In Mark Risjord (ed.), Normativity and Naturalism in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences. Routledge. pp. 113-134 (2016)

Janette Dinishak
University of California, Santa Cruz
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.
Keywords interpersonal understanding  autism  agency  simulation
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