Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Gender and Tabula rasa

Is there such a thing as a neutral person, a sort of personal tabula rasa which is then, by mathematical genetic accident, clothed in gender? This might mean that, later, aware of the implications or limitations or the nature of that gender, the neutral person might wish to exchange gender for the other and, even then, change back. But is there such a thing as a neutral person or are all persons already clothed and permeated by gender? This seems to be the case with transgender people. They are locked within a certain gender but, their person asserting itself, seems to say “I am definitely gendered but my gender is a different gender to that of my body.” Thus, their disembodied person seems to make a claim to a particular gender. I believe that it is actually impossible to believe in the genderless, tabula rasa, person as personhood is expressed through gender, gender being an indispensible means to that expression. This is to say that humans reproduce sexually and are, therefore, in their essence sexual beings. If you remove their sexual nature you remove them. Modern thinkers like to deal in the tabula rasa model as, having granted its existence it affords the possibility of tampering in a God-like way with that nothing. In other words it provides humans with the illusion of being able to create from first principles like a creator God. The inability to do this may explain the unwillingness such thinkers show to accept that the tabula is not rasa but is provided with something written on it – a creative given on whose nature we were not consulted. Not having been consulted, thus, demotes us from our desire to flatter ourselves that our reason controls all. In reality our reason springs up after certain things are given.

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