chapter  19
14 Pages

Whose Language?

In this chapter I would like to consider this issue from the perspective of lan­ guage. From this perspective one understands the position of gender theorists as saying that the meanings of some words, such as “reason,” present a gender bias. In the first section of this chapter I look at how, according to these theorists, words can have a gendered meaning, and discuss some of the criticisms their position has rightly received. In the second and third sections I provide an account which is not, I hope, open to the same kind of criticisms. In the fourth

section I show how my account can be applied to the meaning of the word “woman” itself. I argue that this account shows how it is possible to continue talking about woman without being committed to any form of essentialism. Finally, I would like to mention some of the consequences that the position pre­ sented in this chapter has for epistemology.