I'm currently struggling on how to approach certain questions systematically given that I don't have a philosophy background. Here's an example of such question.

Imagine a hypothetical future where we have the technology to safely -- no negative health side-effects -- transition to your desired sex (male or female).

Q: What is the appropriate age to choose your own sex?

Can you advice on how I could break down the question so that it's not closed due to it being subjective?

My intent is to investigate how we to think about when a person should be able to determine certain aspects of their own future.

In most places, parents determine many aspects of their children's future for a certain period of time. This could be because young people are not deemed responsible enough, or maybe cause they would not be expected to understand the long term consequences of a decision, or maybe other reasons.

What is the branch/sub-field of philosophy that deals with this kind of question?

1 Answer 1


This is kind of weird. Your meta-philosophy question, which I parse as,

What part of philosophy deals with how children are to be treated by adults?

is a good question about philosophy that you could ask on the regular philosophy.SE. Try asking that there

The question you quote at the top, on other hand, seems at least to me to be a bad fit for philosophy.SE because it asks your answerers to do philosophy (or biology? or neuroscience?) rather than answer a question about philosophy.

To move the second question towards the realm of answerability in the confines of philosophy.SE, you could ask:

What are the major considerations philosophers would use to decide what age is appropriate for letting an individual "decide their own sex"?

Where the issues would probably be issues of autonomy, science, and values about human nature... but I'll leave that up to those interested in answering the question.

  • Excellent answer, seconded. There surely is a discussion in applied ethics about transgendering and the arguments about why that choice should be given and at what age do not depend on the possibility to do so more easily, i.e. the scenario described.
    – Philip Klöcking Mod
    Jul 20, 2018 at 15:47

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