Among the most pronounced responses to Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s widely discussed refusal or inability to define a woman were two almost directly contradictory: (1) it’s nonsensical silliness and (2) it’s “scientifically sound.”
These blatantly irreconcilable differences don’t result only from divergent ideologies. More fundamentally, they reflect differences on the kind of existence that man (woman? person?) experiences in the world. If you believe persons are born into a world with already existing ontological realities, that is, the world is structured in a fixed, immutable way, you’ll find the idea that woman can’t be defined by obvious visual and anatomical factors to be just plain gibberish.
On the other hand, if you believe that what have traditionally been considered fix, external realities in the world — for example, that there are only two human sexes, male and female, and no more or less — are actually just infinitely malleable social constructions, you’ll be heartened by Jackson’s answer.