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Critique Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

What Is Trans Philosophy?

By Talia Mae Bettcher, 2019

In this article, I explore the question “What is trans philosophy?” by viewing trans philosophy as a contribution to the field of trans studies. This requires positioning the question vis à vis Judith Butler’s notion of philosophy’s Other, as trans studies has largely grown from this Other. It also requires taking seriously Susan Stryker’s distinction between the mere study of trans phenomena and trans studies as the coming to academic voice of trans people. Finally, it requires thinking about the types of questions that emerge when philosophy is placed within a multidisciplinary context: What does philosophy have to offer? Given that philosophy typically does not use data, what grounds philosophical claims about the world? What is the relation between philosophy and “the literature”? In attempting to answer these questions, I examine the notion of philosophical perplexity and the relation of philosophy to “the everyday.” Rather than guiding us to perplexity, I argue, trans philosophy attempts to illuminate trans experiences in an everyday that is confusing and hostile. Alternative socialities are required, I argue, in order to make trans philosophy possible.

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