Nick Wiltsher: "Towards an Aesthetic Ontology of Genders"

The Higher Seminar in Aesthetics

Nick Wiltsher, Uppsala University: "Towards an Aesthetic Ontology of Genders"


Abstract
Suppose that genders are social kinds, created and constituted and sustained by human practices; that social ontology is appropriately pursued by examining reasoning about kind members qua kind members, and inferring from it the constitutive content of the concept of the kind; and that there are three domains of reasoning, rationality, inference, and norms, namely the epistemic, the practical, and the aesthetic. Together, these suppositions demarcate conceptual space for an aesthetic account of genders: an account of what genders are according to which aesthetic norms, judgements, and practices are constitutively fundamental to them. Such an account would be complementary to the epistemic and practical accounts that may currently be found in the literature. The present paper works towards such an account by considering the aesthetic aspects of two of the three conditions of Sally Haslanger’s definition of what it is to be a woman, and motivating an aesthetic modulation of the remaining condition.