Gender Reveal Party – Final Update

Hello! I’m posting late because my advisor allowed me to continue to contribute to my project after the deadline, and I wanted this last post to reflect my entire writing experience.

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Gender Reveal Party Update 2

Hello!

With about fifteen hours left, I’ve now completed the *research* component of my summer research project; I’ve read and annotated every source I expect to use, and will devote all of my remaining time to organizing my thoughts into three philosophical essays. As of the last update, I intended to write four essays; I have since condensed this to three, as it now seems reasonable to me to address queer hermeneutical injustice and what I’m calling “heterosexual condescension” within the same paper.

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Gender Reveal Party – Update 1

Hello!

In my abstract, I wrote that I intended to create a metaphysical and epistemological model to systematically unify queer identities, but over the last few months, I’ve substantially adjusted the goals of this project. The more I’ve learned about the metaphysics (not to mention the politics) of gender and sexual orientation, the less comfortable I am attempting to unify them with a philosophical model. The factors which cause different people to embrace or reject a ‘queer’ identity are so personal and so diverse that it would be very easy to do harm with a model that claims to be definitive, and as such I don’t feel comfortable doing that work at this time. Rather than attempting to propose a comprehensive model, I will tackle a series of smaller questions which strike me as particularly interesting and important, and which together reveal the fascinating relationship between the metaphysical nature of gender, the conversations we use to understand and reinforce it, and the ethics of the role it should play in our lives.

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Abstract: An Evolutionary Objection to Ethical Objectivism

The idea that there is right and wrong is incredibly intuitive. Charity is right. Slavery is wrong. But if right and wrong exist what does this entail and how do we know what if something is right? If morality exists it must be an objective morality. The right action in a specific scenario cannot be right for one person and not right for another. Another requisite of morality is categorical action guiding power. To do what is right you may have to act against your desires, thus morality must be able to motivate  independently of desire. We cling to the idea of morality because if morality didn’t exist then. Surely, without morality there would be no reason for people not to just kill each other on sight or lie without a care.

However, we cannot accept morality exists simply because we fear a world without it. Like everything else we believe exists we must have reasoning beyond intuition. There is no positive reason why morality exists. In fact, many moral actions can be explained by evolution. Research in affective and cognitive neuroscience has show that “moral” instincts have evolved overtime. This summer, I plan to read and analyze studies and articles on the evolution of moral behavior. 

Beyond scientific research, there is significant philosophical evidence against morality. J.L. Mackie argues that the idea of motivation independent of desires is too weird to fathom. In addition to my scientific research, I will research philosophical objections to ethical objectivism and find the intersection of this research and the scientific research I have accumulated.