The profession can change, the venue can change, but the gender-woo methodology remains the same.  Personally attack the person who dares to speak about biological reality, libel and defame their character while poisoning the well as to prevent discussion of an import issue facing women.

The bullshit doesn’t change.  It is especially disheartening to see professionals whose business is to be thoughtful and charitable completely abandon those principles in order to defend normative patriarchal values.


“A debate has arisen among philosophers concerning a couple of papers published recently in the prestigious journal Philosophical Studies. The first paper, “Are women adult human females?” by Alex Byrne (January, 2020) attempts to refute what Byrne identifies as “the orthodox view among philosophers,” that “the category woman is a social category, like the categories, wife, firefighter, and shoplifter,” rather than a biological category, like the categories vertebrate, mammal, or adult human female.” Byrne argues woman is a biological category, that to be a woman is to be an adult adult human female. The second paper, “Escaping the Natural Attitude About Gender,” by Robin Dembroff (forthcoming, but available already online), attempts to discredit Byrne’s argument.

The controversy surrounding the two articles does not concern the arguments themselves but the fact that Dembroff’s article includes an ad hominem against Byrne in which Dembroff effectively accuses Byrne of bigotry against transsexuals despite the fact that there is nothing in Byrne’s paper to support such a charge. The editor of the journal, Stewart Cohen, resigned in protest because he wanted to publish an apology for printing an article that included defamatory rhetoric, rhetoric which should never have made it past the journal’s referees, but the publisher of the journal, Springer, refused to allow him to do that.

Philosophers are not generally known for being warm and fuzzy. But Dembroff’s paper represents a new low in levels of civility. Usually, philosophers aim their barbs at an opponent’s cognitive abilities. Even then they aspire to some subtlety. They’ll intimate that an opponent is feebleminded, but they rarely say so directly. It’s not simply that it’s rude. It’s unprofessional. It’s rare, for the same reason, for a philosopher to directly accuse another of being a “shoddy scholar.” It’s rarer still, again, for the same reason, for a philosopher to accuse another of being immoral. Yet Robin Dembroff has advanced both charges against Byrne.

The debate amongst philosophers surrounding what Byrne has dubbed GenderGate, focuses on a brief passage at the end of Dembroff’s article. The line is:

Byrne’s paper fundamentally is an unscholarly attempt to vindicate a political slogan [“women are adult human females”] that is currently being used to undermine civic rights and respect for trans persons. And it is here that I return to Byrne’s advice to question the motivations behind this debate.”If someone is personally heavily invested in the truth of [some proposition] p,” Byrne writes, “it is prudent to treat [their] claim that p is true with some initial caution.” I agree. So we may ask: What are the motivations of someone who would so confidently insert themself into this high-stakes discourse while so ill-informed?

That is, Dembroff is insinuating here that Byrne has an anti-trans agenda that he is trying to advance in an scholarly paper published in an academic journal even though, again, there is nothing in Byrne’s paper to support such a charge.”

The Gender-woo really needs to stop. :/


Catch the rest of the essay on Counterpunch.