PHIL 247

We address two sets of related questions.  The first set is from metaphysics:  What sort of things are (human) persons? Is the person Mark Richard the human animal MR, or is he simply constituted by that animal?  Are properties like his sexual characteristics, gender, ethnicity, and the like essential to him?  The second set is from social philosophy:  Assuming that social identities like gender and race are not biological properties, what are they?  Are they in some sense socially constructed, and if so what exactly does that mean?  Are they malleable in the sense that whether someone has such an identity is a matter of factors which can be affected by individual or group decisions?