9 thoughts on “Speculation about autistic philosophers, and explaining the gender imbalance as due to innate features!

  1. I cannot recommend Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference enough. She is great on Baron Cohen and argues very well for the thesis that one cannot detach society from the self.

    Keep in mind the forthcoming Neurofeminism (eds. Bluhm, Jacobson, Maibom from Palgrave MacMillan); in it Fine examines in scholarly detail Baron Cohen’s views about the male/austistic mind.

  2. Interestingly, it turns out that the author of this piece of speculation on Wittgenstein, autism and the female mind is a lecturer in the Department of French. Not our fault.

  3. I don’t want to dismiss the piece *just* because the author is in a French department. One can be knowledgeable if fields outside of one’s official expertise. I want to dismiss it because it’s a hopelessly vague, speculative mess.

    And so, satire.

    (1) Wittgenstein might have been autistic!
    (3) Profit! I mean, hence philosophers are autistic!

  4. Given how language departments are being killed off, perhaps we should be quiet about all this.

    On the other hand, one wonders if French departments are prepared to celebrate anything new. How else could we account for his idea that Satre and Beavoir were autistic?

  5. “Plato took the view (in Book V of “The Republic”) that women were just as philosophical as men and would qualify to become the philosopher ‘guardians’ of the ideal Greek state of the future (in return they would have to learn to run around naked at the gym). It seems likely that women were among the pre-Socratic archi-philosophers. But they were largely oracular. They tended to speak in riddles. The point of philosophy from Aristotle onwards was to resolve and abolish the riddle.”

    Or maybe the female philosophers just liked to keep some distance between themselves and the creeps who thought they should run around naked? Or maybe Aristotle was too busy thinking that they should run around naked to listen to what they had to say?

  6. I’d be grateful if you could explain what is wrong with the term ‘mindblind’. I assume it means that an autistic person is unable to see what someone is thinking or feeling, analogous to the way a blind person is unable to see what is in the world around her. In other words, both lack a particular method of learning (about others and the world respectively). Clearly the former is more debilitating.

  7. I imagine the alleged problems with the term “mindblind” and the particular ideas/theory associated with it are much more serious than what I have quickly to say here, so wait for more careful responses from others. For one thing, mindblind seems to stigmatize blind people – are we going to append the word “blind” whenever we want to identify a problem or deviation from some statistical or population norm? There are other ways to navigate the world than through use of human eyes. Our environment could easily change in ways that would make more common and bring about different forms of navigation. Ron Amundson is really on target with his paper Against Normal Function. Interested readers might want to check it out along with his papers both on disability ethics and evo-devo matters in biology:

    In addition, the term ‘mindblind’ might unnecessarily further stigmatize
    people with some form of autism. Many people interact with their environments in different ways, and it might not be clear that people with various forms of autism lack a theory of mind, or lack the whole capacity for mind reading. Even if they do, it seems unclear what categorizing them in this way accomplishes; thinking in terms of such categorization might affect how we perceive, react, treat, etc.

    Does any of that make any sense?

  8. Tina, there are general problems with the way our everyday discourse can contribute to the marginalization (and more) of people who have diabilities. One instance is the way in which “blind” is equated to being ignorant, unable to learn and so on.

    The topic deserves much more than I’m saying here. We covered a bit of it here:
    The blog, What Sorts of People (see our blog list) often has very informative discussions on such issues.

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