Re: Taylor, Sartre, and sexuality


To have genetics simply abolish the issues surrounding the social
construction of gender and sexuality would require resolving the debates
concerning the social constructedness of "science." The idea that any
special science can draw special authority from a fiction like "scientific
method" is a debatable product from the high tide of logical positivism.

I agree that debates get transformed by changes in scientific investigation.
I do not think there is a general pattern to these transformations. What
sort of discovery would falsify Foucault's claim that sexualities are not
cultural invariant. Could genetics disprove Dover's claims about the unique
character of male-male courtship patterns in ancient Greece? How would
genetics deal with the indeterminability of gender in a case like the one
Foucault explores in "Herculine Barbin"?

For genetics to settle questions concerning the etiology of sexuality it
would have to have some special purchase on the question WHAT a sexual
identity is. Does it? If the answer is "yes," you are reading different
geneticists than the ones I read.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rebecca Moskow" <rmoskow@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 3:00 PM
Subject: Re: Taylor, Sartre, and sexuality

> To a certain extent, yes, I am looking forward to it. But I'm interested
> more than the sociological implications. For example, last quarter I
> a paper that examined the implications of the increasingly small scale of
> science (such as nanotechnology, mapping genomes, etc) for an ecological
> feminist ethic of flourishing (based on Chris Cuomo, Feminims and
> Communities: An Ethic of Flourishing, Routledge, 1998). I think that
> students and theorists in all disciplines need to be more aware of the
> interactions between scientific and other types of knowledge. For
> consider the possible implications for theories regarding the social
> construction of sexual orientation if we were to find conclusive evidence
> regarding genetic propensity toward one orientation or another. Would
> theories of social construction become irrelevant? I don't think so, but
> they would need to be reconfigured to account for either the presence or
> absence of a biologically deterministic element. And of course one must
> also consider the implications for individuals and groups who operate
> without an awareness or understanding of academic theory, which also
> involves questions of scholarly responsibility ...
> >Are you looking forward to this? or
> >Are you interested in the sociological implications it will bring?
> >
> >>From: Rebecca Moskow <rmoskow@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> >>Reply-To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> >>To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> >>Subject: Re: Taylor, Sartre, and sexuality
> >>Date: Tue, 08 May 2001 00:01:40 -0500
> >>
> >>This also bears on posts re. social/natural sciences:
> >>Due to technological advances which make sex unnecessary for
> >>any arguments regarding sexual orientation and the
> >>of humanity are rendered irrelevant. And this is where I think social
> >>sciences as well as philosophy must consider "natural" or "hard"
> >>in terms of how science and scientific understanding do in fact
> >>shape not only human experiences but also, to a certain extent, our
> >>understandings of humanity itself. This leadds me to wonder how the
> >>relevance, value, and implications of various older theories shift as
> >>science and technology shift, particularly for those theorists who are
> >>dead
> >>and therefore unable to reevaluate their arguments in light of new
> >>information/technology.
> >>
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