Male and Female Robots

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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:22 am

Carleas wrote:As I said to Mad Man P, I don't think it's useful to point to different cases where we aren't willing to grant people their choice of identity, at least not without going into more detail about how the cases are relevantly similar.
I think it is useful to open doors in conversations, even if we don't know everything yet in the conversation. I was not presenting final words or self-evident coversation stoppers, but trying to probe the idea of self-determination of identity despite body. I think coming up with parallels and partial parallels presents us with a more diverse set of tools and cases to see if what we think makes sense.

I don't find it hard to distinguish your cases in the same way I distinguish treating someone as a woman in an office setting and treating them as a woman in a boxing ring. For other things, like "7 year olds enrolling in High school", I don't see why a 7 year old who can keep up with the material should be prevented from attending high school classes (and indeed, that's exactly what we do).
1) in this case you decided that there would be certain criteria that child would have to meet 2) that's a rare situation where someone so young gets to do that. In this kind of rare situation we do not instruct people not to age categorize children as a whole. We have not created a culture where one must accept first their own determination. 3) I'd also be interested to see a holistic determination of whether it is good for the whole child, not just the academic child, to be in high school with peers who are different in a variety of ways. Is High School just an academic thing?
There is also emancipated minor as a concept. One can get the courts to determine that one is ready to be an adult or an adult in some ways. But this, again, is not done by the person alone. It is a rare exception. Most kids cannot walk into bars and get alcohol because they know they are 21 inside. Driver's licences and so on. And this would have to do with grades, moving between them. I probably could have handled high school academics not at 7 but by 11 for sure. It would have been terrible for me to go there. And that's the academic, college focused high school I went to. Other high schools I could have cleared even younger. I would guess you could have also. Hopefully the guy you linked to, his family made a lot of adjustments are took care to make sure the potential problems he might face he could handle. IOW a team made this work, a team with ongoing presence in his life, and a team that determined he was capable despite his chronological age. And probably they have some kind of caer around that kid NOT being taken as a 16 year old by his peers and teachers, except academically.

And all the other kids in his home city and state, were not being told to not assign age to any other child, that they must accept the age determination a person gives of themselves, that they are bad if they don't, that they themselves must not think of themselves as a certain age and so on.

But similar to what I asked Mad Man, is being a woman in an office setting more like being a heavyweight in a cage match, or more like being a 7 year old in a high school class? We can produce cases that cut either way, and merely producing them is just question-begging.
Why not use all such examples to triangulate. What is 'being a woman in an office setting'?

Granted. I think we can safely ignore them, and focus on the people who care about what social sexual label they receive.
And that 'care' includes teaching them not to care and then also that they must care. Right now. That is the message, care and don't care, and don't mess that up or you are a bad person.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:we are being told not to keep things binary by the vast majority of the people who are telling us to, in the case of transpeople, keep things binary.

Consider a group of people, and a set of beliefs A, B, and C. A, B, and C have a relation such that one can consistently believe any two, but not all three. If a third of the group believes A and B, a third believes A and C, and a third believes B and C, then the group as a whole will on average believe A, B, and C (66% believing each), which we agree is inconsistent, and yet no individual has any inconsistent view.

I don't think this is the case. I meet people regularly who combine traditional feminist ideas about gender being cultural and transwomen are women, they felt that and this must be honored and if you don't you are bad. I encounter this systematically, not just in individuals. IOW through organizational policy, political party policy and even law. I'm not in the US but while the laws are not the same I am pretty sure organizational polices reflect the contradiction also.

It's a good point to nuance the debate. I am sure you are correct that there are individuals that fit your breakdown above. But I don't think your breakdown fits most. I think this is a big cognitive dissonence being not noticed. Further those individuals who are not aligned with the coalition's internal contradictions are not making enough noise. And this in a context where people on boht sides are daming each other. The Right's coalition must have similar nuances and they are also not making enough noise, the ones who are not aligned with whatever contradictions their coalition has.

We have teams, and 'patiotism' to that team is overriding nuance.


I think that might be partly what's going on here. As we discussed earlier, there is a growing schism in the left between pro-trans and "gender-critical" (AKA "TERF", Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist). They're having exactly the argument you point out, with the pro-trans faction demanding recognition and complete inclusion, and the TERF faction rejecting that demand in favor of destroying gender roles.
Great. It is not trickling down yet.

Now, I do think there are a lot of people 'on the left' who have inconsistent beliefs because they just take what they perceive to be the accepted wisdom and go with it.
I think that is the vast majority. Likewise on the Right. I used to be able to get thrive in the Left. Not always smoothly, but in general. Not anymore. Please see my posts as, shit, I lost my home, now they are as volatile as the Right. I would guess there are people on the Right who feel this way also.

But I think we should be cautious about how we use them as an example, since people that don't critically examine their beliefs in the philosophical mode are likely to have inconsistent beliefs.
Sure, but right now they are in power. Whatever internal battles are not affecting life on the ground. I could pick out a consistent lefty position on sex and gender and relate to that, but that's an academic issue, and actually it would be one I could be damaged by if it was public. Or I can react to the whole thing. It is not like the whole thing is not being pushed. So the correct A belief is being pushed in the way it is being pushed in the context of B and C being pushed. That is the reality I face. To just push A without complexifying and reacting to the rest of the Left is problematic. If A was being pushed with such nuance, my reaction would be different. Trying to breathe here.

And it occurs to me that I don't really know how to deal with their beliefs for the purpose of examining intersubjective facts. There doesn't seem to be anything requiring that intersubjective facts be mutually consistent, does there? Especially if different facts are made salient at different times, so that the inconsistency generally doesn't usually present itself in situations where you have to act on the facts. I need to think more about how to think about intersubjectivity, it seems a significant and underdiscussed part of these issues.
Sounds like a useful line. I don't know exactly what you mean by 'requiring that intersubjective facts be mutually consistent', but my sense is that freedom needs to cut two ways or all ways. That each person need not be consistent, ok. But then why not let others not be fully consistent with your beliefs also. Keep them from being violent and not renting apartments to you, but let them have their subjective sense of your gender, also. Why must one utopia come today, and then for whom?

Robots and artificial intelligences (both real and fictional) are often assigned a sexual identity: C3PO is male. Data is male. Cortana is female. Alexa and Siri are female. TASbot is male.

If sex is purely a biological fact, then this use of sex in relation to non-biological entities must be incorrect.
I keep wanting to come back to this, since my gut reaction is there is something fundamentally confused here, but I haven't yet been able to tie this down. I certainly don't think C3PO is male. I don't think he exists. And beyond that I don't think I, in the immersed in movie sense, though of him as male, but as made in male-ish form. Even if we go to a better example, I think, Ex Machina, where the robot looks like a beautiful woman and probably feels like it, when her metal parts are not exposed, even in those sequences where we are presented by her as seemingly human - with emotions and a subjectivity - in the back of my mind, I kept thinking - we have no idea what this things internal states are like. What is simulated, if there is an experiencer, let alone is it female. IOW I never decided it was human. Many do. We have many films these days that present machines as oh, so human, really inside. I don't like this.

I feel like your argument is a kind of argument ad populum. Now it can't be dismissed merely for this. If people believe wrong thing X, but this wrong thing X contradicts other beliefs they have, pointing this out to them can be an effective argument. However it doesn't mean that believing X is right. Or that believing the Y, that really they should also believe, given their belief in X, is right.

We suspend disbelief, to varying degrees, when we enter fantasy worlds. I am not sure how that carries over into everyday life.

If the argument is, we suspend disbelief with C3PO, so we should suspect disbelief with transpeople, I don't think that holds. I doubt it would be enough for the transperson either, since it entails a temporary being entertained by a fantasy relation to them, then walking away no longer suspending disbelief. I think, as an analogy, it ends up with some pretty poor analogies. Plastic surgeons and endocrinologists become special effects people, the latter being people whose job it is to make you think something is happening that is not happening, for example. Mona Lisa, sure we might refer to her as a woman, in the special as if thinking we do with art. We wouldn't let the painting adopt a child.

I don't think I've quite got this yet, but this is a first probe.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:57 pm

Mad Man P wrote:Your mistake is thinking we can "grant" people their choice of identity.

I take your point, and I think I was not as clear as I should have been. My use of "grant" here is related to what Karpel Tunnel talks about at the end of his post in terms of "suspend[ing] disbelief", but even more so: I would say we "grant" people their declared religious identity, in that we don't seriously inquire about it most of the time once they've stated, "I'm an X". But you're right, "grant" isn't really the right word or concept here.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I think it is useful to open doors in conversations, even if we don't know everything yet in the conversation.

I agree, I'm not trying to say that it's not useful, only that it's not useful by itself: we need to take the examples and pick them apart and make connections to the case we're examining here. For example, I think your analysis of the 7 year old in high school is useful, and it's that analysis that makes the example of the 7 year old informative for the case of the transwoman.

So, we should absolutely triangulate, and that's what I mean in asking, Is this case more like example X or example Y? What is it about e.g. the cagefight that makes us agree that there biology matters, and what is it about the case of the bleach blonde that makes us agree that biology doesn't matter?

My take is that the bleach blonde case, we ignore biology because we see hair color as superficial anyway, so we're fine treating bleach blondes as real blondes (contrast Nazi Germany, where blonde-ness wasn't merely superficial and natural blondes and bleach blondes would have gotten different treatment). And note that we don't have a blonde league and a brunette league, or a lefty league and a righty league; we treat those differences as superficial, and not salient in the realm of sport. But we see certain biological and physical differences as salient: sex, weight (e.g. boxing weight classes), disability (special olympics, murderball), age, etc. And to a large extent a transwoman doesn't change in the relevant way when she becomes a woman. For the same reason we ban e.g. doping with testosterone, we ban people who naturally have too much testosterone from the woman's league, which will include a lot of transwomen.

But it also seems relevant to me that a more complete sex-reassignment procedure could overcome that, right? If we had a procedure that could more fully change a person from a man to a woman in more physical respects, at some margin we shouldn't care that they are a transwoman or a ciswoman. That tells us that, even in the realm of sport, it isn't the biological man-ness, it's some contingent property of biological man-ness that we care about (e.g. increased testosterone, different body mechanics, etc.).

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I encounter this systematically, not just in individuals. IOW through organizational policy, political party policy and even law.

Organizational policy and law are especially likely to have the kind of breakdown I described, because they are advanced to placate a coalition of groups that may each have internally consistent views but whose views are inconsistent together, and who can still get behind the inconsistent policy because they agree with e.g. 66% of it.

But, I think this is a more general problem with coalition politics in a democracy, right? So much of law is inconsistent. In almost every area of law, we can find different parts of the law working at cross purposes, because of some compromise somewhere along the way that brought enough support into a coalition to get something done, if imperfectly. Is it particularly a problem here? If so, in what way?

Karpel Tunnel wrote:It is not trickling down yet.

I'm not sure how to deal with the division between sophisticated and unsophisticated people discussing these issues, because on the one hand, much philosophy is incomprehensible to someone who's never spent any time with it, but on the other hand, these arguments depend on appeals to intersubjective concepts and words defined across a culture or speaker population made up mostly of people who don't think too deeply about the issue. So I'm torn between dismissing the perspective of people who hold obviously inconsistent views (like "there's no such thing as gender" and "transwomen really are their chosen gender"), and needing their perspective to make any of the concepts we're using meaningful.


To clarify what I mean by intersubjective, because I've realize googling around that I may not be using its most common meaning (I picked it up not too long ago from Yuval Noah Harari's book Sapiens; it apparently has some meaning in phenomenology that I don't understand enough to know if it's the same thing), I'm using it to refer to things that are true by virtue of shared subjectivity. Here is a quote from the book, cribbed from this review:
An objective phenomenon exists independently of human consciousness and human beliefs. ... [Radioactivity is his example.]

The subjective is something that exists depending on the consciousness and beliefs of a single individual. ... [A child's imaginary friend is his example.]

The inter-subjective is something that exists within the communication network linking the subjective consciousness of many individuals. If a single individual changes his or her beliefs, or even dies, it is of little importance. However, if most individuals in the network die or change their beliefs, the inter-subjective phenomenon will mutate or disappear. ...

There's an objective element to sex, i.e. biology. But there's also an intersubjective element, i.e. social sexual roles. That's certainly true of the language we use (language being a paradigmatic intersubjective phenomenon), but it's also true of the underlying concepts of social sex, which we can see by the progress of sexual equality and the different presumptions about gendered behavior across cultures.

So when I say that, "There doesn't seem to be anything requiring that intersubjective facts be mutually consistent", what I mean is that these concepts can be inconsistent, they can be logically incompatible, and nonetheless be true. It might be that a "woman" is "a female person", "female" is about biology, and yet "woman" is not about biology (I'm not claiming that, I'm just offering it as an example). The only thing constraining intersubjective facts is what the nodes in a communications network can believe. That leaves open the possibility that inconsistent individual beliefs can get written into a kind of fact external to any particular individual, or that the sum of beliefs may be inconsistent even where the individual beliefs aren't.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:If the argument is, we suspend disbelief with C3PO, so we should suspect disbelief with transpeople, I don't think that holds. I doubt it would be enough for the transperson either

Something I touched on earlier and didn't go far enough into is the way that all social identities are fictions, and all require some degree of suspension of disbelief, and I think if that's the case, then it's not so unsatisfying to say that transpeople are asking for a similar kind of suspension of disbelief.

Complex concepts like "male" and "female" have a lot of associations and connotations tied to the idea in general and dropped as necessary when applied in the specific. Like, if we try to think of the archetypical man or woman, it's pretty easy to see that most instances don't match on any number of dimension. And yet when we describe those individuals as "man" or "woman", those archetypical features come over in part; like C3PO, individual biological men are "made in male-ish form". Obviously they are more central in the concept of "man", but in the Venn diagram of man-ness, an individual will only partially overlap with male-ish traits. And every individual will also have a different concept of "man" or "woman", so that people will disagree about how to classify the marginal cases.

But we suspend disbelief in the sense that we don't interrogate the specifics too much, we use "man" and "woman" as though they are Platonic forms and we ignore the ways in which we know, upon reflection, that individuals don't fit, and don't even mean the same thing we mean when we use them. We use those concepts to sum people up and align expectations, and we're OK with our expectations being only mostly correct.

I don't think it's too great a stretch to draw parallels between the ways in which we shape ourselves towards these identities and the ways movie-makers shape robots towards them. We choose clothes that make our bodies appear more man-like and woman-like; we up- and down- regulate our emotional expressions to convey a more man-like or woman-like mental mode; we cut our hair or wear makeup or engage in activities or select car colors with these ideals in mind. A lot of our choices aren't about inherent biology, they're about crafting ourselves towards some intersubjective fiction of what a man or woman should be or do or sound like or drive.

Even more generally that that, the extent that I think of myself as a unified whole, with a consistent personality and set of desires and preferences, is artificial. It's easier to model myself and the world by conceiving of myself and others this way, but it doesn't track what we know about people as physical objects or social actors. Once I tell someone my favorite food is X, I am much more likely to choose that food when we're out to lunch together than I would have been if I just never thought about the question. That's a case of a quasi-fictional identity feeding back to shape how we behave, who we are, rather than an identity that is shaped by who we are and what we do.

And I think this relates, too, to the conflict between de-emphasizing gender and also respecting ("granting"/acknowledging/privileging/whatever the word) people's self-expressed gender identity. To some extent, we could find the same tensions in any identity; we can point out that all the concepts we use are fuzzy and less stable than we let on, and still apply them as though they're sharply defined and fixed.
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Carleas
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:53 am

Carleas wrote:I take your point, and I think I was not as clear as I should have been. I would say we "grant" people their declared religious identity, in that we don't seriously inquire about it most of the time once they've stated, "I'm an X". But you're right, "grant" isn't really the right word or concept here.


Isn't it?

You have laid out two different aspects that you think more accurately define gender, the social and the subjective.
Let's examine their merit.

First about the subjectivity.

Perhaps you might agree that a useful thought experiment is to imagine that somehow through the use of magic or sci-fi technology, a man and a woman underwent a body-swap scenario.
Would we say they are now members of the opposite gender or would we say they retain their original gender?

How should we address these people? As their subjective selves or their objective selves?

The truth is, to most people on the planet, your subjective self is utterly irrelevant.
The sole exception to this being the people that know you or want to get to know you, personally...
Your local physician doesn't need to know what gender you feel like... he needs to know if you're at risk of getting cervical cancer.
No one, not strangers on the street, your boss, co-workers, classmates, nor anyone else (who does not want to be friends, intimate or otherwise get familiar with you), needs to know nor care what gender you feel like.
They should merely treat you with the same courtesy that they do everyone else and just get on with their day.

Asking that they give a damn beyond that is an imposition... demanding it is downright tyrannical.

If you or I were body swapped with a female tomorrow I think we would both expect and be quite understanding of the fact that we would be addressed as female by pretty much anyone we came across...
We would even agree to frequent the ladies room rather than the men's room... Because while we know we belong in a male body we're also very much aware of the fact that we're not currently in a male body.

No one can make us magically inhabit the right body for our minds with words or the use of bathrooms, the best such accommodations could ever offer is a LIE, or a fantasy.

And this is where you would bring up the social and linguistic aspect of gender.

What if you could clue people in on the fact that you feel like a man trapped in a woman's body by way of your dress or surgery even. In the body swap scenario, you're still Carleas and Carleas is male, right?
Would it really be inaccurate or even wrong that they address you as male?
The answer is yes, yes it would... gender was never about your subjectivity and to MAKE it about that would be very costly!

I repeat, this redefinition is not an insignificant change... it comes at a heavy price!

There undoubtedly is a social aspect to gender but you refuse to acknowledge that the social is a reflection of the biological and requires it in order to even make sense.
If you remove the underpinning of biology from gender, the social vanishes... your adaptation of "gender" as primarily informed by subjectivity would
a) make the social aspects of gender about accommodating preferences, establishing an expectation that people modify their behavior to suit your subjectivity when in fact they are under no such moral obligation and
b) once hinged on subjectivity, "gender" no longer lends itself to a binary "male" or "female", it escapes any formal classification, fractures, diversifies and ultimately becomes individualised... reduced to being a personal identifier serving the same function as a name, but now with the expectation of some form of social accommodation... i.e. a massive imposition on others.

This process of diversification of gender is already underway and is currently taking place very much along with the social imposition...
This is a demonstrable and logical consequence of this linguistic and social adaptation that you propose.

Now I contend we neither need nor even could, utilize this language to communicate anything of any significance nor will the social "accomodation" of subjectivity lead to a more considerate society...
It will and has lead to a society where we selfishly impose on each other.

You might be tempted to argue, we're not obligated to cater to selfish people but only those that truly need it to be happy in life.
If you did, I would agree... but unfortunately you seem to have trouble LYING to the people who need the lie and have instead opted to engineer language and culture to erase the lie from it.
It's no longer a "special" treatment but you've made this the lense through which we're meant to view all gender and thus universally applicable... you can't have your cake and eat it too.
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:37 am

Carleas wrote:I take your point, and I think I was not as clear as I should have been. My use of "grant" here is related to what Karpel Tunnel talks about at the end of his post in terms of "suspend[ing] disbelief", but even more so: I would say we "grant" people their declared religious identity, in that we don't seriously inquire about it most of the time once they've stated, "I'm an X". But you're right, "grant" isn't really the right word or concept here.
One trick with religious identity is it doesn't come up. I don't have to say 'Hi, Jew.' or something. There are not social phrases, thank God, that come up in conversation that parallel 'I'll be right with you mam.' Where one is suddenly 'misgendered' or there is judgment over misgendering.

And, of course, with the example of being a Jew, one actually does need to meet certain criteria and this can be true in some Islamic and Chrisitian contexts. To have been baptized or circumcized as simple examples. Within the religion one may meet certain barriers to simply saying one feels on is X.

Beyond that in fact I and I would guess others call into question people's actually religious beliefs/status given their behavior or speech and attitudes. With religion to make a challenge one must go out of one's way. Hey, you don't seem to be very Christian, something that will happen in a philosophy forum, where people who were, for example, pro the Iraq embargo and also claiming to be Christian might be called out given what happened to the children. But on the street you really have to take a rather huge step to call someone out on their beliefs, though I would guess this happens all the time. Muslims drinking or nightclubbing, Christians partying or not sharing their wealth and so on. The thinking the gossiping even social ostracisms to a wide range of degrees will be happening, even if it is less common these days.

With gender it often leads to both language and practical issues in secular spaces: at swimming pools, in stores and so on.

My take is that the bleach blonde case, we ignore biology because we see hair color as superficial anyway, so we're fine treating bleach blondes as real blondes (contrast Nazi Germany, where blonde-ness wasn't merely superficial and natural blondes and bleach blondes would have gotten different treatment).
And note that we don't have a blonde league and a brunette league, or a lefty league and a righty league; we treat those differences as superficial, and not salient in the realm of sport. But we see certain biological and physical differences as salient: sex, weight (e.g. boxing weight classes), disability (special olympics, murderball), age, etc. And to a large extent a transwoman doesn't change in the relevant way when she becomes a woman. For the same reason we ban e.g. doping with testosterone, we ban people who naturally have too much testosterone from the woman's league, which will include a lot of transwomen.

But it also seems relevant to me that a more complete sex-reassignment procedure could overcome that, right?
Yes, it might. And I think that would be fair. Though it might end up discriminating, rightly or wrongly, against women who had high levels of testosterone. But as it is now, I think it is hypocritical for a transwoman to say I feel like a woman and want to be taken as a women, but I am extremely fast due to my masculine hormones and beat other women in sport X. And this is happening. One could call into question separate sports for women and men, but women will lose out if that distinction is ended. At least in the short term. A long short term.

Further, some transpeople are not doing anything physical to change. I know a man who is now a lesbian woman and has no plans to do any medical changes at all.

The door is open for that. For simple declaration.

And actually that situation concerns me because I think it leaves open a role model for young men who are not transpeople at all but rather nice or PSTD suffers or any of a number of other categories and a false solution is being made.

Gotta go. I'll come back for more.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:19 pm

Carleas wrote: If we had a procedure that could more fully change a person from a man to a woman in more physical respects, at some margin we shouldn't care that they are a transwoman or a ciswoman.
Though a feminist might. IOW you have a woman raised in the priviledge of being a man, then shifting sex. This person is not necessarily, I would think, the same. It might be clearer to think of a white changing to black at 30. And I think there is something rather odd about deciding one is really black, though my belief system actually leaves room for this, I can't see how physicalists or leftists would find themselves defending this.

Should there be transracials and what does it mean when a 30 year old, raised and presumably treated as white, is now black?

That tells us that, even in the realm of sport, it isn't the biological man-ness, it's some contingent property of biological man-ness that we care about (e.g. increased testosterone, different body mechanics, etc.).
Now potentially contingent.




Karpel Tunnel wrote:I encounter this systematically, not just in individuals. IOW through organizational policy, political party policy and even law.

Organizational policy and law are especially likely to have the kind of breakdown I described, because they are advanced to placate a coalition of groups that may each have internally consistent views but whose views are inconsistent together, and who can still get behind the inconsistent policy because they agree with e.g. 66% of it.
This may be true, but 1) I wasn't just saying it was organizations but also in the individuals I meet: they hold contradictory beliefs and 2) institutions should check out these things. Of course they often don't, batches of humans can be inconsistent also.

But, I think this is a more general problem with coalition politics in a democracy, right?

I can only stress that the mass of the left seems to me to support contradictory ideas about sex, depending on the situation. When it is on the feminist end, the focus is on not differentiating and characterizing (limiting) sex characteristics, when on the trans end, supporting the idea that there are specific characteristics and a man is X but not Y. Etc. I think the way they merge is both ideas are seen as supporting an oppressed person, and the underlying philosophy is not crosschecked. So the individual leftists, and again, I think this is most, focuses on the not accepting of the right or conservatives and pays no attention at all to the ontological stuff.

So much of law is inconsistent. In almost every area of law, we can find different parts of the law working at cross purposes, because of some compromise somewhere along the way that brought enough support into a coalition to get something done, if imperfectly. Is it particularly a problem here? If so, in what way?
If you have one hand perpetuating sex roles and stereotypes and the other hand trying to eliminate them, then you 1) confuse children leading to future problems 2) erase your own work in complex undercurrent ways and 3) you more or less have to be wrong somewhere.

I'm not sure how to deal with the division between sophisticated and unsophisticated people discussing these issues, because on the one hand, much philosophy is incomprehensible to someone who's never spent any time with it, but on the other hand, these arguments depend on appeals to intersubjective concepts and words defined across a culture or speaker population made up mostly of people who don't think too deeply about the issue. So I'm torn between dismissing the perspective of people who hold obviously inconsistent views (like "there's no such thing as gender" and "transwomen really are their chosen gender"), and needing their perspective to make any of the concepts we're using meaningful.
The sophisticated people seem rather silent. So what we end up with is those who react to it are treated as evil. It is team warfare instead of group search for solutions.

There's an objective element to sex, i.e. biology. But there's also an intersubjective element, i.e. social sexual roles. That's certainly true of the language we use (language being a paradigmatic intersubjective phenomenon), but it's also true of the underlying concepts of social sex, which we can see by the progress of sexual equality and the different presumptions about gendered behavior across cultures.

So when I say that, "There doesn't seem to be anything requiring that intersubjective facts be mutually consistent", what I mean is that these concepts can be inconsistent, they can be logically incompatible, and nonetheless be true. It might be that a "woman" is "a female person", "female" is about biology, and yet "woman" is not about biology (I'm not claiming that, I'm just offering it as an example). The only thing constraining intersubjective facts is what the nodes in a communications network can believe. That leaves open the possibility that inconsistent individual beliefs can get written into a kind of fact external to any particular individual, or that the sum of beliefs may be inconsistent even where the individual beliefs aren't.
I don't think these intersubjective truths, granting for argument here, are treated as intersubjective truths. If they were, I am not sure what it would mean, but they're not. And then, these ideas are seeping into people, and this is especially true for children. I think we now have a much more confused set of messages to children.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:09 pm

Mad Man P wrote:You have laid out two different aspects that you think more accurately define gender, the social and the subjective.

Yes, though I don't want to lose sight of the contexts where biology is relevant (e.g. boxing). It's important to refer back to, since it's a point on which we all agree, and when I talk about the contexts where it isn't relevant, I mean to contrast those with the context where we agree that it's relevant.

This trichotomy actually seems to track the objective/subjective/intersubjective division I mentioned in my previous post (i.e. biological, subjective, and social, respectively), so I'll try to use that structure in replying to your hypothetical.

Mad Man P wrote:Perhaps you might agree that a useful thought experiment is to imagine that somehow through the use of magic or sci-fi technology, a man and a woman underwent a body-swap scenario.
Would we say they are now members of the opposite gender or would we say they retain their original gender?

I actually don't think this is an easy question, or one with a uniform yes/no answer.

Objectively, i.e., biologically/genetically (setting aside any of Gloominary's 'male brain' claims), I think we agree that they are their new body's sex. And I think this is what your physician is concerned with.

Subjectively, I think we agree that they are still their old sex (and this hypothetical is a much easier case on that question than that of trans people, where someone 'feels like they're the other sex', even though any individual only has the experience of feeling like themselves, and can only mentally simulate being something that they aren't imperfectly, cf. Nagel). I think the bathroom example might fall here, rather than in the social part below (or at least in both). Do I use the men's room because society wants me too, or because I don't want to shit in front of the opposite sex? Anecdotal reports of people's experience in unisex restrooms suggests that the latter is actually a significant factor.

Intrasubjectively, i.e. socially, I don't think it's an easy question. You note that people who know you personally would care, but you seem to dismiss that as irrelevant. The people who know you best would treat you as your mental sex, rather than your physical sex. I think that caveat does more work than you acknowledge. It seems to indicate that in contexts where your mind is what matters, you are still a man. I would argue that this extends beyond just close interpersonal relationships, to e.g. internet web forums, where your declared sex is the whole of your existence. It also plausibly extend to places where bodies are expected to be functionally erased, e.g. formal environments like a corporate office. To your boss, co-workers, classmates, you're better thought of as a mind than a body.

You say that "[t]hey should merely treat you with the same courtesy that they do everyone else", but I think that downplays the degree to which people do in fact treat people differently based on sex. There are still norms around e.g. what you can and can't discuss in mixed company, and 'boys/girls weekend' is still a thing, and gatherings often devolve into sex-segregated groups. For the purpose of such conversations, you-mentally-swapped-into-a-woman's-body would still be a man, I would think. Or rather, you'd expect and want to be, and anyone who knew you well would expect you to be, and you would be noticeably awkward and stilted if you were mis-assigned. It's not about courtesy, it's about a distinct difference in social behavior and treatment. I admit, though, that most of these differences in treatment are unconscious, and overriding your gut reaction of noticing that a transwoman is a biological man may not entail treating them fully as a woman. Still, conscious shifts in perspective can feed back to influence automatic behaviors.

And part of what sex signals is about expectation: to signal that you are or wish to be treated as a woman is also to signal that you should expect me to "act like a woman". Again, this gets to something that both you and Karpel Tunnel have noted, namely that there's a tension between tearing down the whole idea of "acting like an X", but that doesn't change that men and women do act differently and are expected to act differently (in that last clause, let me be clear that "expected" there is meant in the sense that violating the expectation would lead people to feel that the behavior was unexpected, slightly surprising and incongruous, rather than the more schoolmarmish sense in which it is often used in similar statements, e.g. "I expect you to be home by 9pm, young man!"). So in that sense, too, you would be intersubjectively a man: people should expect you to act and to want to be treated like a man.


A last point on this body-swapping hypothetical: suppose the swap were into an ant instead of another human; is it a human or an ant? On the one hand, I'm tempted to say an ant, but I have the strong intuition that if someone knew that the ant had the mind of a human, and squished it anyway, that would be murder and not just bug-squishing. Do you agree?

Mad Man P wrote:No one can make us magically inhabit the right body for our minds with words or the use of bathrooms, the best such accommodations could ever offer is a LIE, or a fantasy.

I raised to Karpel Tunnel the hypothetical case where science advances to the point where we could more fully transition people. It seems to follow from what you're saying here that such transition could ever change the fact that it's a lie. Even if some kind of gene doping could fully replace every Y chromosome with an X chromosome, it would just be a yet-more-elaborate lie. Is that your position?

I assume it isn't, given what you've said so far, so let me go a bit deeper here, because I think this hypothetical can help clarify our conflicting intuitions. Suppose some future technology that enables sex reassignment such that a person can be fully transitioned in every observable respect: their organs, genes, limb ratios, facial structure, etc. etc. are altered so that they are fully biologically their new sex, with no evidence of their previous sex remaining except in memories and paper trail. Is that person the new sex?

If so, the hypothetical converts the question of whether a transwoman is a woman into the Ship of Theseus: somewhere between a man who dresses and acts and subjectively identifies as a man, and a transwoman who is completely biologically converted into a woman, there exists a line where on one side we have to call that person a man and where we have to call that person a woman. Everything we've discussed so far is just pinning down that line. One step between being a born-man who identifies as a man and born-man super-post-op-woman who identifies as a woman is a born-man who identifies as a woman. Another step is a born-man who acts, dresses, introduces herself as a woman. Another step is a born-man who has undergone plastic surgery, hormone therapy, genital inversion, etc. etc. Do you agree that this constitutes a Ship-of-Theseus-like spectrum?

Karpel Tunnel, I'd be interested in your take on this hypothetical, since you've said your ontology has a concept of the male-ness or femaleness attached to the soul and not just to the body.

Mad Man P wrote:This process of diversification of gender is already underway and is currently taking place very much along with the social imposition...
This is a demonstrable and logical consequence of this linguistic and social adaptation that you propose.

I'd point out again that this is something that happens to lots of words and concepts, it's not unique to sex. Also note that its a largely a-rational process, tracking how people parse the world into fuzzy collections of connected ideas, and which ideas they tie to which words.

Mad Man P wrote:If you remove the underpinning of biology from gender, the social vanishes...

Certainly the social will drift from where it began, but I don't think that entails it vanishing. There are many dichotomies divorced from their initial justifying distinction, but which continue through sheer intersubjective inertia, e.g. the US political parties, which were founded as 1) a pro-business, rural, small government, anti-immigrant, pro-party, and 2) a social and economic modernization and reform party that opposed the expansion of slavery and whose first president was responsible for abolishing it. They've morphed into 1) a pro-immigrant, pro-reform party with the overwhelming support of the descendants of slaves, and 2) an arguably white-nationalist party in the pocket of big business. Respectively.

Which is just to say, the social won't vanish, it will drift.

Mad Man P wrote:Asking that they give a damn beyond [treat[ing] you with the same courtesy that they do everyone else] is an imposition... demanding it is downright tyrannical.

This seems extreme, but depends on what constitutes treating someone with appropriate courtesy. To return again to the religion example, we might call not mocking Christian beliefs in front of a Christian, or not accusing someone of not being a Christian or not being a good Christian, treating those people with the appropriate courtesy. Applying a similar standard to sex would mean not pointing out that someone is trans, or not accusing a transwoman of not being a real woman or not passing. In that case, in which case I can agree with the idea that going further than that is something of an imposition, though I'm not sure what "going further" would look like; what is giving a damn beyond caring enough to avoid acts that you know will hurt someone?


Karpel Tunnel wrote:Though it might end up discriminating, rightly or wrongly, against women who had high levels of testosterone.

My understanding is that the distribution of testosterone levels between the sexes is such that effectively no biologically women who aren't at least partly hermaphroditic have anywhere near male levels of testosterone without supplementation, i.e. that there is no overlap in the distributions between those who are unambiguously biologically women and those who are unambiguously biologically men.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Though a feminist might [care that they are a transwoman or a ciswoman].

This is an interesting point, and I expect you are right, but I don't know quite what to make of such claims. Suppose some 18 year old gets the surgery. At 36, are they as legitimately a woman as an 18 year old biological woman? What if they get the surgery at 1 year old? It also seems that the position is dependent on a certain culture and time, such that the future culture in which this technology exists may not have whatever pathologies create the issue in our culture. I suspect at least some such feminists would agree.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Now potentially contingent.

In terms of formal logic, potentially contingent is contingent, no? Potentially contingent = contingently contingent = contingent.

I think I take your point, that we're using a hypothetical technology that doesn't exist, but unless we think it's impossible even in theory, we can still use it to show that biological-man-ness isn't actually what we care about.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:institutions should check out [inconsistent rules]

I think there's a case to be made that they shouldn't, though I present it more for consideration than because I am fully convinced of it: permitting inconsistent rules can lead to better outcomes where 1) the inconsistent rule produces better outcomes than would no rule at all, and 2) no consistent rule could get sufficient approval. And this is likely to be the case where an inconsistent rule is consistent as applied in most specific cases, and only inconsistent in theory, across many cases, or in outlier cases.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I can only stress that the mass of the left seems to me to support contradictory ideas about sex

This is a non-sequitur in context. My claim is that, for any coalition C, there exists some area of policy P such that C's position on P is contradictory. If that's true, then pointing out that the coalition "the left" is contradictory on policy "sex" is not a particular strike against that coalition, it's just an instance of a general rule.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:The sophisticated people seem rather silent.

I'd argue it's moreso that the unsophisticated people are just very noisy. That may seem a distinction without a difference, but I don't think so. Two consequences seem to be 1) that we should look for the sophisticated positions to steelman the ideas we disagree with, and 2) when we respond primarily to the unsophisticated position, we add to the din that drowns out the more nuanced positions.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I don't think these intersubjective truths

I'm not sure what to make of this claim. Claims about the meaning of words are paradigmatically intersubjective, right?

I also think that there's a strong case that complex concepts are intersubjective, particularly where they have socially relevant connotations. But the mere fuzziness of such concepts, for which there's no sufficient or necessary condition, means that it's only by a general intersubjective agreement that we have truths about them. Perhaps this just hints at a deeper disagreement in our philosophies; I would say that concepts are statistical rather than atomic, and that there is always more than one way to parse the world into coherent concepts.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:37 pm

Carleas wrote:You say that "[t]hey should merely treat you with the same courtesy that they do everyone else", but I think that downplays the degree to which people do in fact treat people differently based on sex.


Carleas, there's a difference between what treatment I offer you and what treatment I owe you.
I'm morally obligated to treat you with a certain degree of civility... and you have the same moral obligations toward me.
I'm not obligated to agree with you... nor are you obligated to agree with me... we're merely obligated to be civil in our disagreement.

Gender is a description of you... even the people that deeply care about your subjectivity have to describe you as you are OR ELSE be lying about you.

So you might well feel like you're a non-gendered, 1437 years old, alien from another planet or any number of other things.
But I am not obligated to address you as such, agree with that description of you, nor even respect your opinions in that regard.

Asking me to do any of that against my own judgement IS an imposition... demanding it IS tyrannical.

Yet, it might make for a good store policy to choose the path of least resistance when dealing with someone like that to get their money and get them out the store asap.
"Hello ancient zer, martian, how may I help you t'day?"

The social situations you bring up are better informed by other factors that you keep using to confuse the topic.
Teenagers bunking together according to gender might be best informed by their parents fear of their sexuality.
So what if you feel more like one of the boys? If you have the body of a girl and the parents don't want the their boys exposed to a female body... then you're shit out of luck.

You and I might well reach an agreement on how best to tackle such social circumstances, completely separate from whether or not a person qualifies as male or female.

Many of our social conventions regarding gender maybe are founded on previous or even current misapprehensions of what all we can determine from person's gender alone.
We used to have or perhaps still do have a common perception of women, that indicates they make bad drivers. We might well socially act out this perception resulting in a "social treatment"
And assuming we can agree there's something wrong with that, the solution isn't to "pretend women are men when driving" but to drop that misapprehension that gender is deterministic with regard to driving.

Where gender isn't largely or entirely deterministic, we might well agree that participation should be elected rather than enforced or restricted by gender.
We could find a great deal more agreement between us, i imagine, if you stopped confusing our classification of gender with the social conventions we have around gender.

A last point on this body-swapping hypothetical: suppose the swap were into an ant instead of another human; is it a human or an ant? On the one hand, I'm tempted to say an ant, but I have the strong intuition that if someone knew that the ant had the mind of a human, and squished it anyway, that would be murder and not just bug-squishing. Do you agree?


I do agree.. but again I would caution against confusing the issue.
I suspect our moral concern grows and scales with any creatures capacity for cognition as it becomes relatable to us, killing a dog is far more worrying than killing an ant.
killing an ant capable of human cognition is about equivalent to killing a human... irrespective of whether or not it used to be human.
Same is true of AI, aliens etc.

What's more interesting is that I would probably say it's a "human" mind inside that ant... If I had to boil that impulse down to the root of it, I think I would do that to indicate the history of that mind.
If it were merely an ant with a human-like mind, I don't think I would do that...
I suppose in comparing to gender-dysphoria that would translate equally... It's much harder to say "it's a male brain/mind" when it neither naturally nor historically has belonged in a male body.

But now finally, we get to the heart of the issue

Carleas wrote:If so, the hypothetical converts the question of whether a transwoman is a woman into the Ship of Theseus: somewhere between a man who dresses and acts and subjectively identifies as a man, and a transwoman who is completely biologically converted into a woman, there exists a line where on one side we have to call that person a man and where we have to call that person a woman. Everything we've discussed so far is just pinning down that line. One step between being a born-man who identifies as a man and born-man super-post-op-woman who identifies as a woman is a born-man who identifies as a woman. Another step is a born-man who acts, dresses, introduces herself as a woman. Another step is a born-man who has undergone plastic surgery, hormone therapy, genital inversion, etc. etc. Do you agree that this constitutes a Ship-of-Theseus-like spectrum?


No... there's a very clear dimension on which we disagree.
It's not a spectrum where we're quibbling over where to draw the line... it's that you think there's a dimension to gender that I reject.

My entire post was about how in the body-swap scenario you would become fully female... irrespective of your subjectivity.
THAT is the core of our disagreement... the relevance of subjectivity.

I don't think subjectivity is at all relevant to gender, though your gender might well be relevant to your subjectivity.
I hold that gender is an entirely biological phenomenon and that confusing it with subjectivity is a costly mistake, precisely due to the social ramifications.
If we could alter people so as to give them a fully biologically male or female body, I would argue that would make them fully male or female, by definition (as that's all gender addresses).
A more interesting question to ask is: would that be a cure for gender-dysphoria, or might it turn out that "gender dysphoria" is merely the manifestation of some neurological issue, not addressed by body modifications?

Besides, if or when we can alter ourselves to that degree we've arguably, at that point, transcended the dimorphism of our species which could eradicate the social and linguistic need for binary gender distinctions, and probably many more things we take for granted like the implications of age and possibly even species.
There are a lot of cyberpunk and sci-fi works of fiction that explore the possible social consequences of such a breakthrough.

What you're talking about seems more like playing pretend we already did all that and socially act it out... which comes across as fucking delusional.
It's like trying to organize some grand scale societal LARP where we pretend people's wishes about who or what they are, were actually realized.
But then for the fear of anyone breaking character in this play we redefine words and concepts so as to maintain it indefinitely... i.e. it's not about what you are, but what you feel.

Mad Man P wrote:This process of diversification of gender is already underway and is currently taking place very much along with the social imposition...
This is a demonstrable and logical consequence of this linguistic and social adaptation that you propose.

I'd point out again that this is something that happens to lots of words and concepts, it's not unique to sex. Also note that its a largely a-rational process, tracking how people parse the world into fuzzy collections of connected ideas, and which ideas they tie to which words.


Most of the time these things develop naturally and take hold organically because of need, comfort or utility...
It's quite rare outsides cults, religions and extreme political ideologies, to impose such idiosyncratic nonsense on others, though.
Using language to establishing in-group, out-group from within such ideological frameworks, otoh is quite common... gotta make the right propitiations... or else.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:39 pm

Mad Man P wrote:there's a difference between what treatment I offer you and what treatment I owe you.

Agreed, and you'll note that I haven't argued that you owe anyone anything. I don't think people have a property right in being recognized as the sex of their choice, and I've explicitly rejected any legal obligation to do so.

But I think doing so is part of the 'civility' that you describe, and I also think that in many cases the world is best described by doing so. On to that:

Mad Man P wrote:Many of our social conventions regarding gender maybe are founded on previous or even current misapprehensions of what all we can determine from person's gender alone.
We used to have or perhaps still do have a common perception of women, that indicates they make bad drivers. We might well socially act out this perception resulting in a "social treatment"
And assuming we can agree there's something wrong with that, the solution isn't to "pretend women are men when driving" but to drop that misapprehension that gender is deterministic with regard to driving.

First, 'bad driving' seems a bit of a loaded example of social sexual roles, and not one I'm defending. I don't think transwomen are identifying as women because they drive poorly. More central examples would point to more central social role dichotomies, e.g. hunter vs. gatherer, defender vs nurturer, competition vs. cooperation, hard vs. soft, strength vs. caring, violence vs. persuasion, brawn vs. beauty, etc. Even in a far future where sex becomes meaningless in the way you suggest later in your post, these dichotomies might well persist, because they reflect different game-theoretic social strategies that it may continue to make sense for people to specialize in, and which may continue to be correlated. (This is a new claim, and one I would also be interested to hear Karpel Tunnel's thoughts on).

But to your larger point about getting it wrong and solving that mistake, if I might draw a parallel (and I apologize if you know the story): Until the mid 1800s, jade was believed to be a single mineral. In 1863, it was discovered that it was two distinct minerals, jadeite and nephrite, with different composition and different properties that were capable of distinguishing them, once people knew to look. Following the discovery that what we believed was one thing was actually two things, we had three options: 1) say that only jadeite is real jade, 2) say that only nephrite is real jade, or 3) say that both continue to be real jade.

We can look at what's going on here in a similar way: there was something we called 'man' thought of as one thing. Then we revised our ontology to distinguish between man the biological sex category and man the social role category. We are then presented with three options, and I think you can see where I'm going here: 1) say that only the biological thing is a real man, 2) say that only one who occupies the social role is a real man, or 3) say that both continue to be real men.

We can debate which is the best option, but it is wrong to say that there is only one solution.

Mad Man P wrote:THAT is the core of our disagreement... the relevance of subjectivity.

I'm not sure that that's it, but this feels like progress. I don't think I've said that subjective perception is sufficient, and if I have I was wrong. Rather, where subjective perception is clearly communicated by adherence to norms for the perceived sex and communicates an accurate picture how how a person wants to be treated and can be expected to behave, that is sufficient, because one sense of sex is the norms and the expectations about behavior and treatment they are intended to inform.

The role of subjectivity here is in 1) people being the local experts on themselves, so that they are the best qualified to testify as to what we should expect from them and how they wish to be treated, and 2) making their communication sincere.

Mad Man P wrote:What you're talking about seems more like playing pretend we already did all that and socially act it out...

I think this is a fair point, and you're right that we shouldn't pretend the technology exists in deciding how to treat people now. I bring it up now only to tease out the ontology of sex.

But I do worry that there was likely a time when people would have said that it was genital shape and hormones that made the man, and then plastic surgery and hormone therapy advanced to the point they are now and the goalposts were moved. I don't mean to accuse you of doing this, you've been consistent throughout this conversation and I have every reason to believe you will remain consistent as technology advances. But I think we can probably agree that the conversation will move with what's possible, so that the magic plank in Theseus' ship can never be replaced.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:03 pm

Carleas wrote:
Mad Man P wrote:What you're talking about seems more like playing pretend we already did all that and socially act it out...

I think this is a fair point, and you're right that we shouldn't pretend the technology exists in deciding how to treat people now. I bring it up now only to tease out the ontology of sex.

But I do worry that there was likely a time when people would have said that it was genital shape and hormones that made the man, and then plastic surgery and hormone therapy advanced to the point they are now and the goalposts were moved. I don't mean to accuse you of doing this, you've been consistent throughout this conversation and I have every reason to believe you will remain consistent as technology advances. But I think we can probably agree that the conversation will move with what's possible, so that the magic plank in Theseus' ship can never be replaced.
I had a bit of trouble following this part, but I think, thought I may be wrong, it raised an interesting issue, again for physicalists especially. I doubt anyone argued that it was just genital shape and hormones. I think they would have thought that the body in general and the brain (bathed in development with a more male mix of hormones), bones and muscles, shapes of hands, hair and joints, and the gametes, were all involved and also over time, that one had the one's one had as one grew up, and so far hormones and plastic surgery have trouble fixing all that. But let's say we come up with technology to replaces the boards in the ship of Thebes. Is it the same ship`? I mean, that's the whole thing about that Ship. Though perhaps I am assuming you meant Ship of Thebes not Theseus' ship. It is calling into question identity.

If Sara thinks she is a man, but needs to replace herself with a man, was she a man, or did she decide to replace herself with something else?

Shouldn't any physicalist be saying: your body is you. If it feels like X, then it feels like X and it is this body with feeling X. You feel like a what you are calling a woman with this obdy. If you start replacing yourself with ever increasing plastic surgery and endocrinology changes - which in turn have effects on many other systems in the body, they you are making something new - you will create someone who will feel like you feel now. That new body or partly new body or whatever will create internal states you do not have now and in different ranges and amplitudes. It will not be you. You are in fact asking to create something you have not experienced, since experience comes through the body and that body's experience of itself cannot be what you are asking to be changed into. You cannot have the identity you are asked to have created, because your body is not that body. (and yes, this is similar perhaps to what happens when one goes through puberty, but it would be odd to say, for a physicalist, I feel like I have already gone through puberty so I want those hormone changes now even though I am 8). If you feel like you have gone puberty, it is because your current body feels that way, and there's no need for a change. You cannot radically transform a body to make it so you feel like you do before those changes. (Unless you are a dualist or some other factor is involved that is not involved in physicalism)

But, as said, I may have misunderstood. Still, the above is important to raise, and though I have raised it before, I took it in a slightly different direction and further.

But you are using this Ship of Thebes set of changes with a near opposite aim. To get Mad Man to accept that the final product is really a woman. Even if that is true, in the end, it undermines the entire point of the process, since if now she is a woman, she wasn't before and was confused about what she was. And a tremendous amount of money went into a misunderstanding.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:40 am

Carleas wrote:there was something we called 'man' thought of as one thing. Then we revised our ontology to distinguish between man the biological sex category and man the social role category. We are then presented with three options, and I think you can see where I'm going here: 1) say that only the biological thing is a real man, 2) say that only one who occupies the social role is a real man, or 3) say that both continue to be real men.

We can debate which is the best option, but it is wrong to say that there is only one solution.


I agree that there is something similar going on but the distinction you're trying to make is not it.

Being a "man" used to be most fundamentally about having a penis and being able to impregnating women, it also, to a lesser extent had something to do with a hairy face and bigger body... that was the depth of our understanding, so much so that we would cease to think of you as a man if you lost your "manhood" or became otherwise impotent... it was very much defined along the biological lines, to the extent that we understood biology, which was to say it had something to do with procreation first then morphology second.

We have since gained a much better understanding of the phenomenon... penises and hairy faces are less central in the telling of what makes a man within our new biological paradigm. It certainly is a much richer and far more nuanced picture of what it means to be a man or woman... and there's far more than merely two components involved... it has to do with chromosomes, endocrines, bone density, hand-eye coordination, muscle mass, fetal development, brain pruning... tons of things a medieval peasant would not even be able to comprehend or envision how we could possibly measure or observe, much less be willing to grant belongs in the narrative.

So yes, we've discovered more about what it means to be a man, and that there's far more to it than just a penis and testicles... but we've not suddenly discovered that "hey turns out women can be men, socially."

That being said... this ultimately boils down to our definitions, or call it ontology, if you'd like.

I'm not sure that that's it, but this feels like progress. I don't think I've said that subjective perception is sufficient, and if I have I was wrong. Rather, where subjective perception is clearly communicated by adherence to norms for the perceived sex and communicates an accurate picture how how a person wants to be treated and can be expected to behave, that is sufficient, because one sense of sex is the norms and the expectations about behavior and treatment they are intended to inform.

The role of subjectivity here is in 1) people being the local experts on themselves, so that they are the best qualified to testify as to what we should expect from them and how they wish to be treated, and 2) making their communication sincere.


It seems to me we've hit bedrock with this one... it's cool that we've narrowed down the exact point of contention, but I'm at a loss for how to find common ground from here.

I've asked you a few times but you've never answered me... how do you envision we might persuade each other?
I could be persuaded if you showed me the superior utility of your language... though arguably, you've tried that and failed.
But you've not given me any means by which YOU could be persuaded...

What might move you from this position?
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:05 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Shouldn't any physicalist be saying: your body is you. If it feels like X, then it feels like X and it is this body with feeling X. If you start replacing yourself with ever increasing plastic surgery and endocrinology changes - which in turn have effects on many other systems in the body, they you are making something new. Something that will nto feel like you feel now. That new body or half new body or whatever will create internal states you do not have now and in different ranges and amplitudes. It will not be you. You are in fact asking to create something you have not experienced, since experience comes through the body and that body's experience of itself cannot be what you are asking to be changed into. You cannot have the identity you are asked to have created, because your body is not that body.


This is spot on... physicalist is a strange description though, I'd prefer materialist or naturalist.

But, yes... from everything I've learned about how the human nervous-system and neurology works, it does seem more accurate to say you are a body, than to say you have a body.
Even diet and routine play a major role in giving your moment to moment experience it's character... to imagine more invasive changes having a lesser effect on the sum total of your experience seem unscientific, at best.

In a very profound way it's true to say If you change your body, you change yourself... hell people who have ONLY gained or dropped a lot of weight can attest to the dramatic changes in attitude and mood.
What changes in your subjective landscape that might come with hormone treatment and the consequences of that on your body's chemistry... It's probably quite difficult to even imagine.

To be fully transformed from a male to female or vice versa, would likely include a system shock to your neurology, there are nerves and sensations that would be entirely novel to you, your brain would have to adapt to those signals as if a newborn discovering new body parts, without the benefit of being a newborn... it seems we can only speculate what that might be like... but I think it's fair to say it would change you.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:15 am

Mad Man P wrote:This is spot on... physicalist is a strange description though, I'd prefer materialist or naturalist.
I've used materialist and people thought I was Marxist. Naturalist...hm. I think it is a confused term because I think supernatural is a confused term. The dichotomy, since on the one hand it sounds like an ontological claim - there are only natural things not supernatural ones - but is also an epistemological one - and this would mean that if, say, science discovered ghosts in fifty years, they would be natural, or at least real, begs questions, I think. IOW it treats the unknown, especially if it seems to contradict current models and both unreal and not possible. But we know that this is not always true and in fact has been with regularity false. Things that if real woudl contradict models have turned out to be real. I think most scientists would call themselves physicalists so I go there. There really isn't a good term. I've spent a lot of time tearing up 'physicalism' since I think it has metaphysical baggage and seems in denial that regardless, utterly regardless of the qualities of something or lack of qualities of something, if scientists think it is real, they think it is real. And then they call it physical. I think they should call themselves verificationists or something. It's not what is real, the substance of it, it is that it is real and the process through which they decide this. In a sense I think it leads to some of the same messes as natural/supernatural does, where suddenly one can deduce something is not real since it is supernatural, which, well ain't science. So out of the sloppy mess of this paragraph my conclusions is I don't like any of the terms. But Carleas seems to accept physicalism and this one most directly and clearly points out the problems precisely because of its 'substance baggage'.

To be fully transformed from a male to female or vice versa, would likely include a system shock to your neurology, there are nerves and sensations that would be entirely novel to you, your brain would have to adapt to those signals as if a newborn discovering new body parts, without the benefit of being a newborn... it seems we can only speculate what that might be like... but I think it's fair to say it would change you... the only question is, how much?
And I wouldn't necessarily stop people and an even more radical version of this is coming through the transhumanists, who might happily transform themselves into a sapien ocelot with an AI instead of their left brain lobe. They actually worry me more than the confusion trans issues are throwing down the pike at growing children. But that's a whole nother can of worms.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:20 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:To get Mad Man to accept that the final product is really a woman. Even if that is true, in the end, it undermines the entire point of the process, since if now she is a woman, she wasn't before and was confused about what she was. And a tremendous amount of money went into a misunderstanding.


I agree with you that there is a soft implication of duality in suggesting you might mentally or subjectively be the thing, that your body is not... but I think Carleas is forging this distinction along a different dimension, namely the social sphere... you might mimic and adopt traditional male behavior from an existing preference for it and thus qualify, within the social paradigm, as male... if you also make an effort to look the part, he argues, you could effectively be described as male with sufficient accuracy so as to render that description true enough for most contexts, within that social paradigm...

At least, that's how I've understood his argument to me, thus far.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:29 am

Mad Man P wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:To get Mad Man to accept that the final product is really a woman. Even if that is true, in the end, it undermines the entire point of the process, since if now she is a woman, she wasn't before and was confused about what she was. And a tremendous amount of money went into a misunderstanding.


I agree with you that there is a soft implication of duality in suggesting you might mentally or subjectively be the thing, that your body is not... but I think Carleas is forging this distinction along a different dimension, namely the social sphere... you might mimic and adopt traditional male behavior from an existing preference for it and thus qualify, within the social paradigm as male, if you also make a sufficient effort to look the part, he argues, you could effectively be described as male with sufficient accuracy so as to be true in most contexts.
At least, within that the social paradigm...

That's how I've understood his argument to me, thus far.
Yes. But once he named the Ship of Thebes (though he did call it Theseus) it seemed like his point was that at a certain point you would have to accept that what was in front of you was a man, despite the original 'ship's' sex. But I think that has an internal backlash, because then it was not one before.

As far as his social approach...I'm much happier, as I've told him, with women and men being allowed to pursue their desires and not be boxed in because they are outliers on bell curves. If you are woman who likes to sit with her legs spread, elbows on knees and you are a plumber who likes to have short hair. Go for it.

I dislike the idea that now we will, implicitly tell this person with ovaries and attraction to me, should she have it, that really she's a gay man.

Now I know that Carleas is not going to say that to anyone and even most transsupporters are not. But down through the ether that idea is entering the minds of children. That if you feel inside certain ways that are male and you were born a woman, you are really a man.

And I think it ends up being, pardon my french, a brain fuck. Because at the same time a more traditional feminist message is also being aimed at children. That they need not be limited or cornered by their sex. I am much more aligned with this one.

Put the two together and you are damaging people. It's toxic double bind communication.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:19 am

KT & Carleas

As much as I hate to say it, despite his many attempts here to prove me wrong, I think Carleas is trying and failing to rationalize addressing people according to their chosen gender.
It's easier to identify the goal he has set himself, than it is to identify any definition or "ontology" that he's presenting.

However, I think we're nearing what's at the heart of this whole thing. KT's worry about sending mixed signals to kids made it clear that we're missing something.
Because I don't think we're sending kids a mixed message at all... we're giving them postmodern relativism, which amounts to "reality is whatever we agree it is"
It's liberating you to be a woman and act hyper masculine or even hyper feminine and yet still call yourself a man and if we all agree to go along with it, then it's functionally (if only socially) true.
This is not too dissimilar from where I think Carleas wants to end up...

But the terrible downside is that since this fairytale is only true (or false) by virtue of our intersubjective agreement about it, dissent becomes dangerous, destructive, tyrannical even.
That person would have been a man, had you but agreed to "grant" them their identity... because of your dissent their gender is denied, no different to actively stripping it from them, you monster!
From this vantage we can see how we're only one step removed from wanting to purge or reform the non-believers who would so casually destroy our idyllic fantasy-scape.

Carleas has staked out playing along as merely "good manners" that permits him the social recourse of treating dissent as rude behavior and to punish it accordingly...
Someone less magnanimous (or less moderate), might rather seek recourse in the law... maybe prevent such dissent by mandatory re-education/sensitivity courses... make sure to bring your kids.
Or better yet, never mind, we'll get to your kids through the schools.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:18 am

Mad Man P wrote:However, I think we're nearing what's at the heart of this whole thing. KT's worry about sending mixed signals to kids made it clear that we're missing something.
Because I don't think we're sending kids a mixed message at all... we're giving them postmodern relativism, which amounts to "reality is whatever we agree it is"
That's just one of the messages. The other message is essentialist. Transpersonism is essentialist, that inside men and women are different and this is not dependent on bodies. It is, essentially, an essentialist spiritualism, founded on a dualism. In some sense there must be souls and these are male or female. This cuts against physicalism, but also feminism, at least the bulk of it. And, more important in relation to Carleas, it cuts against gender and sex being intersubjective. It is not intersubjective, these are essential qualities.

But the terrible downside is that since this fairytale is only true (or false) by virtue of our intersubjective agreement about it, dissent becomes dangerous, destructive, tyrannical even.
That person would have been a man, had you but agreed to "grant" them their identity... because of your dissent their gender is denied, no different to actively stripping it from them, you monster!
Yes, I think we need to stay out of all heads. If someone things you seem to be a man, take it like a woman and believe in yourself.

From this vantage we can see how we're only one step removed from wanting to purge or reform the non-believers who would so casually destroy our idyllic fantasy-scape.
Well, on other issues, that is already the case. Start actually rsponding emotionally to things around you and you will get put on meds, will lose your job, will lose custody of your children....and so on.

Imagine actually honestly responding to corporate bs while working there. Everything from team building, PR, marketing, corporate culture, 'doing great', vision statements, day to day office politics, boss behavior....you'll get shit out of there faster than you can say 'nice tie'.

Carleas has staked out playing along as merely "good manners" that permits him the social recourse of treating dissent as rude behavior and to punish it accordingly...
Someone less magnanimous (or less moderate), might rather seek recourse in the law... maybe prevent such dissent by mandatory re-education/sensitivity courses... make sure to bring your kids.
Or better yet, never mind, we'll get to your kids through the schools.
Which is happening.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Sat Aug 24, 2019 5:52 pm

Addendum

I fear that what we're observing is the reenactment of a story well known but rarely read nor absorbed, a very close adaptation at that...

H.C. Anderson wrote:They said they could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.

"Those would be just the clothes for me," thought the Emperor. "If I wore them I would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit for their posts. And I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get some of the stuff woven for me right away." He paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once.

---

"I'd like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth," the Emperor thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be able to see the fabric. It couldn't have been that he doubted himself, yet he thought he'd rather send someone else to see how things were going. The whole town knew about the cloth's peculiar power, and all were impatient to find out how stupid their neighbors were.

"I'll send my honest old minister to the weavers," the Emperor decided. "He'll be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for he's a sensible man and no one does his duty better."

So the honest old minister went to the room where the two swindlers sat working away at their empty looms.

"Heaven help me," he thought as his eyes flew wide open, "I can't see anything at all". But he did not say so.

Both the swindlers begged him to be so kind as to come near to approve the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty looms, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he dared. He couldn't see anything, because there was nothing to see. "Heaven have mercy," he thought. "Can it be that I'm a fool? I'd have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would never do to let on that I can't see the cloth."

"Don't hesitate to tell us what you think of it," said one of the weavers.

"Oh, it's beautiful -it's enchanting." The old minister peered through his spectacles. "Such a pattern, what colors!" I'll be sure to tell the Emperor how delighted I am with it."

"We're pleased to hear that," the swindlers said. They proceeded to name all the colors and to explain the intricate pattern. The old minister paid the closest attention, so that he could tell it all to the Emperor. And so he did.


That's how the emperor acquired his new "social" clothes... :wink:
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:41 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Though perhaps I am assuming you meant Ship of Thebes not Theseus' ship.

I think we're referring to the same ship.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Shouldn't any physicalist be saying: your body is you.

This is a bigger topic than what we're dealing with here, but I'll give you my take to see if it's compatible, or if this is another deeper diconnect that underpins our disagreements in this thread.

It's true that a person is her body, and in some sense a person, like a river, only exists in a single moment, and changes in the next as calories are burned, cells are born and die, and neuronal connections form, strengthen, weaken, or die. Every moment, the set of contingencies around an individual changes. That's true whether that individual is receiving hormone therapy or just typing on a philosophy forum. There is a very pedantic sense in which the continuity of personhood is illusory.

In practice, people ignore that, and it's a pragmatic choice. We treat people as though they are the same person from day to day, from year to year; we punish sober people for crimes they commit while drunk; we keep people in prison for decades. We think of ourselves as continuations of the people we were before puberty, even though our thoughts, motivations, and physical and mental abilities are mostly different. We do that because it's useful, it's predictive, it's pragmatic.

So too should we treat a person who undergoes a hypothetical complete sex change as still the same person they were. Not because they are identical in every detail, but because the change is comparable to other changes in which we recognize continuous personhood: normal human aging; significant bodily injury; drug use; etc.

There's a different question, as I allude to in invoking the Ship of Thesesus, of at what point e.g. a man becomes a woman in the process of the complete sex change. I agree with your point that the hypothetical relies on the premise that at the beginning we have a man, and at the end we have a woman, and I think that's correct. I don't know if most trans advocates would agree with me, but I don't know that we can have a consistent ontology of gender without that; if an earlier version of themselves self-identified as their birth sex and sought to conform with societal expectations of that sex, it is difficult to say on what grounds we would say they were not (other than an assumption of e.g. a female soul in a male body that is inherently female no matter what it believes about itself).

But that doesn't touch personhood. I don't disagree that it would entail behavior and thought changes, and that's my understanding of what trans people report about the effects of hormone therapy. But personhood is generally accepted to survive such changes.

Mad Man P wrote:Because I don't think we're sending kids a mixed message at all... we're giving them postmodern relativism, which amounts to "reality is whatever we agree it is"


I think this is significantly more of a constraint than you seem to think. People aren't going to be convinced of things that are obviously empirically false, so getting everyone to agree about something entails getting a bunch of people to independently verify the world and align their descriptions of it. When we run tests in a laboratory setting, having many sensors that agree on the outcome is a good thing, and that agreement is taken as a strong indication about what the reality is.

And to preempt your rebuttal that the present case is a case of people being "convinced of [something that is] obviously empirically false", again I will point out that that would be question begging. When a transwoman says "I am a woman", she isn't making a claim about chromosomes, and she would happily acknowledge that such a claim would be obviously empirically false.

Mad Man P wrote:I've asked you a few times but you've never answered me... how do you envision we might persuade each other?
I could be persuaded if you showed me the superior utility of your language... though arguably, you've tried that and failed.
But you've not given me any means by which YOU could be persuaded...

What might move you from this position?

Let me provide a few defeaters for two distinct claims:

Claim: there is a widely accept sense of "woman"/"man" that does not depend on biology.
If you could demonstrate that people don't think of Princess Toadstool as a woman (and, perhaps more importantly, didn't before she got voice-overs from human women). If people didn't see her and other fictional characters, who lack biology and are only sex-defined by their superficial social sexual signaling, as actually being the social sex which is being signaled, that would be strong evidence that my claim is false.

Claim: calling a trans person by their chosen (i.e. sincerely and accurately signaled) sex accurately describes the world.
If you could show me that people's expectations are significantly misaligned by calling a trans woman a "woman" or a trans man a "man", e.g. in a contrived setting in which someone describes a non-present trans person using their chosen sex and is then asked about how they expect that person to look, act, think, etc., and see how well those expectations align as compared with control cases of their birth sex or third options like "transsexual". Similarly, measuring their surprise using something like pupil dilation when that person walks in following various descriptions (this test may need to be normed against other similarly uncommon traits and their various descriptions).


This is useful for clarifying what we're even disagreeing about. I note than one aspect of our disagreement is that I am more focused on descriptive claims about how we use language, and how language is understood, and you are more interested in normative claims about how we should use or understand language. For example, I learned recently of the idea of corpus linguistics, the study of language through statistical analysis of a given corpus, and I think that would be very probative to my claims, but not say very much about your claims (except to the extent that the actual use of language in a speaker population goes to the utility because being understood is a big part of the utility of language).
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:09 pm

Carleas wrote:There's a different question, as I allude to in invoking the Ship of Thesesus, of at what point e.g. a man becomes a woman in the process of the complete sex change. I agree with your point that the hypothetical relies on the premise that at the beginning we have a man, and at the end we have a woman, and I think that's correct. I don't know if most trans advocates would agree with me, but I don't know that we can have a consistent ontology of gender without that; if an earlier version of themselves self-identified as their birth sex and sought to conform with societal expectations of that sex, it is difficult to say on what grounds we would say they were not (other than an assumption of e.g. a female soul in a male body that is inherently female no matter what it believes about itself).
My concern most recently in the thread was not the situation where the person identifies as a man then becomes a woman, but rather that person X feels they are a woman. They feel this in that male body. Then they change that body as radically as they can. The feel of their new body, for a physicalist, cannot match whatever they felt in their old body. The have radically changed the body that felt like a woman. Whatever they feel right now cannot be what they felt then.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:17 pm

OK, I agree, though I'm not sure I see the relevance. In line with what I've been arguing here, I think when someone says "I feel like a woman", they are not mostly referring to the physical feeling, but to the social feeling, e.g. "I feel that I should be treated and be expected to act like a woman".

Is that responsive to what you were getting at?
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:41 pm

Carleas wrote:And to preempt your rebuttal that the present case is a case of people being "convinced of [something that is] obviously empirically false", again I will point out that that would be question begging. When a transwoman says "I am a woman", she isn't making a claim about chromosomes, and she would happily acknowledge that such a claim would be obviously empirically false.


The above statement is question begging... in that you are assuming your conclusion when you assume "I am a woman" could, much less should, have a subject other than a person's biology.

My rebuttal of that is not question begging, Carleas, I'm not making any assumptions... I'm doing what you are doing with gender to show you the absurdity that is generated.
That act of sophistry where you split something equally into the social component we associate with it.

When the people kept saying how wonderful the clothes were they knew full well they couldn't physically see any clothes.
What they were communicating was that their social behavior was going to conform to that of people that could see clothes... and in that sense they were telling the truth.
People behave differently when they see clothes and when they don't... and so we can say the "social" behavior of seeing clothes is just as critical a component of clothes.

All you have to do to erase the lie from anything, is to split the subject equally into a social component and the social part will be true, if it's acted out.

And as for how you could be convinced... I have to give up.

The emperor did in fact have new SOCIAL clothes, until he didn't, that much can't be disputed... I'd lose the argument if that's where you plant the flag.
Given the prevalence of woke PC nonsense these days, it's trivially easy for you to find some gender studies saps to point to as an example of this nonsense being "commonly accepted"
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:53 pm

But no one saw the clothes! You're premising your comparison on the idea that no one who calls a transwoman a woman has a sincere belief behind it, that the only motivation is adherence to dogma or keeping up appearances, and that everyone really agrees with you completely and if they say otherwise the only explanation is that they're lying. And you cast the transwomen themselves as "the swindlers", who are insincere and are scamming their way into riches (which are what in this parallel?) through what can only possibly be a LIE (always in all caps, because that helps to convey something important, maybe how big the lie is?).

In comparing this case to the Emperor's Clothes, you're dismissing out of hand the possibility that people just don't mean by their statements what you would mean by those statements, and that they sincerely parse the world differently.

Mad Man P wrote:The above statement is question begging.

Are you saying that transwomen think they have XX chromosomes?
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:00 pm

Carleas wrote:OK, I agree, though I'm not sure I see the relevance. In line with what I've been arguing here, I think when someone says "I feel like a woman", they are not mostly referring to the physical feeling, but to the social feeling, e.g. "I feel that I should be treated and be expected to act like a woman".

Is that responsive to what you were getting at?
I'll have to feel into that more, but that's not the main thing I've heard. That their dysphoria is very physical and in reaction to the body. I think they are necessarily dualists.

http://www.sophiagubb.com/what-does-it- ... ansgender/
and
It feels somewhat irrational.

When I was a child, I would hide my penis through my legs. I love the way it looks like. I love the feeling that my male genital wasn't there. I would try to imagine a straight line through the part above the hidden male genital so as to look like female genital. This happened as early as when I was 5 years old. As I age, I realized that something's wrong with me. I know that I am a male in my physical body but why is my mind female? Is there something wrong with me?

and
It feels really uncomfortable.

I was identifying as a 'male' because that’s what I look like bodily. In fact, that's what's recorded in my birth certificate (sex: 'male'). But despite of being aware that I am outwardly a boy, my mind still won't accept it. It feels so uncomfortable.it feels that I don’t exist.

When I was a teen, an Adams apple grew on my neck. It feels so painful --psychologically.I was very uncomfortable with the Adams apple in me. I tried to push it through but it won't go in, it won't go away. I am asking myself why am I experiencing this uncomfortable feeling? It's normal for boys to have it, right? I am 100% aware that I'm a boy (physically) and I should feel okay with this Adam's apple in my neck. But my mind can't be pacified. I was crying in pain.


I think we should consider gender dysphoria evidence, if weak, of dualism, especially if we take them seriously.

I think it would be oddly condescending to support trans rights but consider them deluded. One can try to make gender mean nothing really, which I think at root is your approach Carleas, but they sure don't think so. I mean, why go through the pain of the operations and the social pain if gender is nothing.

On the surface your support their rights and you want people to be kind in relation to their wishes, but on another, philosophical level, you are fundamentally denying their experiences or really their interpretations of their experiences.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:03 pm

Carleas wrote:But no one saw the clothes! You're premising your position on the idea that no one who calls a transwoman a woman has a sincere belief behind it, that the only motivation is adherence to dogma or keeping up appearances, and that everyone really agrees with you completely and if they say otherwise the only explanation is that they're lying. And you cast the transwomen themselves as "the swindlers", who are insincere and are scamming their way into riches (which are what in this parallel?) through what can only possibly be a LIE (always in all caps, because that helps to convey something important, maybe how big the lie is?).


The swindle doesn't exclusively or even predominantly come from trans people, but it is this: If you don't "grant" (i.e. see) their "chosen gender" it's because that gender is invisible to fools and bigots... so which are you?
Cue the sophistry and mental gymnastics to make it so... everyone is now scrambling to see this gender in one light or another.

Without that swindle, without that garbage, it would be what it is... these are people who are suffering from some neurological condition that is making them very unhappy in their own bodies.
Maybe us LARPING with them truly is the best medicine we have... and if that is the case, I don't see what's so wrong with lying for a good cause.
Well apparently a lot... because that means we don't see it, which means we're either fools or bigots...
#-o

So no, I don't see gender-dysphoric people as liers or swindlers or any such thing... your suspicions in that regard only underlines the success of the swindlers.
I see them as victims of a pretty horrific condition from which they are seeking relief... and I'd be happy to give them an escape, if I could... even if it is within a fantasy.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:11 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:On the surface your support their rights and you want people to be kind in relation to their wishes, but on another, philosophical level, you are fundamentally denying their experiences or really their interpretations of their experiences.

Isn't that what it is to be a philosopher?

But seriously, I don't think supporting their rights and giving primacy to their self-identity entails accepting their ontology or metaphysics of mind. 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. Trans people have no special insight into the experience of being a mind, so unlike e.g. their statements about their most appropriate sexual social role, they aren't the local expert on the nature of mind. Nor are they inherently more expert on the ontology of sex (though I imagine many become significantly better versed in the philosophy and biology of sex in seeking to understand and explain their experiences and defend their choices).

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. 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. 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 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.

Mad Man P wrote:The swindle doesn't exclusively or even predominantly come from trans people, but it is this: If you don't "grant" (i.e. see) their "chosen gender" it's because that gender is invisible to fools and bigots... so which are you?

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. I don't even have to tell you what social sex it is, because you know from a superficial description what sex it is. If we put those superficial indicia on a toaster, you would know immediately that we're trying to convey that the toaster has that social sex, and if you say things like, "Oh, Ms. Cuisinart Metal Classic CPT-180, aren't you looking lovely today!", everyone will know why you're saying that, but if you say to the dressed-up toaster, "Hey bro, you check out that football tackle last night?", it will be seen as incongruous.

What is invisible about that?
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Carleas
Magister Ludi
 
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