Thursday, December 13, 2018

Byrne on why sex is not a social construct


Recently we looked at philosopher Alex Byrne’s defense of the commonsense view that there are only two sexes.  In a new article at Arc Digital, Byrne defends another aspect of sexual common sense – the thesis that the distinction between male and female is natural, and not a mere social construct.  Let’s take a look.

As is typically done these days by writers on this topic, Byrne begins by distinguishing between sex and gender.  Sex has to do with the biological distinction between male and female, whereas gender has to do with the way the difference between male and female is shaped by culture.  In the article in question, Byrne does not challenge the claim that gender is socially constructed.  He is concerned only to rebut the more radical claim that sex is socially constructed.  We’ll return to the gender question later, though, because the claim that sex differences are natural is relevant to it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

COMING SOON: Aristotle’s Revenge (Updated)


My new book Aristotle’s Revenge: The Metaphysical Foundations of Physical and Biological Science will be out early next year from Editiones Scholasticae.  More information forthcoming, but to whet your appetite, here are the cover copy and the detailed table of contents:

Actuality and potentiality, substantial form and prime matter, efficient causality and teleology are among the fundamental concepts of Aristotelian philosophy of nature.  Aristotle’s Revenge argues that these concepts are not only compatible with modern science, but are implicitly presupposed by modern science.  Among the many topics covered are the metaphysical presuppositions of scientific method; the status of scientific realism; the metaphysics of space and time; the metaphysics of quantum mechanics; reductionism in chemistry and biology; the metaphysics of evolution; and neuroscientific reductionism.  The book interacts heavily with the literature on these issues in contemporary analytic metaphysics and philosophy of science, so as to bring contemporary philosophy and science into dialogue with the Aristotelian tradition.