Academic Absurdity of the Week: The Pinnacle of Human Nature Denialism

It’s Monday, so it can only mean one thing: time to dive once again into the leading academic journals, this week NORA: The Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research.

Now for a while it has been clear that at the heart of the postmodern left is the denial of human nature, because once you admit that human beings have a nature, you have to admit to limits on human will. Everything, and I do mean everything, is “socially constructed.” But seldom do you see this essential foundation of the left’s “non-foundationalism” (as they like to call it without noting the self-contradiction) stated as openly and directly as this:

Sex, Biological Functions and Social Norms: A Simple Constructivist Theory of Sex

Asa Carlson, University of Gavle and Stockholm University


Feminist theory needs a constructivist account of biological sex for at least two reasons. The first is that as long as female and male are the only two sexes that are taken for granted, being cisgender, heterosexual, and preferably a parent will be the norm, and being intersexed, transgender, bi- or homosexual, infertile or voluntarily childless will be deemed failure. The second is the fact that, usually, sex and gender come together in the way that is expected, i.e. the fact that most females are women and most males are men needs to be explained. This paper provides a constructivist theory of sex, which is that the sex categories depend on norms of reproduction. I argue that, because the sex categories are defined according to the two functions or causal roles in reproduction, and biological function is a teleological concept involving purposes, goals, and values, female and maleare normative categories. As there are no norms or values in nature, normative categories are social constructions; hence, female and male are not natural but social categories. Once we understand that biological normativity is social, biological norms of heterosexuality, fertility, and so on are no longer incontestable. In addition, as many gender norms also concern reproduction—socially mediated reproduction—this simple theory of sex explains the common confluence of sex and gender.

Now, unlike many such journals that want to charge non-subscribers (which would be everyone) $36 for access to the complete article, this one is available for free. The whole article is hardly any better, and seems to boil down to the argument that because some men and women don’t produce children, somehow this means western civilizations deprecates them, and this offense against dignity and equality must be refuted because it hurts our feelings. If you don’t believe me, read the whole thing. You’ll hate me for it.