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Fyrirlestur: Einhverfa, blinda á sumt og skynjun á öðru

13. september 2017 15:00 til 16:00

Gimli, stofa 102

Aðgangur ókeypis

Janette Dinishak, prófessors í heimspeki við University of California Santa Cruz, flytur fyrirlestur á vegum Heimspekistofnunar miðvikudaginn 13. september kl. 15:00 í Gimli 102.
Erindið nefnir hún Autism, Aspect-Blindness, and Aspect-Perception, eða Einhverfa, blinda á sumt og skynjun á öðru.

Nánari lýsing á fyrirlestrinum:

Recently there has been an upsurge in two-way interactions between philosophy and psychopathology. On the one hand, there is a substantial interest in incorporating empirical results about various psychiatric conditions (e.g., addiction, autism, depression, schizophrenia, and psychopathy) into philosophical debates. The thought is that reflection on forms of psychopathology can illuminate our understanding of the “normal.” For example, in philosophy of mind autism has played a significant role in debates about the structure and development of social cognition (e.g., Hobson 2013), knowledge of other minds (e.g., Avramides 2013), self-awareness (e.g., McGeer 2004), and folk psychology (e.g., Carruthers 1996; Goldman 2006). On the other hand, philosophers use philosophical positions and concepts to further our understanding of psychiatric conditions. For example, it has been argued that psychopathy is an actual case of sensible knavery (Nichols 2004). In the study of schizophrenia, some philosophers (e.g., Eilan 2000; Campbell 2001) have suggested that there is an analogy between the epistemological status that delusions have for schizophrenics and Wittgenstein’s framework propositions. Others (e.g., Sass 1994) have argued for the relevance of Wittgenstein’s thought on solipsism to understanding schizophrenic experience.

This talk examines an instance of the second kind of interaction between philosophy and psychopathology:  the appeal, by philosophers (Overgaard 2006; Stawarska 2010; Proudfoot 2013), to Wittgenstein’s notion of “aspect-blindness” to characterize autists’ difficulties understanding others’ mental states. My aim is twofold. The first is to articulate different ways of understanding what it might mean to say that autists are aspect-blind. The second is to critically assess the appeal to aspect-blindness to characterize autism. While more attention to the perceptual dimensions of autism is a welcome development in philosophical explorations of the condition, I argue that there are significant problems with the current construal of the relationship between autism and aspects. The empirical basis for the attribution of aspect-blindness to autists is questionable. However, even if it turns out that future empirical work on autistic perception and social cognition decisively supports the attribution of some forms of aspect-blindness to autists, the descriptive and explanatory fruitfulness of using the notion of aspect-blindness to capture autistic experience is limited in important ways. Such a frame is too narrow. It prematurely closes off a host of promising possibilities for understanding autism that become available in a broader framework, one that includes conceptualizing autists as engaging in forms of aspect-perception. This broader framework takes seriously the idea that autists have perspectives on the world that are not just a matter of missing things, and it allows for the possibility that some autistic differences may be the basis for capacities to perceive aspects that non-autistics do not and maybe even cannot perceive.