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Apologies if this eventually shows up twice. Sent it yesterday and still 
don't see it, so...

>Tom -
>
>  Not to take any particular part in this exchange, I can't help noticing 
> how many issues your questions raise, not least the possible analogy of 
> the evolution vs. utility of the hand to the making vs. "utility" of a 
> poem.  Perhaps the latter "utility" should not be set off in quotes, 
> thinking of Santayana's enjoinder that the sole advantage of having great 
> art is in what it can help us to become.  Under this injunction, most of 
> our art-talk is preliminary if not outright outside the law.
>
>  Fighting for Life: Contest, Sexuality, and Consciousness is a small book 
> that Walter Ong published 26 years ago. Have you read it? It touches on 
> male traits across cultures and considers the grounds for the questions 
> you've raised. No pretence here that there aren't other studies, maybe 
> more valuable, but because I had read most of Ong's works I read this one 
> and found it to be rather gripping in its appreciation and understanding 
> of the subject. To those more immersed in these kinds of studies it 
> probably adds nothing new except perhaps its own focus.
>
>  There is in it a marvelous definition of history, as well as a two page 
> or so rendering of what it means to be able to say "I" (thinking again of 
> Dawkins' foibles).
>
>FWIW.
>Ken A
>
>
>At 04:24 PM 7/17/2007, Tom Gray wrote:
>>My question is about the argument that gender is
>>socially-based. As in the original example, law is
>>socially-based. What is the point of this argument?
>>
>>My impression is that the implicit argument is that
>>entities that are socially based are somehow
>>artificial and not real. I brought up the example of
>>Dawkins because I see the same sort of argument
>>brought up in discussion of Darwinian evolution. This
>>is a confusion between the reality of an entity and
>>how it has been produced. That the hand was produced
>>using the methods of Darwinian evolution is an
>>interesting fact. This, however, has only marginal
>>application to the understanding of  the  utility of
>>the hand. The hand has great utility because it has
>>the properties of being a hand and not because of the
>>Darwinian historical explanation for its development.
>>
>>The came could be said of gender. It is socially
>>defined and is the result of an historical process.
>>This does not make it any less real and does not make
>>it any less good or bad.
>>
>>So the issue that I have is that the whether or not
>>gender is socially based is beside the main points
>>that are being made here. It seems that some regard
>>the current gender roles as things that should be
>>changed. This is probably something that I agree with.
>>However it has little to do with the fact that gender
>>roles are socially based.
>>
>>The law is socially based. However the law is not
>>inherently oppressive because of this.