Harry Ainscough (they/them)

I am a PhD student in Philosophy at McGill University. Before coming to McGill, I received an MA in Philosophy at the University of Oslo, and a BA, also in philosophy, via distance learning with Birkbeck, University of London. My main research interests are in social and political philosophy, ethics, and feminist – particularly transfeminist – philosophy.

Before starting at McGill, I wrote my MA thesis on how to improve the gender kinds in operation in dominant contexts to make them more trans-inclusive, drawing primarily on Dembroff’s Real Talk on the Metaphysics of Gender. My current interests draw on this work but turn to focus more on the ethics of gendered interactions. That is, I think that how we should treat people in gendered ways can be highly context sensitive, and that thinking about these issues might depart from thinking about the application conditions of gender terms, or the membership conditions of gender kinds. For example, it might be better to misgender a trans person in certain contexts than to out them without their consent, regardless of the application conditions of gender terms, or membership conditions of gender kinds in that context. Then, I want to work out how to navigate this context sensitivity, what the range of normative considerations involved are, and how to balance them.

I am mostly interested in “ground-bound” (Bettcher, 2019) theory about marginalised, particularly trans and queer, communities and identities. I aim to theorise from within these resistant contexts, and not to prioritise dominant contexts and their associated meanings, concepts, etc. in my work. This means that I take trans validity, and transness, as starting points for theorising.