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A Perverse Case of the Contingent A Priori: On the Logic of Emasculating Language (A Reply to Dawkins and Dummett)

This case scrutinizes in logical and semantic detail what exactly is wrong with masculine language serving double duty as sex-neutral language (>man= standing for humans, >he= standing for anyone, and so on).

I present several arguments which together or separately, and among other things, provide what I take to be a definitive argument against the use of so-called sex-neutral masculine language. The main title presents, in elevated language, a simple (perverse) idea –some might say small, and I am happy to agree– that is the essential keystone of masculine language and the essential reason behind its current remise-en-question. The subtitle plays on deep structure to convey the idea that this paper has both semantic interests and deontic concerns. In the sense of any paper with an ‘ought’ in it, it is, among other things, an advocacy paper.
Part I: Double Standards and the Contingent A Priori focuses on the use of the word ‘man’.
Part II: The Masculine Language Loop examines how the pernicious a priori–the masculine language virus– infects our pronominal system, and our attitudes.
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