Lauren Freeman, CCHS Faculty Fellow, Philosophy

“Sex Categorization in Medical Contexts: A Cautionary Tale”
When Jan 12, 2017
from 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Where Bingham Humanities Bldg., Room 300
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“Sex Categorization in Medical Contexts: A Cautionary Tale”

Professor Freeman presents a feminist critique of the use of sex categories (male/female) in medical contexts. She argues that within such contexts, instead of relying on sex categories, practitioners should rely instead on the relevant sex properties of the patient. Contrary to what many people believe, the classificatory system by which sexes are divided into male and female is anything but clear. There are in fact six markers on the basis of which sex can be determined and the norm, rather than the exception, is that these markers are not binary and can take, for each individual, different values along a spectrum. The fact that many people fall somewhere in between these two distinct categories calls for us to rethink this binary system on medical, ethical, and practical grounds. Professor Freeman questions the benefits of categorizing all individuals as either male or female in medical contexts and argues for restricting the use of sex categories within medical contexts and shifting the focus to the relevant sex-related properties of the patient.

Prof. Freeman has published her work in The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Inquiry, Continental Philosophy Review, The American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy, Philosophy Today, Hypatia, and The Review of Metaphysics. She is currently co-editing with Andreas Elpidorou a special issue of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences on the topic of the phenomenology and science of emotion. She has forthcoming articles in The Heidegger Lexicon, Philosophy of Mind and Phenomenology and in a special issue of Knowledge Cultures entitled Race and Lived Embodiment. She is a 2016-17 CCHS Faculty Fellow.