Conference: Feminist Philosophy and Essentialism (Berlin)


Dates: 19 – 20th of July 2012
Location: Senatssaal, Humboldt-Universität Main Building (Unter den Linden 6), Berlin


Would you be the same individual if you were gendered differently? The workshop asks this and related questions with a special emphasis on Charlotte Witt’s recent book The Metaphysics of Gender (Oxford University Press, 2011). According to Witt, most ordinary social agents find the answer to the above question to be an obvious ‘No!’ and they have no difficulties providing an intuitive answer. By contrast, most academic feminists working on gender find the answer neither obvious nor easy. What generates such divergent views and why are ordinary agents so secure in their gender ascriptions? In her book, Witt provides an articulation of this and offers an account of gender essentialism that is based on Aristotelian unification essentialism: gender (being a woman/ man) functions to unify social individuals so that an individual – rather than an aggregate of diverse parts – exists. The workshop interrogates Witt’s view, considers alternatives to it and discusses the role of gender essentialism in feminist philosophy.

Dan López de Sa (ICREA and Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)
Eva von Redecker (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)
Natalie Stoljar (McGill University, Canada)
Alison Stone (Lancaster University, UK)
Charlotte Witt (University of New Hampshire, USA)

Attendance is free but places are limited. To register, please email feminismhu AT by 30th of June 2012.

We hope to be able to provide travel bursaries for students/ unwaged participants. If you would like to be considered for one, or have any queries regarding the Symposium Series/ this event, please contact the organiser Mari Mikkola (mari.mikkola AT