The Unspeakable Podcast

Why Can’t Philosophers Talk About Gender? Kathleen Stock On How A Rich Topic Became The Third Rail

May 9, 2021
For most of her career, University of Sussex Professor of Philosophy Kathleen Stock was known primarily as a scholar on philosophical questions related to fiction and the concept of imagination. But in 2018, she began to speak and write about the issue of gender identity. Among her questions were why her philosophy colleagues were so reluctant to discuss something so seemingly ripe for the kind of inquiry philosophers live for. The backlash came swiftly but so did tacit messages of support and over time Kathleen has become a leading voice on gender identity theory, policy reform, and their effects on women and girls. Kathleen spoke with Meghan about this unexpected turn in her career and also the various tensions between recognizing the rights of transgender people and recognizing certain material facts. She also explained the difference between sex and gender, which, despite the ubiquity of those terms, many people remain confused about.
Guest bio: 
Kathleen Stock is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex in England. Her book, Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism was just published by Little Brown in the U.K. and is available everywhere on Kindle. The U.S. edition will be published on September 21, 2021.

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