Philosophy, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Philosophical Studies 172:10 (October 2015), pp 2575–2589

doi 10.1007/s11098-014-0425-6


Copyright © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Used by permission.


This paper argues that one’s gender is partially constituted by extrinsic factors. In Sect. 2, I very briefly explain my understanding of sex, gender, and transgender. In Sect. 3, a survey recent accounts of gender as a socially constructed or conferred property, ending with Judith Butler’s idea that gender is a pattern of behavior in a social context. In Sect. 4, I suggest a modification of Butler’s idea, according to which gender is a behavioral disposition. In Sect. 5, I develop my dispositional account by responding to a worry that it is too essentialist. In Sect. 6, I defend my claim that gender is relational. In Sect. 7, I consider and reply to four further objections.