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9/01/2017 6:04 am  #1


Are There Gender Specific Virtues?

One line I hear a lot from conservatives and those inclined to something like the Natural Law perspective is that there are gender specific virtues (typically they give examples such as courage being a specifically masculine virtue or nurturing a specifically feminine one). This - at least as I would argue - is a mistake - all virtues are intrinsically good to have. What defenders of the above position are doing is confusing the fact that historically certain virtues have been more highly priced in a given gender for practical reasons e.g. as men tend to be physically stronger they are the ones who go to war and thus have more need for courage, with the nature of the virtue itself.

I mistrust that agenda that tries to make gender so fundamental to moral agency - it's another example of culture wars contamination. Any thoughts?

 

9/01/2017 1:08 pm  #2


Re: Are There Gender Specific Virtues?

I think that they are mistaken in conflating virtues with instincts. Virtues are habits that men and women both can develop while instincts are something that we are born with i.e. women being more instinctively nurturing and men being more instinctively courageous etc.

I do not see a problem with instinctively being inclined towards a certain 'attributes' but then you can build certain virtues as habits irrespective of your gender, race, social background etc.

 

9/01/2017 6:16 pm  #3


Re: Are There Gender Specific Virtues?

Jason wrote:

I do not see a problem with instinctively being inclined towards a certain 'attributes' but then you can build certain virtues as habits irrespective of your gender, race, social background etc.

Alright, I might grant you this (though am not sure how much of this is due to social factors) but even if genders are more instinctively inclined towards certain virtues it doesn't mean they should specifically pursue said virtues. If anything they should seek out the virtues they lack.

My theory is that conservatives are keen on gender specific virtues (gender essentiaism) because they believe admitting otherwise would open the door to transexualism or some kind of gender fluidity. In this they forget the very basic proper function argument which is about habits and the function of organs - it doesn't matter if gender was ex hypothosi changeable providing either side could fulfill the natural function of that gender,

     Thread Starter
 

9/03/2017 11:15 am  #4


Re: Are There Gender Specific Virtues?

DanielCC wrote:

Jason wrote:

I do not see a problem with instinctively being inclined towards a certain 'attributes' but then you can build certain virtues as habits irrespective of your gender, race, social background etc.

Alright, I might grant you this (though am not sure how much of this is due to social factors) but even if genders are more instinctively inclined towards certain virtues it doesn't mean they should specifically pursue said virtues. If anything they should seek out the virtues they lack.

My point here was a general one and not specific to gender hence the social factor.

DanielCC wrote:

My theory is that conservatives are keen on gender specific virtues (gender essentiaism) because they believe admitting otherwise would open the door to transexualism or some kind of gender fluidity. In this they forget the very basic proper function argument which is about habits and the function of organs - it doesn't matter if gender was ex hypothosi changeable providing either side could fulfill the natural function of that gender,

Yeah I agree with you, with a focus on fulfilling the natural function of the gender. The other point I would like to add here is that the rapid change in the nuclear family over just a couple of generations also plays its part in this. Just a couple of generations ago, divorce was considered a taboo but now it is easily acceptable (I am not talking about being for or against divorce just making a point here). Then came the change in the definition of marriage itself where it has been opened to more than what it was traditionally thought and now the blurring of the distinction between a man and a women themselves i.e. the role of a father and a mother in the nuclear family. The nuclear family that we have had successfully for thousands of years as the base of society has been changed in just a few generations (the repercussions of which we may not know for a few generations down the road). I think this factor also contributes to conservatives thinking this way.
 

Last edited by Jason (9/03/2017 11:22 am)

 

9/04/2017 1:36 pm  #5


Re: Are There Gender Specific Virtues?

I think to answer that question properly, you would need to answer the question, do the different genders have different ends or telos?   (I have no idea what the plural of telos is, sorry.)

If the genders have different goals, then they will have different virtues, as virtues are habits that help a given entity to reach their goal.

Last edited by Brian (9/04/2017 1:37 pm)

 

9/26/2017 2:00 pm  #6


Re: Are There Gender Specific Virtues?

Brian wrote:

I think to answer that question properly, you would need to answer the question, do the different genders have different ends or telos?   (I have no idea what the plural of telos is, sorry.)

Plural = teloi

We might take the politically and socially charged element out of the discussion to get a clearer view of the fundamentals.  Beyond the list of virtues that come from our common human nature which includes our common human telos, are there *any* other virtues that apply to narrower groups of people?  My instinct is to say yes.  There are certain dispositions of character that a computer programmer may have that makes him more successful as a computer programmer.

 

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