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Aristotle on gender identity

(10 Posts)
InvisibleDragon Sat 31-Oct-20 17:05:22

Came across this excellent piece of snark by Aristotle today:

Although these opinions appear to follow logically in a dialectical discussion; to believe them seems next door to madness when one considers the facts. For indeed no lunatic seems to be so far out of his senses as to suppose that fire and ice are "one"; it is only between what is right and what seems right from habit that some people are mad enough to see no difference.

He's actually moaning about Parmenides' assertion that motion is impossible (because it requires completing an infinite number of tasks in a finite amount of time), but I feel it can equally be applied to the notion that we are whatever gender (but not race) we state ourselves to be.

No matter how sophisticated your arguments, if biological evidence directly contradicts your elegant theory, your theory is wrong. Even if you wish it were true.

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SebastianTheCrab Sat 31-Oct-20 19:53:23

This is one of my favourite literature snippets that can be applied to this topic. It's from the 15th century by a rRe female writer called Christine de Pizan.

The work is called "The City or Ladies" and the context for this paragraph is de Pizan has just read a number of male authors criticising women and she considers herself and her female acquaintances and can't understand all these terrible things women are being accused of. So she curses Gd for making her a woman then falls asleep.

While she dreams three women come and they say the following (see pic).

Pretty fucking prescient huh? It's funny how even 500 years ago when they had no electricity they still knew that only a "fool" thinks what you wear determines your sex.

dontwantamirena Sat 31-Oct-20 20:44:14

Aristotle thought women were deformed men.

HecatesCats Sat 31-Oct-20 21:32:15

Thanks invisible, further reading to be sure, although as pp points out Aristotle did not think much of women.

Sebastian, wow, thanks for that:
'Our aim is to help you get rid of those misconceptions which have clouded your mind and made you reject what you know and believe in fact to be the truth just because so many other people have come out with the opposite opinion’

ErrolTheDragon Sat 31-Oct-20 22:15:03

* Eppur si muove*

HecatesCats Sat 31-Oct-20 22:23:23

ErrolTheDragon

^* Eppur si muove*^


Amen

thinkingaboutLangCleg Sat 31-Oct-20 23:00:00

No matter how sophisticated your arguments, if biological evidence directly contradicts your elegant theory, your theory is wrong. Even if you wish it were true.

Aristotle’s opponents created elegant theories. Ours today just scream and threaten people. Not what I’d call progress.

queenofknives Sun 01-Nov-20 11:30:06

If anyone's interested in Christine de Pizan, this is a great introduction to her life and ideas - www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08sksb4

HecatesCats Sun 01-Nov-20 12:44:03

Thanks queen

InvisibleDragon Sun 01-Nov-20 16:38:38

Eppur si muove

I love this so much that I have ordered it as a sticker for my laptop ...

Christine de Pizan is indeed extremely prescient!

I'm aware that Aristotle is hardly a paragon of women's rights, but I do admire his commitment to evidence a good thousand years before anything resembling modern science had been invented.

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