This paper investigates what it is to understand human differences in terms of deficits and examines criticisms of this approach. In the past few decades, across many fields of inquiry and outside the academy there has been a surge of interest in critiquing "the deficit view" of all manner of group differences and deviations from the norm. But what exactly is meant by "deficit view" and related terms when they figure in accounts of human differences? Do critics of the deficit (...) view claim that they are never appropriate or that particular applications of the approach are inappropriate? The aim of this paper is twofold: to identify and articulate some of the conceptual issues at the heart of debates about deficit approaches and to examine how these issues matter. Autism is my focus case. As we will see, many critiques of the deficit view of autism tend to characterize what is problematic about taking a deficit view in terms of the personal and social harm that deficit views can or do effect. One important upshot of my discussion, I argue, is that there is another kind of drawback to deficit thinking that is independent of the deficit view's potential negative personal and social consequences, a drawback that deserves serious consideration and sustained critical attention: in some instances, at least, deficit views impede scientific and philosophical progress in our understanding of the phenomena themselves. Thus, articulating and assessing deficit approaches is of practical and theoretical importance. (shrink)
Seeing aspects is a dominant theme in Wittgenstein's 1940s writings on philosophy of psychology. Interpreters disagree about what Wittgenstein was trying to do in these discussions. I argue that interpreting Wittgenstein's observations about the interrelations between “noticing an aspect” and other psychological concepts as a systematic theory of aspect-seeing diminishes key lessons of Wittgenstein's explorations: these interrelations are enormously complicated and “noticing an aspect” resists neat classification. Further, Wittgenstein invites us to engage in his “placing activity,” and by doing so (...) we are building a skill that is valuable for enabling us to help ourselves when we encounter conceptual difficulties. (shrink)
Autistic children do not consistently show conventional signs of social engagement, which some have interpreted to mean that they are not interested in connecting with other people. If someone does not act like they are interested in connecting with you, it may make it difficult to feel connected to them. And yet, some parents report feeling strongly connected to their autistic children. We conducted phenomenological interviews with 13 mothers to understand how they experienced connection with their 5- to 14-year-old nonspeaking (...) autistic children. Mothers of nonspeaking autistic children represent a unique group in which to study connection because their children both may not seem interested in connecting with them and have limited ability to communicate effectively using speech, a common way people connect with each other. The mothers in this study interpreted a range of child behaviors—some unconventional, but many conventional—as signs that their children were interested in connecting with them, (re)framed child behaviors that could undermine connection as caused by factors unrelated to the relationship, and expressed several convictions that may help build and sustain connection in the face of uncertainty about the meaning of their children’s behavior. Even though their autistic children may not consistently act in conventional socially oriented ways, these mothers reported perceiving their children’s behavior as embedded within an emotionally reciprocal relationship. (shrink)
This paper examines the appeal, made by some philosophers, to Wittgenstein’s notion of aspect-blindness in order to better understand autistic perception and social cognition. I articulate and assess different ways of understanding what it means to say that autists are aspect-blind. 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 attributing aspect-blindness to autists. The empirical basis for the attribution of aspect-blindness to (...) autists is questionable, but, 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 the notion of aspect-blindness is limited in important ways. To better capture autistic experience, we should broaden our framework to include conceptualizing autists as engaging in forms of aspect-perception. (shrink)
The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein cites the Gestalt psychologist Wolfgang Koehler almost as often as he cites William James in his posthumously published writings on the philosophy of psychology. Yet, few treatments of the Wittgenstein–Koehler relation in the philosophical literature could be called sustained discussions. Moreover, most of them treat Koehler as a mere whipping boy for Wittgenstein, one more opportunity to criticize the practice of psychologists. This article emphasizes how much the two thinkers agreed, and the extent to which some (...) of Wittgenstein’s work not only agreed with but also has a logical structure parallel to some of Koehler’s text. Both thinkers hold that the theoretician should strive to recognize and resist the impulse to step in and purify, distill, streamline, or exclude phenomena: common, everyday experience for Koehler and common, everyday uses of words for Wittgenstein. They both aim to counteract the tendency to discount and disparage what is ordinary and common. (shrink)
In this paper I examine what autism can teach us about the role of like-mindedness in the achieving of interpersonal understanding. I explain how recent work on affective, sensory, perceptual, and cognitive atypicalities in people with autism underscores forms of like-mindedness that are largely neglected in contemporary discussions of interpersonal understanding. Autists and non-autists may have sensory, perceptual, and movement differences that make for pervasive differences in their perspectives on and ways of being in both the physical and social world. (...) Central to the paper is the idea that the forms of unlike-mindedness among autists and non-autists revealed by this research present the very live possibility that individuals without autism are unable to understand some autistic subjects as acting for reasons, or that if such understanding is available, it is available only through means other than those standardly emphasized in dominant theories of interpersonal understanding. I argue that this idea has significance for the case of autism itself as well as wider theoretical and practical importance for the study of interpersonal understanding. (shrink)
Jaswal and Akhtar argue that taking seriously autistic testimony will help make the science of autism more humane, accurate, and useful. In this commentary, I pose two questions about autistic testimony's role in a better science of autism and extract a general lesson about the value of autistic testimony from the authors’ arguments.
Seeing aspects is a dominant theme in Wittgenstein's 1940s writings on philosophy of psychology. Interpreters disagree about what Wittgenstein was trying to do in these discussions. I argue that interpreting Wittgenstein's observations about the interrelations between “noticing an aspect” and other psychological concepts as a systematic theory of aspect‐seeing diminishes key lessons of Wittgenstein's explorations: these interrelations are enormously complicated and “noticing an aspect” resists neat classification. Further, Wittgenstein invites us to engage in his “placing activity,” and by doing so (...) we are building a skill that is valuable for enabling us to help ourselves when we encounter conceptual difficulties. (shrink)
Discourses of ‘internationalisation’ of the curriculum of Western universities often describe the philosophies and paradigms of ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ scholarship in binary terms, such as ‘deep/surface’, ‘adversarial/harmonious’, and ‘independent/dependent’. In practice, such dichotomies can be misleading. They do not take account of the complexities and diversity of philosophies of education within and between their educational systems. The respective perceived virtues of each system are often extolled uncritically or appropriated for contemporary economic, political or social agendas. Critical thinking, deep learning, lifelong (...) and lifewide learning are heralded as the outcomes of Western education but these concepts are often under‐theorised or lack agreed meanings. Equally fuzzy concepts such as ‘Asian values’ or ‘Confucian education’ are eulogised as keys to successful teaching and learning when Asia prospers economically. They are also used to explain perceived undesirable behaviour such as plagiarism and uncritical thinking when Asian economies do not do so well. We argue that in general, educationists should be aware of the differences and complexities within cultures before they examine and compare between cultures. This paper uses the Confucian‐Western dichotomy as a case study to show how attributing particular unanalysed concepts to whole systems of cultural practice leads to misunderstandings and bad teaching practice. (shrink)
''As a text in developmental psychology the book is excellent, and this lower-priced paperback version will be snapped up by psychology students.'' -European NeurologyOne of the most dramatic areas of development in early human life is that of vision. Whereas vision plays a relatively minor role in the world of the newborn infant, by 6 months it has assumed the position as a dominant sense and forms the basis of later perceptual, cognitive, and social development. From a world leader in (...) the study of visual development in human infants comes a major new work, condensing a lifetime of work in this area - The developing visual brain. Drawing on over 20 years of cutting edge research in the Visual Develoment Units in Cambridge and University College London, the book provides the definitive account of what we know about the developing visual system, and the problems that can occur during development. The book reviews, evaluates, and sets in context the exciting progress being made in this area, and additionally suggests new areas for research. Written to be accessible for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers in psychology, the neurosciences, optometry, and visual science, The developing visual brain represents an important new addition to the literature on vision. (shrink)
This study investigated the consistency of the finding that family cohesion and adaptability are significant predictors of adolescent moral thought. To test this, 175 adolescents from a metropolitan population and 146 from an urban fringe population were administered White's revised Moral Authority Scale, Olson et al.'s Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale, and a family demographic questionnaire. A linear relation between family cohesion and family and equality sources of moral authority was found in both samples. However, the significant linear relation (...) between family adaptability and total source influence score found in Sample 1 was not found in Sample 2. This finding might result from the heterogeneity of sociocultural factors across the samples; post hoc analyses suggested that sociocultural factors might play an important moderating role in the relation between family adaptability and adolescent moral thought. (shrink)
Ginnie & Pinney ‘Think Smart’ materials have been written for children aged three to eight, ‘to encourage deep thinking and lively discussion between each other, their parents and teachers’ and hence we understand why they have already captured the attention of Philosophy for Schools practitioners. Matthew Lipman enshrined our aim as helping ‘children become more thoughtful, more reflective, more considerate and more reasonable individuals’ Let us see why you too will find them a valuable addition to your Early Years resources.
The principle of employment-at-will (EAW) holds that in the absence of an explicit agreement of contractually binding terms of employment, the employment relationship exists so long as both parties will it to continue. In practice, this means that the employer may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, thus giving rise to cases of wrongful termination. Just cause policies, on the other hand, require that employers follow both substantive and procedural due process in terminating a person’s employment. (...) Most institutions of higher education, public and private, at least implicitly accept the principle of EAW and carry it out in practice. I argue that because of their heritage of Catholic social thought, Catholic universities are obligated to replace the principle and practice of EAW with a just cause policy. I also point out that the very principles underlying Catholic social thought that lead to a rejection of EAW are principles that any highly educated person of good will should accept. (shrink)
The intention of the study was to identify predictable opportunities for teachers to scaffold middle year students’ philosophical learning. Such opportunities were identified in terms of students’ readiness to learn certain behaviours in the context of a ‘community of inquiry’. Thus it was hoped that the project would provide a useful resource for the teaching of philosophy to middle year students by ascertaining how amenable philosophical learning was to this approach. The study investigated the following questions: what are the indicators (...) of the development under the influence of the COI?; do these indicators cluster in any particular way? and is it possible to identify any clustering of indicators that suggests developmental bands? (shrink)
By investigating the nature of the social interactions between “sledge dogs” and explorers in the first land-based exploration in Antarctica, this research contributes to an animal-human perspective in Antarctic historical studies. Consideration of the interspecies interactions provide further insight into attitudes to nonhuman animal welfare, including towards wildlife, at the turn of the twentieth century. The companionship of favored animals appeared to have alleviated some of the stresses of isolation and confinement in the inhospitable Antarctic environment.
Previous cross-cultural research has not undertaken in situ analysis of conversational style between groups in severe political conflict. The present study is a quantitative and ethnographic study of conversational interruptions in one Israeli-Palestinian `dialogue' event which took place during the Palestinian Uprising. Findings indicate that the previously documented divergent cultural styles of the two groups underwent a process of change. Specifically, the Israeli dugri interruptive style dominated interactions between Israelis and between Israelis and Palestinians. However, fewer interruptions were found in (...) the intergroup interaction. Conversely, the Palestinian musayra style of non-interruptions was more significant in the intragroup Palestinian-Palestinian interaction than in interaction with Israelis, where Palestinian interruptions dominated. The political context of events and the erosion of the musayra style are suggested as factors that explain results. Implications are discussed. (shrink)
Feminized care work occupations have traditionally paid lower wages compared to non–care work occupations when controlling for human capital. However, when men enter feminized occupations, they often experience a “glass escalator,” leading to higher wages and career mobility as compared to their female counterparts. In this study, we examine whether men experience a “wage penalty” for performing care work in today’s economy, or whether the glass escalator helps to mitigate the devaluation of care work occupations. Using data from the Survey (...) of Income and Program Participation for the years 1996-2011, we examine the career patterns of low- and middle-skill men in health care occupations. We found that men in occupations that provide the most hands-on direct care did experience lower earnings compared to men in other occupations after controlling for demographic characteristics. However, men in more technical allied health occupations did not have significantly lower earnings, suggesting that these occupations may be part of the glass escalator for men in the health care sector. Minority men were significantly more likely than white men to be in direct care occupations, but not in frontline allied health occupations. Male direct care workers were less likely to transition to unemployment compared to men in other occupations. (shrink)