am I not seeing?
I'm not seeing a woman... how is any of this unclear to you?

Since I first started posting in this thread I have rejected your conception of "social sex" as meaningless sophistry... Yet you appeal to this concept over and over again as though deaf to my objections.
Not even two posts ago, I underlined how devoid of value this concept is... and yet you appeal to it again without addressing the criticism.

At this point I've written literally pages worth of arguments, all laid out for you to examine and respond to...

There's a critical error somewhere in our communication, if you still think appealing to "social sex" is worthwhile, or worse laboring under the illusion that I would agree.

You could see the "social clothes" the Emperor had... and yet he was still naked.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:53 am

Carleas wrote:Isn't that what it is to be a philosopher?
I think that's an odd question. It depends on the philosophical arguments and positions being put forward.

But seriously, I don't think supporting their rights and giving primacy to their self-identity entails accepting their ontology or metaphysics of mind.
Of course. But your philosophy will have effects. I am not saying you should suggest a different interpersonal ethics or change your ontology. I am pointing out that there is a split and now I am being explicit in saying that this can cause them problems.

Some trans people may be dualists, and I think they're wrong to the extent that they are. But I don't think it's condescending to disagree with someone about that.
No, but the whole project becomes that we should treat these deluded people with respect for reasons X, Y and Z. And Y will be one that implies that they are deluded. That has real world consequences.


Trans people have no special insight into the experience of being a mind,
or there particular situation actually does give them insight into it. They may even be correct about their insight. Given that we do not have access...or better put a person who does not have access to that insight given his or her situation need not be convinced by the trans-dualist, but this in turn does not mean that the transperson is wrong about their insight.
But in any case: what are we to take away from the physical aspect of some people's dysphoria? Is that to say that it isn't social? I'm not sure that that follows. People have a relationship with themselves as a social being: we choose (within our ability) a haircut, wardrobe, posture, style of speech, etc. When someone doesn't like their body, it's largely about its social appearance: it doesn't look like they want it to look.
And feel and be able to do. I don't read those transpersons I quoted as saying it was socially, I read it directly not recognizing the body they had.

I don't think having an Adams apple is something you feel internally, rather you feel it externally (i.e. with your hands) or see in the mirror.
Penis and breasts on the other hand, size and bone density of a body. and more, on the other hand.

That is to say, a lot of the way we interact with our own bodies is social, to the extent we evaluate them as representing who we want to be socially.
I think this aspect is also present and part of the transpersons, like many conservative persons and others, belief that sex is essentialist not merely social. IOW the social roles are rooted in bodies and also in souls that are gendered not neutral.

I don't think that's the only way in which we relate to our bodies; people can evaluate themselves in terms of strength and flexibility and coordination in non-social ways too. But note that the people you quote aren't talking about the many internal or mostly-functional ways in which men's bodies differ from women's. They aren't saying "my bone density is all wrong!", they're pointing to prominent external features, things that they can see in the mirror, and that other people would notice immediately, that mark them as not the sex they want to be seen as.
Well, it was a quick online survey but it was not them saying they were not allow to engage in some traditionally female activity. Of course they have this also, because transpersons, in the vast majority, think that men and women have different minds, emotions, attitudes, roles and interpersonal dynamics. And you can certainly tell them that really all this is intersubjective and arbritrary, just as their feelings that their bodies do not fit who they are 'inside' is based on a confused ontology. Or tell them indirectly while defending their interpersonal rights with cis people. But I think it is passing on implicit judgments. And these are the ones your philosophy has and, no, that does not mean you should just jump over to their ontology of bodies and selves and men and women. However I think it is an advocacy that in the long run is a mixed bag for them.

If someone says they are Napoleon reborn, then one can of course decide that it is respectful not to keep telling them it is a delusion based on schizophrenia or naivte in relation to New Age beliefs. One can argue that we as a society should allow people to identify with people we think are not longer alive and who had different bodies and that we should respect that, while at the same time believing that person is deluded. No contradiction.

But that position ends up being condescending and this will have consequences. I am not sure it helps that person in the long run, regardless of whether they are right or wrong.

And then children get a very odd set of messages to try to unravel about how to interpret their own feelings and experiences. A kind of collateral damage.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:32 pm

Mad Man P wrote:I have rejected your conception of "social sex" as meaningless sophistry.

Early on, you expressly acknowledged it as "representational". And you say of referring to a map as 'New York', "can be correct or incorrect depending on where on the map we point"; the analogy to sex would be that it be "correct or incorrect" to call your office-mate a woman depending on whether she's wearing a dress and a blouse and earrings and make-up or a flannel shirt and jeans and a beard.

Indeed, in the same post, you acknowledge that "[g]ender certainly can be and often is separable from biological sex". Perhaps you were engaging in meaningless sophistry here? It doesn't seem meaningless, it seems to be acknowledging that there is a social component of sex. That, together with your description of it as a "representation", and your map-of-New-York analogy, suggests that it's appropriate to refer to someone as a certain sex based on the separable, representational gender, rather than on the pedantic appeal to biology, which in your analogy would be like insisting that the lines on the map aren't roads, they're just ink on paper.

That's how any of this is unclear to me: you seem to have acknowledged from the start the sense in which the office mate is a woman, just as you acknowledge the sense in which the map is New York. And 7 pages later, you're literally calling that sense invisible and "meaningless sophistry". When I appeal to social sex, I'm appealing to a concept you've previously acknowledged as meaningful, if representational.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:the whole project becomes that we should treat these deluded people with respect for reasons X, Y and Z. And Y will be one that implies that they are deluded. That has real world consequences.

Sure. But the rejection of Y implies that I am deluded, i.e. I have a philosophy of mind that contradicts their philosophy of mind, and so one of us is wrong about our philosophy of mind. I think they're deluded in the sense that I think utilitarians and deontologists are deluded about morality, or marxists are deluded about political philosophy.

But I think 'deluded' is a loaded term here; though it is perhaps literally true, it's wrong in its connotations, particularly in a context where mental illness is salient. Rather, I think they are mistaken about their philosophy of mind. That's a much less incendiary claim.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:And you can certainly tell them that really all this is intersubjective and arbritrary, just as their feelings that their bodies do not fit who they are 'inside' is based on a confused ontology.

I don't believe that though. Rather, I don't think feeling like their body doesn't fit who they are depends on a dualist philosophy of mind.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:But that position ends up being condescending and this will have consequences.

I think you are using "condescending" here differently than I would use it. Do you see all disagreement as condescending?

[Edited - typos upon typos]
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:29 pm

Carleas wrote:When I appeal to social sex


When you appeal to social sex to establish sex, you're equivocating...

Carleas wrote:Early on, you expressly acknowledged it as "representational". And you say of referring to a map as 'New York', "can be correct or incorrect depending on where on the map we point"; the analogy to sex would be that it be "correct or incorrect" to call your office-mate a woman depending on whether she's wearing a dress and a blouse and earrings and make-up or a flannel shirt and jeans and a beard.


MMP wrote:First of all you can point to the WRONG spot on the map, it's not arbitrary where "New York" is represented there.
Second, referring to people as though they are of another gender is not like pointing to a map... people are not commonly viewed as "representations".
It'd be akin to pointing to the ACTUAL city of Boston and saying "New York"... No one would assume what you meant was "it represents New York"
Even if they did I doubt they would agree... as it's more akin to Boston than it is to New York...


We've been over this... since page 1
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:49 pm

Mad Man P wrote:When you appeal to social sex to establish sex, you're equivocating...

Between what distinct meanings of what word or words?

Mad Man P wrote:We've been over this... since page 1

That's my point. Your representation analysis of sex is an acknowledgement that there is a non-biological aspect of sex, and you say that in so many words.

We're returning to this because, with your emperor's clothes analogy, you seem to be taking the position that that aspect of sex doesn't even exist, as though we're lying when we talk of the roads on the map. It looks to me like you contradicting yourself; more likely, either I don't understand what you mean when you say "[g]ender certainly can be and often is separable from biological sex", or I don't understand what you mean when you say "I have rejected your conception of "social sex" as meaningless sophistry". Those two claims, as I understand them, are in tension.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:26 pm

Carleas wrote:Your representation analysis of sex is an acknowledgement that there is a non-biological aspect of sex, and you say that in so many words.


I'm at a loss for how on earth you got there, from what I said... clearly there's a misunderstanding taking place.

Social sex is not "another aspect of sex" it is another aspect of culture... to confuse the two is to equivocate.
If Bob from the office changes his "social sex" with a dress, makeup and effeminate behavior, has he changed his sex, or merely defied the cultural norms for his sex?
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:41 am

Mad Man P wrote:
Carleas wrote:Your representation analysis of sex is an acknowledgement that there is a non-biological aspect of sex, and you say that in so many words.


I'm at a loss for how on earth you got there, from what I said... clearly there's a misunderstanding taking place.

Social sex is not "another aspect of sex" it is another aspect of culture... to confuse the two is to equivocate.
If Bob from the office changes his "social sex" with a dress, makeup and effeminate behavior, has he changed his sex, or merely defied the cultural norms for his sex?
Lot's of possible answers: he's spicing up sex with this female wife, he's spicing up sex with his male boyfriend, he's a transvestite heterosexual male, he's a non-op trans, he's heading for a drag ball (and could have any of a number of sexualities)....
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:57 am

Carleas wrote:Sure. But the rejection of Y implies that I am deluded, i.e. I have a philosophy of mind that contradicts their philosophy of mind, and so one of us is wrong about our philosophy of mind. I think they're deluded in the sense that I think utilitarians and deontologists are deluded about morality, or marxists are deluded about political philosophy.
Right, but you would probably oppose the implementation of a communist goverment, for example. I am not sure if you are a moral relativist or nihilist or in what sense you disagree with both deontologists and utilitarians, but my guess is that where you would differ with these people, in any practical application of their conclusions or in the teaching of children how to arrive at conclusions, you would oppose them. With the Marxist you would not be saying, you are confused in your political philosophy, but you go ahead and change the constitution. Now, of course, the difference here is that their beliefs affect other people and you also. But there is still a missing tension when you mention these people and your difference with them. And it changes your role in relation to any third parties.

But I think 'deluded' is a loaded term here; though it is perhaps literally true, it's wrong in its connotations, particularly in a context where mental illness is salient. Rather, I think they are mistaken about their philosophy of mind. That's a much less incendiary claim.
It's certainly less incendiary when we are discussing philosophy of mind, I don't think it makes much difference when it comes down to interactions in situ with them or other people where the issue is so important to them. I am quite sure a discussion of dualism and monism about minds/brains would be less incendiary if you used 'mistaken'. I am not sure how much a discussion with a transperson would be calmed if you are telling them they are mistaken that really they are not the opposite sex. That their bodies, when they were male, were their bodies, for example.

I don't believe that though. Rather, I don't think feeling like their body doesn't fit who they are depends on a dualist philosophy of mind.
I can't see any other explanation. Note: I do not mean that there can be no non-dualist explanation for their impression that their body was wrong. Of course you can have that. But I don't see how they can be right and non-dualist.

I think you are using "condescending" here differently than I would use it. Do you see all disagreement as condescending?
If you disagree with someone's fundamental understanding of themselves but want them to be free to live out their confusion, no.

Of course one can disagree without being condescending. It is the particularity of the issue, that it deals with identity, other minds at such an intimate level.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:39 pm

Mad Man P wrote:I'm at a loss for how on earth you got there, from what I said... clearly there's a misunderstanding taking place.

This is how:
Mad Man P wrote:Gender certainly can be and often is separable from biological sex

An aspect of sex that is "separable from biological sex" is "a non-biological aspect of sex".

Are you saying gender is not an aspect of sex? Is 'gender' different from 'social sex'?

Mad Man P wrote:Social sex is not "another aspect of sex" it is another aspect of culture... to confuse the two is to equivocate.

I don't know how to parse this claim; "another aspect of culture" in addition to what? Is it that biological sex is one aspect of culture and social sex is "another aspect of culture"?

And how is social sex not an aspect of sex?


Karpel Tunnel wrote:I am not sure if you are a moral relativist or nihilist or in what sense you disagree with both deontologists and utilitarians

I am a moral realist and a consequentialist, I just don't think positive subjective experience is the thing to be maximized. That's a bit beside the point, though: I only bring it up to say that thinking that those people are mistaken/deluded, or that anyone who espouses a philosophy which I reject is mistaken/deluded, is par for the course. And in practice, I think I and marxists and deontologists and utilitarians could find lots of practical applications of our conflicting philosophies where we do agree. So too here: a dualist trans person and I might disagree about the existence of an incorporeal soul, but we agree on how trans people should be treated. (not unlike how you and I and Mad Man disagree on our ontology of sex, but we all agree that in practice we should call a transwoman 'she' and 'her')

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I am not sure how much a discussion with a transperson would be calmed if you are telling them they are mistaken that really they are not the opposite sex. That their bodies, when they were male, were their bodies, for example.

I mean, if someone's wrong, they're wrong, even if it makes them feel bad to hear it. On the topic of really being their chosen sex, I think they're right, even if I think they're wrong in their reasoning.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Of course you can have that. But I don't see how they can be right and non-dualist.

In the same way that I can wear clothes that aren't me, or have a haircut that isn't me, or lose weight and feel more like my real self, or get a tattoo that makes me feel as though I look more like I feel. There are any number of ways that I can make my body match who I am, i.e. present socially in a way that matches my internal experience of myself, and gives people what I think is a truer first impression of who I am, and how I want to be treated or understood. And those claims don't rely on dualism.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Of course one can disagree without being condescending. It is the particularity of the issue, that it deals with identity, other minds at such an intimate level.

Is it any more condescending than telling a religious person that there's no such thing as a soul?

I guess ultimately, I don't care if it's condescending. People can be wrong about themselves, particularly where their beliefs about themselves rely on larger beliefs about the nature of the universe on which they have no special expertise.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:33 am

Carleas wrote:
Mad Man P wrote:Gender certainly can be and often is separable from biological sex, but it then becomes representational... the same way geographic locations can be represented on pieces of paper, digitally, or in our minds.

An aspect of sex that is "separable from biological sex" is "a non-biological aspect of sex".


When seperated it's no longer literal but representational, figurative, metaphorical. Your identity is separable from you, in the same way.
A painting in which you were represented would REFLECT an aspect of you and we would identify the portion that represents you by saying "that's Carleas".
But that painting isn't itself "another aspect of Carleas" such that if it were altered, that we would then say YOU were altered... that would be an equivocation... a crazy one at that.

Had you read the post from which you plucked that quote, you would have noticed that I offered a similar clarification.
Hell if you included the whole fucking sentence (the red portion I added back in) that too might have been enough.

And how is social sex not an aspect of sex?


I asked you first...
If Bob from the office changes his "social sex" with a dress, makeup and effeminate behavior, has he changed his sex, or merely defied the cultural norms for his sex?
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:00 am

Carleas wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:I am not sure if you are a moral relativist or nihilist or in what sense you disagree with both deontologists and utilitarians

I am a moral realist and a consequentialist, I just don't think positive subjective experience is the thing to be maximized. That's a bit beside the point, though: I only bring it up to say that thinking that those people are mistaken/deluded, or that anyone who espouses a philosophy which I reject is mistaken/deluded, is par for the course. And in practice, I think I and marxists and deontologists and utilitarians could find lots of practical applications of our conflicting philosophies where we do agree. So too here: a dualist trans person and I might disagree about the existence of an incorporeal soul, but we agree on how trans people should be treated. (not unlike how you and I and Mad Man disagree on our ontology of sex, but we all agree that in practice we should call a transwoman 'she' and 'her')
OK. For me, in practical terms, deontologists - certainly the ones who use the term and argue in philosophical forums, and likewise consequentialists are being armchair generals. (they may be on the frontline somewhere in their lives, but that discussion is meta and pretty abstract) So disagreeing with them is about abstractions vs. abstractions. It is not ad hom. Ad hom in the sense of to the man. Once one is discussing with transpeople or even having a debate about them, one is necessarily to the man. Nothing wrong with that since they are likely to the man themselves, given the nature of the issue. To be decribing them as mistaken about who they think they are, at root, but encouraging people to be nice to them, is something that I experiene as condescending on issues relevent to me. I understand that if one has integrity and holds this complicated reaction to another person, there is no avoiding it. My point is mainly that in the long run it is as problematic, and in some ways more so, then the people who don't want to play nice and have a different ontology than them. A bit like how many blacks felt more comfortable with open non-violent racism in the south as opposed to hidden non-violent racism in the north. There it is, we both know its there, no pretending, I know how to react and protect myself.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Of course you can have that. But I don't see how they can be right and non-dualist.

In the same way that I can wear clothes that aren't me, or have a haircut that isn't me, or lose weight and feel more like my real self, or get a tattoo that makes me feel as though I look more like I feel. There are any number of ways that I can make my body match who I am, i.e. present socially in a way that matches my internal experience of myself, and gives people what I think is a truer first impression of who I am, and how I want to be treated or understood. And those claims don't rely on dualism.
yeah, I don't think those are analogous. Those are surface and trivial, though some invest a lot of charge into those things since we are trained, ever more so, to be surfaces.

Is it any more condescending than telling a religious person that there's no such thing as a soul?
The condescension comes in in the combination of being advocate and telling them this. If you were to talk about when they are in heaven. Now, your father is with God. Relgious people would certainly want you to honor their understanding of afterlife and so on also.

But I see few people advocating for engaging in speech acts like that. It's not a perfect parallel. But why not carry politeness to those issues?

You must be glad your father is with God?

I guess ultimately, I don't care if it's condescending. People can be wrong about themselves, particularly where their beliefs about themselves rely on larger beliefs about the nature of the universe on which they have no special expertise.
Unless of course they do have extra expertise if souls can be in bodies that don't suit them.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:38 pm

Mad Man P wrote:A painting in which you were represented would REFLECT an aspect of you and we would identify the portion that represents you by saying "that's Carleas".

I'm still not sure I'm following, and I appreciate your continued effort to explain.

Mapping this example to the current conversation, in the same way we would point to a painting and say "that's Carleas", would we not point to a transwoman and say "that's a woman"? It seems to be implied by what your saying: it's true that it's New York on that map, it's true that it's me in that painting, and in the same way it's true that that is a woman.

The distinction between our positions is small, and it seems like it only matters because in this case we're very concerned about exactly what language we use, rather than about the shape of the underlying concepts. The difference between social sex and the representation of sex, as I understand it, is that social sex is part of sex and representational sex isn't. But, if everyone agreed on one of these positions, wouldn't the outcome be the same? I am having trouble coming up with a difference that doesn't depend on dealing with people who have different sex ontologies.

Mad Man P wrote:If Bob from the office changes his "social sex" with a dress, makeup and effeminate behavior, has he changed his sex, or merely defied the cultural norms for his sex?

(I didn't see the brilliance of this question until I started answering it. Nicely done!)

These don't seem mutually exclusive. But then how could she be defying the cultural norms for her sex by wearing a dress if she's a woman? Let me try to unpack.

In my ontology, there is an equivocation on the word "sex" here, i.e. she's changed her social sex and defied the norms of her biological sex. That further suggests that there are social norms associated with both social and biological sex. That's an awkward description, but I don't think it's inaccurate or unique to sex: we have norms around people who dress a certain way, and we have norms that certain types of dress should track certain types of physical or biological states. A person in leather and piercings and chains making baby talk and cooing noises to a child would seem incongruous; and fat people are often shamed for wearing clothes that are too revealing. These are non-sex situations where there is nontheless a distinct norm created by a social role and a biological trait, respectively.

I wonder how much of this can be mapped to the representational ontology. As you've said, a map of New York can be wrong, e.g. by drawing streets in the wrong places. I think the parallel her would be that a man presenting as a woman could get it wrong when his representation defies social norms around women. Is that right?
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:58 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:To be decribing them as mistaken about who they think they are, at root, but encouraging people to be nice to them, is something that I experiene as condescending on issues relevent to me.

I don't doubt that many people would be upset about the conversation we're having, but I don't think that says very much about the positions we're taking.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I don't think those are analogous. Those are surface and trivial, though some invest a lot of charge into those things since we are trained, ever more so, to be surfaces.

Surface yes, but not trivial. Putting forth an outward appearance that matches how one wants to be seen is very valuable to a lot of people, and matters quite a lot in a social species.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:The condescension comes in in the combination of being advocate and telling them this. If you were to talk about when they are in heaven. Now, your father is with God. Relgious people would certainly want you to honor their understanding of afterlife and so on also.

I don't think that's analogous to what's going on here, because I'm not adopting someone else's ontology in order to advocate for them. It would be more like if a Muslim person tried to comfort a Christian person by saying "your father is with Allah", i.e. you're right that your father's soul lives on and is in paradise, but you're wrong about the nature of that paradise and the nature of god.

But this too is a bit loaded, because I'm not chasing down trans people to explain their sex to them. I'm having a roughly view-from-nowhere philosophical discussion about it on niche web forum dedicated to this kind of dispassionate discussion. A Muslim that comes to ILP to explain why Christians are going to go to heaven is not being condescending.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Unless of course they do have extra expertise if souls can be in bodies that don't suit them.

But the question of their expertise isn't about what it's like for a soul to be in the wrong body, it's about whether there are souls. As such, it would be question-begging to grant that they have special expertise.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:10 pm

Carleas wrote:I'm still not sure I'm following, and I appreciate your continued effort to explain.


If this is an honest misunderstanding that's been haunting us this whole time, I apologize for being short with you and I'll try my best to clarify.

First, remember I made that point originally with regard to why Siri and Data are referred to as a gender... We all know they don't have a gender, just like we know the painting isn't Carleas. That's why we don't need to clarify with "that's a painting in the likeness of Carleas" and we can just say "that's Carleas" expecting the context to clue everyone in to our meaning. Siri isn't a woman or female, it's just made to sound like one. This is why I believe you've been met with so much resistance trying to map this on to a real person... because a real person has a real gender and a real identity.

If someone dresses up like you or looked like you we don't say "that is Carleas", like we would with a painting. It would be confusing if we referred to him as you. We might say he reminds us of you, but not that he IS you.

Now let's assume he wanted to be you, that this was a deliberate effort to look and sound like you... Can this person transition into becoming you, socially? If this person fools your friends and family (passed as you), or just vaguely lives up to what they have come to expect of you is he then "carleas" ? I mean if he can pass as you, clearly he will be identified as you regardless, but would you ever say that's an accurate description?

See my definitions are really simple... gender and sex refer entirely to biological phenomena.
Social sex refers to the cultural/social phenomena that develop around those genders... and representations of either, are just that, representations, not to be confused with the real thing.

Does that help clear things up?

P.S.
I know we have other balls in the air, but I really want to get this one out of the way before we proceed... otherwise the risk of us talking past each other is too high.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:31 am

Carleas wrote:I don't doubt that many people would be upset about the conversation we're having, but I don't think that says very much about the positions we're taking.
Not the facet that is purely focused on ontology. But I think an underlying part of your position and what mine is in practice and likely mad man's also includes compassion, respect, minimizing harm, and an in situ compromise in practical terms, a compromise that might imply we believe things other than our ontologies. I am not saying that this is wrong. I am cautioning you, the one most formally including a 'hey let's not force an ontology on people in interactions', that this may not be as accomodating and kind as it might seem. That the underlying ontological difference can be taken as even more insulting than people who openly work from it.

It is not the best analogy because I am not saying you are transist, but I'll mention again race relations.

From discussions with African americans, I have heard repeatedly that it can be easier to deal with more openly racist people, because the issue is on the table. The black person is allowed to react to the racism without being seen as, for example, hypersensitive. There it was, on the table, the racist will understand the strong reaction. With the liberal, wants to not be racist, formally on paper is not racist, the undercurrent judgments can weigh, paradoxically, weigh more heavily. They are in the air, but to react to them is a much trickier problem for the black person.

It's a bit like when I worked in an organization and we had a workshop in sexual abuse survivors in relation to the clients of the organization. We learned about the symptoms of people who had gone through sexual abuse, which could include resistence to authority, strong emotional responses and so on. I watched as a lot of the staff started to think of individuals and began to talk about how this would help them desescalate conflict. Suddenly many of the politically active members of the population we served were going to be viewed as survivors of abuse. That their reactions to problems in our organization were really about abuse and not about problems in our organization, for example. An implicit condescension.

Now in this case the thinking that they are confused about ontology is not so attached, as far as I can see, to specific conflicts, but I think these things have a way of affecting relationships and will come out. We think what we do not say does not have effects, but it does.

I support X while at the same time thinking X is mistaken about perhaps the most important issue for them but I won't mention that. In most stranger to stranger interactions this will not make much difference. You, Carleas, may not encounter any problems, given how often or how rarely you encounter trans people and spend time with them.

But in general, iow if a position like this is held in general, interpersonal respect combined with an underlying judgment that the other is mistaken about something so important, I think there is a level of toxicity that most people underestimate. Anthropologists certainly dealt with this kind of issue and often not well at all. In fact I would go so far as to say they dealt with it badly systematically for a long time and still have problems with it today.

And again, no, I am not saying that you should then give up your position on ontology. I am saying that in the longer term, if that combination of positions is held by many of the supporters of transpeople, there is a huge reckoning coming, and the people who think they are being good and supportive may find that this is not how they will be reacted to.

Surface yes, but not trivial. Putting forth an outward appearance that matches how one wants to be seen is very valuable to a lot of people, and matters quite a lot in a social species.
Sure, but it's qualititatively different from sex.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Unless of course they do have extra expertise if souls can be in bodies that don't suit them.

But the question of their expertise isn't about what it's like for a soul to be in the wrong body, it's about whether there are souls. As such, it would be question-begging to grant that they have special expertise.
Again, if there are souls, a transperson might be in an expertise position since they would be people where the soul and body are not well matched. If a man is on a soul level also a man, he will experience more of a unity between soul and body. He will not have experience as much, at least via gender, that leads him to question a monism. He might have, say, shamanic experiences, and perhaps these would give him an expertise, but from the ground the transperson, again assuming for the sake of argument a dualism, is given very powerful experiences that there can be a mismatch and thus there are actually two substances.

Obviously this is not an argument for you. I just wanted to point out what might be outside your experience, lunking and informing them, and that for all you know, you are talking to experts in ontology.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:47 pm

Mad Man P wrote:If someone dresses up like you or looked like you we don't say "that is Carleas", like we would with a painting. It would be confusing if we referred to him as you. We might say he reminds us of you, but not that he IS you.

I think there's a distinction to be made here between identity as membership in a class and identity as uniqueness. If I have a rock (call it "Rock A"), and you make a rock that is exactly the same down to the last molecule (call it "Rock B"), we know that Rock B is not Rock A, regardless of how faithfully it's copied. On the other hand, if we're asking, "Is it a rock?", the threshold is much, much lower than molecular-level copy. I think the "Is this Carleas" question is more like the "Is this Rock A" question than it is like the "Is this a rock" question. And "Is this a woman" is more like "Is this a rock".

I'm not sure how much this does to undermine your broader point, though I think it matters what the representation is of. Some representations of things actually are the thing. A representation of a picture just is a picture. Arguably, a representation of a social identity just is a social identity -- but then this is question begging of me, because for that argument to work, sex would already have to be about social identity and not about biology.

Mad Man P wrote:We all know they don't have a gender, just like we know the painting isn't Carleas. That's why we don't need to clarify with "that's a painting in the likeness of Carleas" and we can just say "that's Carleas" expecting the context to clue everyone in to our meaning. Siri isn't a woman or female, it's just made to sound like one. This is why I believe you've been met with so much resistance trying to map this on to a real person... because a real person has a real gender and a real identity.

This argument is both infuriating and plausible. Infuriating because it's saying that something that is almost X is less X than something that is not X at all. But plausible because it's another version of the uncanny valley (except applied to descriptive accuracy and sex instead of likeability and humanness).

Mad Man P wrote:Does that help clear things up?

It does. A further question: women differ in their social identity as women from one place to another, e.g. the western norms of long straight hair, makeup, dresses, jewelry, etc., all of which are contingent, and in other cultures they are abnormal, ambiguous, or even actively unfeminine. Given these kinds of cultural norms, would you say that members of a sex can also be representations of that sex? They are members of a certain sex, by your definition, but they are also representing themselves as a members of that sex by donning culturally contingent signifiers of the sex.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:But in general, iow if a position like this is held in general, interpersonal respect combined with an underlying judgment that the other is mistaken about something so important, I think there is a level of toxicity that most people underestimate.

This seems to be an absolute requirement for life in a pluralistic and free society. It's a generalization of the idea behind the freedoms of religion and speech, i.e. that my disagreeing with you should not detract from my ability to respect you. Far from being toxic, it's the only way society doesn't devolve into tribal violence; the most likely alternative is not to stop thinking people mistaken, but to stop respecting them when we do.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Sure, but it's qualititatively different from sex.

This is the core of our disagreement in this thread. Hair color and consistency, gross morphology, facial coloring, these all tell us real things about biology, and we don't consider it a lie to modify them through dyes, conditioners, padded clothing, or makeup, we don't think someone is delusional when they choose to present themselves that way, and we do treat people as though their modified appearance accurately reflected their underlying biology.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Again, if there are souls, a transperson might be in an expertise position since they would be people where the soul and body are not well matched. If a man is on a soul level also a man, he will experience more of a unity between soul and body. He will not have experience as much, at least via gender, that leads him to question a monism. He might have, say, shamanic experiences, and perhaps these would give him an expertise, but from the ground the transperson, again assuming for the sake of argument a dualism, is given very powerful experiences that there can be a mismatch and thus there are actually two substances.

Obviously this is not an argument for you. I just wanted to point out what might be outside your experience, lunking and informing them, and that for all you know, you are talking to experts in ontology.

I see the question here being, Should we defer to trans people in our judgments about philosophy of mind? In general, we should defer to someone's judgments when they are are better informed about the topic. Your argument, if I understand it, is that if a trans dualist is correct in their judgments about philosophy of mind, then one consequence of that would be that they are better informed about the topic. My argument is that, if I am correct in my judgments about philosophy of mind, then the trans dualist is not better informed, and in fact is mistaken.

It's not that this is not an argument for me; rather, as a matter of the structure of argument, nothing follows from it. "If X is right Y, then we should defer to their judgments about Y" is essentially tautological.



[EDITs: heavily revised paragraphs 1 and 2 to better express my point and avoid irrelevant details.]
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:56 pm

Carleas wrote:This argument is both infuriating and plausible. Infuriating because it's saying that something that is almost X is less X than something that is not X at all. But plausible because it's another version of the uncanny valley (except applied to descriptive accuracy and sex instead of likeability and humanness).


I don't understand why that's infuriating.

As we make advances in robotics we might develop machines that become indistinguishable from people in both behavior and external appearance. If and when we do achieve this kind of technology would you not wish to have some way to distinguish a person from a machine? Might we consider it duplicitous for a machine to present itself to us as a biological human, provided we can't easily detect the difference?

Doesn't it become increasingly incumbent on us to clarify the true nature of the thing as it becomes more difficult to distinguish from something else?
If I gift you something that almost perfectly appears as gold but in fact isn't... am I not being deceptive if call it gold and let you believe it's gold, provided I know it's not?

It's more like gold than a picture of gold is, so you might think it's less inaccurate, in that sense, to call it gold... But you'd be ignoring the role of context in our communications to get there.

Carleas wrote:
Mad Man P wrote:Does that help clear things up?

It does. A further question: women differ in their social identity as women from one place to another, e.g. the western norms of long straight hair, makeup, dresses, jewelry, etc., all of which are contingent, and in other cultures they are abnormal, ambiguous, or even actively unfeminine. Given these kinds of cultural norms, would you say that members of a sex can also be representations of that sex? They are members of a certain sex, by your definition, but they are also representing themselves as a members of that sex by donning culturally contingent signifiers of the sex.


I don't know that this is a helpful angle... these are cultural prescriptions for the genders and not descriptions of gender
You can represent that you belong to a culture or subculture by doing what's prescribed for your gender... but that's about it.

Imagine a painting of a geisha next to a victorian era lady and a tribal african woman... all depictions are representing women, but they are also representing distinct cultures/subcultures from distinct periods.
You take the same geisha character and dress her in some made up outfit from star trek and she is no longer representing the same japanese culture.
In the same way, if you put a man in the geisha outfit, that would be no more appropriate attire for a man, than a star trek uniform, given the culture.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:54 pm

Mad Man P wrote:As we make advances in robotics we might develop machines that become indistinguishable from people in both behavior and external appearance. If and when we do achieve this kind of technology would you not wish to have some way to distinguish a person from a machine? Might we consider it duplicitous for a machine to present itself to us as a biological human, provided we can't easily detect the difference?

This is a good thought experiment, if only because I think our disagreement is preserved through it: if and when we get there, I would be open to broadening the meaning of "human" to include sentient machines. To see why, think of a concept like "human rights" as applied to such a machine; are we permitted to torture a sentient machine built to be indistinguishable from a human? I think it would be accurate to say that the concept that we now call "human rights" would apply to sentient machines as well (at least to ones sufficiently similar to humans). Our current definition of "human" in "human rights" means that we need to either change the term "human rights" to something like "sentience rights", or we need to expand the concept of "human" to include such sentient machines.

I don't know that this will be the best way, or the way that society will tend to go. But I think it would be a reasonable course, and not obviously the wrong way to go. And, it will matter what the machines think -- it isn't dispositive, but it is probative.

Mad Man P wrote:Doesn't it become increasingly incumbent on us to clarify the true nature of the thing as it becomes more difficult to distinguish from something else?

Only if distinguishing that thing is relevant in context. Having a really good hair stylist that dyes your hair so it looks super duper natural puts no additional onus to refer to yourself or to ensure that others refer to you as a transblonde instead of a blonde. By contrast, if someone is planning how much sunscreen to bring to the beach, and you're a biopale passing transtanned person, you should probably mention that you'll need more sunscreen than they would otherwise guess.

And I think this also shows a problem with the gold example: gold is a liquid asset, so it's basically always relevant whether something is real gold or fake gold.

Which brings us back to something I said in my last post: there are things for which the representation and the thing are indistinguishable, things you can't represent without creating. I would argue that social identity is such a thing.

Mad Man P wrote:I don't know that this is a helpful angle... these are cultural prescriptions for the genders and not descriptions of gender

It's helpful in that it's pointing me to parts of your system that I still don't understand. What's the distinction between gender and sex in your system?
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:41 am

Carleas wrote:I would be open to broadening the meaning of "human" to include sentient machines.


I mean we can redefine human to mean "deserving of moral concern and rights" if you like... but whether or not we can redefine language isn't in question.
The question is, wouldn't you want to be able to distinguish our species from machines made to look and act like our species?

If yes... we'll need words for each category then. We can call our species Snuffles and we will call the machines Trikitakas, since human isn't available and android might be offensive.
If no... I rest my case.

MMP wrote:Doesn't it become increasingly incumbent on us to clarify the true nature of the thing as it becomes more difficult to distinguish from something else?


I might have worded that poorly... what I meant was as the context clues vanish, it becomes increasingly incumbent on us to describe things more accurately or else risk deceiving people.

If a dude with pink hair said "this is my natural hair color" that's not very deceptive... it's clear that he's joking.
But if the dude with the "super duper natural blond look" said the same thing, it's not so clear that he's joking...

What's the distinction between gender and sex in your system?


There is none. Gender came into use after "sex" became associated with intercourse and people wanted another word less about... tainted love :evilfun:
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:00 pm

Mad Man P wrote:The question is, wouldn't you want to be able to distinguish our species from machines made to look and act like our species?

If yes... we'll need words for each category then.

So, the short answer is yes, but the longer answer is that there would be many places where I don't want to make that distinction, i.e. there would be many categories that include both our species and the machines built to mimic us. There's a meaningful sense in which we will be different, and we would want to be able to refer to those categories (though to be pedantic, a phrase would do just as well as a word); call these categories H1 and M. And you're right that there's a meaningful sense in which the machines that mimic us are members of category M and that they are representations of category H1. There's also another category H2 whose membership is currently identical to H1, but which will contain members of M if and when they are created. Because the categories H1 and H2 are currently identical in membership, we have one word that refers to both categories, "human". I think it's an open question, down the line, whether we should use that word to refer to H1 or H2, or continue to use to refer to both and add other clarifying language where the distinction matters.

If all that's correct, I think a central question of this thread is whether there's a sexual parallel of the category H2. And, with respect to representations, note that the H2 I'm thinking of is the type of thing I mentioned earlier whose representation is the thing itself; one can't make a faithful representation of sentience without making sentience.

Mad Man P wrote:I might have worded that poorly... what I meant was as the context clues vanish, it becomes increasingly incumbent on us to describe things more accurately or else risk deceiving people.

I would add to the end, "...if the deception matters." If, for example, a relevant fact about someone is that they are religious as opposed to irreligious, then it doesn't matter if their behavior might trick someone into thinking they're Catholic rather than Protestant. We might presume that an intentional deception is a deception about something relevant, but that is a rebuttable presumption.

Mad Man P wrote:There is none. Gender came into use after "sex" became associated with intercourse and people wanted another word less about... tainted love

I think that may be right a matter of history, though other uses of "gender" predate its use to refer to sex. And, as a matter of current usage, there seem to be disjunct speaker populations, with a certain subset of college educated liberals using "gender" predominantly as the social part of "sex".

In any case, to avoid confusion, I'll keep using "social sex" and "social sexual identity".
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:22 pm

Carleas wrote:I think it's an open question, down the line, whether we should use that word to refer to H1 or H2, or continue to use to refer to both and add other clarifying language where the distinction matters.


What's funny to me is that you need those categories to have the same name, otherwise you can't equivocate.
You need them to remain H1 and H2... so we can drop the 1 and 2 and equivocate on H.

Just as a thought experiment, let's say I give you man and woman, I'll give you he and she. You can define them to mean whatever you like, social sex if you want.

I will create entirely distinct words and pronouns that literally only refer to biological sex... Bram, Dram, Hre, Shre... say
Any other use is by definition either metaphorical or representational etc... Since I rarely if ever give a rats ass about social this or that, I expect it's Bram and Dram, Hre and Shre from this point out for me.

So Bob from work went from being a bram man to a bram woman... however you've defined those words, I'll assume hre qualifies as a woman now, congrats to Bob!
But since I refer to everyone as bram and dram I'll continue calling hrim a bram because that's what hre is... there are no two ways about it.
Also since I only ever use bram and dram... If I call hrim woman, hre'll notice that I'm not calling hrim dram, like I do the drams...
So one day Bob comes up to me and says hre would like me to call hrim dram, because that's how hre sees hrimself... that's what hre feels hre is.

So what do we do now, Carleas?
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:08 pm

Carleas wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:But in general, iow if a position like this is held in general, interpersonal respect combined with an underlying judgment that the other is mistaken about something so important, I think there is a level of toxicity that most people underestimate.

This seems to be an absolute requirement for life in a pluralistic and free society. It's a generalization of the idea behind the freedoms of religion and speech, i.e. that my disagreeing with you should not detract from my ability to respect you.
It depends what you are expecting as respect. I doubt you respect that a priest is actually the official intermediaty with God for his congregation or that he is serving them body of christ and in conversation you might very bring this up. You would likely politely call him father, if that fit the social context, but you are not fully respecting his sense of who he is and his abilities. We gender each other fast and simply, so the issue comes up fast, often, but I would need to know what 'respect' constitutes here. And if someone said they were a Christian of a feminist, say, and I saw behavior that seemed to contradict this or heck, even vibe, say in a workplace, I might very place disagree openly with their self-assessment. As I've said, I will tend to label people as they wish around sex, though if I make a mistake, and they give me a lot of shit or classify me, I think that's immoral. And I think all the PC around the labeling is creating problems down the line and now to deal with. It is driving underground the problems, and, yes, forcing people to be consdescending.

Far from being toxic, it's the only way society doesn't devolve into tribal violence; the most likely alternative is not to stop thinking people mistaken, but to stop respecting them when we do.
But we don't respect people's self-assessments where we notice things that do not fit them. Jeez, I would love if employers were not allowed to comment on and critique my professed personal traits.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Sure, but it's qualititatively different from sex.

This is the core of our disagreement in this thread. Hair color and consistency, gross morphology, facial coloring, these all tell us real things about biology, and we don't consider it a lie to modify them through dyes, conditioners, padded clothing, or makeup, we don't think someone is delusional when they choose to present themselves that way, and we do treat people as though their modified appearance accurately reflected their underlying biology.
Actuatlly I am critical of this. It's another kind of political correctness to not comment on this, but I have and will. I absolutely think that a lot of what you mention here is problematic and confused - and not to mention cosmetic surgery, which I would comment on, but it is generally too late. I have the slightest feeling of respect for someone who gets botox done, however, I will tell them it is fucked up, since they can avoid doing it again and the effects wear off. If I respect people and I see them doing a number of these things I will comment on it. I don't care much about hair color because nowadays I don't think it presents a new self, it presents variation. But back in the day brunettes who played into judgments around blondes being better by bleaching, sure that's something I would have brought up if I respected them. And obviously this is not just women. The whole expensive suit thing, the ridiculous looking gym body...sure I would comment on that. There are degrees of importance, and the messages and attempts to pass or fit into hallucinated ego-ideals have degrees. It's not binary. But sure, any attempt to create a self in this way, if I respect you and it goes to a degree where I am starting to think you are living out self-hate and with pride, yup, it will come up.

In fact I am enraged at society for not creating enough negative gossip about these fake lips, for example. It should be getting back to other women that these women look less like humans - and of course their faces are less mobile which means they are less able to feel their own emotions. But it's not happening and more and more people live out their self-hate because it is normalized and we are polite. Transchanges are very big and go over that degree line. Now, I actually believe some souls - not quite how I think, but as a shorthand I'll use that word - have come in in the wrong bodies. So some transpeople I think are really addressing a real ontological problem. But now it is moving into fashion and people who are just not like what men or boys or women or girls are supposed to be like are also getting into this trend. And that's a problem.

I see the question here being, Should we defer to trans people in our judgments about philosophy of mind? In general, we should defer to someone's judgments when they are are better informed about the topic. Your argument, if I understand it, is that if a trans dualist is correct in their judgments about philosophy of mind, then one consequence of that would be that they are better informed about the topic. My argument is that, if I am correct in my judgments about philosophy of mind, then the trans dualist is not better informed, and in fact is mistaken.
Right. I get that. I understand why you have your position.

It's not that this is not an argument for me; rather, as a matter of the structure of argument, nothing follows from it. "If X is right Y, then we should defer to their judgments about Y" is essentially tautological.
That's not quite my argument. My argument is more an attempt to head you, just a tiny bit, in the agnostic position. Their dysphoria may be, for all you know, based on correct interpretation of empirical data you, who are in the correct body for your real gender, cannot possibly be aware of. This of course does not mean you should give up your ontology. But I think there should be an asterisk. Just as we should have in any situation where someone has different empirical data or experiences than us.

People who spent a lot of time with elephants got the sense that they could communicate over long distances. Scientists and zooologists said no, even those in the field. There was no evidence for this. Well....they had no evidence, but the people in longer direct contact had difference empirical data, even if this was very hard to experimentally demonstrate, given the nature of test subjects and the subtle cues and the nature of the ultrasound not being known.

This is a general philosophical position of mine. If you do not share a lot of the experiences with someone who has a different belief than you, I think it is often a good general rule to put an asterisk next to your conclusions about what is 'really' happening with them - they are delusional, they have an incorrect ontology, etc.. Just an asterisk.

If we are talking about respect, an asterisk, it seems to me is respectful. And epistemological cautious.

If the idea is to have respect and not be consdescending, well, I cannot see how one can think smiling (I know that is polemical) and calling someone by the label they want, but thinking they are confused or delusional or irrational or have an incorrect ontology....

then that asterisk is critical. And I think in the long run they always feel the lack of it and the lack of respect in it.

And that chicken will come home to roost.

And it should be added that when something ontological is of great importance to those one disagrees with, it is probably also extremely important to you that they are wrong. IOW everyone has emotions around the issue. An asterisk is probably not a bad heuristic in such situations.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:05 pm

Mad Man P wrote:So what do we do now, Carleas?

I'm not really sure how your hypothetical world works. If we're assuming that 'man' and 'woman' now refer exclusively to social sex, and everyone acknowledges that dichotomy sufficiently to make those words meaningful, are you just using the wrong word when you talk about Bob? Like, if instead of "bram" and "dram", we use "born-with-a-penis" and "born-with-a-vagina" (a rough approximation of what you mean), are you really telling me that you'll refer to Bob as a born-with-a-penis? Like, in the office, it will seem relevant to you and to the people you're speaking to that Bob is a born-with-a-penis?

This just seems like you're not fully accepting your hypo. If we have a dichotomy where we recognize a distinction between social and biological sex with different words, then by hypothesis wouldn't you be misusing the language to use the biological words in a social context?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that you don't really accept the distinction, and I think that's why you aren't going all the way with the hypo: in your ontology, there is no social sex, there's only biological, so of course you would call Bob a born-with-a-penis, just like you (implicitly) do now. But if you did accept the distinction, I think what we should do is pretty clear. We should ask you why you keep talking about you coworker's genitals at birth, or bringing up irrelevant genetic details like chromosomes, in situations where they just aren' relevant -- because that seems to be what you're doing, by hypothesis. Just like bringing up any number of biological things in the actual world is somewhere between rude and salacious, bringing up Bob's biological sex would be inappropriate in social contexts in your hypothetical world. Compare to talking about a coworker's DNA or genitals or a literal description of their body ("Bob's a short and overweight man"); isn't that the equivalent of calling him a bram in your hypo?

Mad Man P wrote:What's funny to me is that you need those categories to have the same name, otherwise you can't equivocate.

It's not as though I'm inventing names for unnamed categories. There is one existing name for two categories. That's just a fact about the world (assuming we accept that there are two categories).

And let me be clear, I don't think you're totally off base, the people who are arguing that transwomen should be fighting in the women's league of the UFC are making the mistake you're pointing to; there is absolutely the possibility of equivocation. But that doesn't mean that non-equivocating uses of the word are incorrect. The possibility of equivocation exists because lots and lots of words refer to multiple concepts, and there's nothing inherently sinister about it as long as we notice it and correct for it.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:If the idea is to have respect and not be consdescending, well, I cannot see how one can think smiling (I know that is polemical) and calling someone by the label they want, but thinking they are confused or delusional or irrational or have an incorrect ontology....

Let me clarify that I've been talking specifically about trans people who explain their experience by reference to dualism. I don't assume that all trans people are dualists, so when I meet someone, I don't think they're confused or delusional or irrational or have an incorrect ontology -- I don't have good reason to believe any of that. That behavior is compatible with my metaphysical positions.

And that isn't true for the priest, and I'm more quietly judgmental of priests as a result.

I get the idea of an asterisk, and I aspire to have asterisks beside all my beliefs; being open to changing ones mind based on new evidence is important, and so one can't be too attached to any belief. But the existence of people whose internal experience leads them to different conclusions isn't really at odds with my position, and it doesn't change the likelihood that I'm wrong. Put differently, I have an asterisk on all my beliefs, and my beliefs already account for people who see the world differently, so this specific set of people who see the world differently isn't strong evidence against my beliefs, and doesn't move the needle much in making me doubt them.

But that's also because I don't think trans dualists are particularly wrong; they're wrong, but they aren't wrong in any special way that non-trans dualists aren't wrong. Their evidence is roughly the same, and their mistake is roughly the same. Nothing I'm saying about trans dualists being wrong in their metaphysics is particular to trans people -- it's particular to dualists.
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Carleas
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:17 am

Carleas wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that you don't really accept the distinction, and I think that's why you aren't going all the way with the hypo: in your ontology, there is no social sex, there's only biological, so of course you would call Bob a born-with-a-penis, just like you (implicitly) do now. But if you did accept the distinction, I think what we should do is pretty clear.


I accept the distinction but I don't agree about the relevance of the immaterial or superficial... I simply don't care about social sex.
Now you may think the looks and mannerisms of your coworkers is highly relevant and needs addressing... but I think their biological nature is more pertinent.

You can attempt to belittle the role biology plays by reducing it to "born with a penis" but we both know the biological sex differences are more deeply rooted than that...
I mean our brains are pruned differently for crying out loud... and then marinated in different chemicals during our development....
And you want to convince me that someone's clothes and mannerisms are more relevant?

Good luck with that.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:55 pm

Mad Man P wrote:You can attempt to belittle the role biology plays by reducing it to "born with a penis" but we both know the biological sex differences are more deeply rooted than that...
I mean our brains are pruned differently for crying out loud... and then marinated in different chemicals during our development....

I'm not trying to belittle it, I'm trying to translate what it would mean to have one word that refers to biological sex and one that refers to social sex. And I'll admit that "born-with-a-penis" is a particularly crass way of making my point (I could also have used the less incendiary "xx-chromosmed"), but what you're bringing up here can't be it. Biological sex differences are across populations, and almost all of them overlap in their distributions. Since you aren't flipping biological sex for xx-chromosomeds/born-with-a-penises at the tails, those can't be what define biological sex. Nor can marinating in different chemicals, because I don't think you make an allowance for someone who gets sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy starting at birth to be considered as having changed their sex either. What we're left with seems to be birth genital shape and chromosomes; the rest is social.

And even still, I'm not denying that there are contexts in which those differences matter, and they aren't particularly marginal cases either (athletics and medicine are two we've discussed). Rather, I'm denying that those differences -- the residue of "biological nature" distilled as necessary to produce the kind of distinct and unalterable categories you seem to intend -- I'm denying that those differences are always and everywhere more important than the social elements of sex.
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