Synthese:1-26 (forthcoming)

Authors
Jean-Nicolas Bourdon
Université du Québec à Montreal
Pierre Poirier
Université du Québec à Montréal
Abstract
Diversity is an undeniable fact of nature, and there is now evidence that nature did not stop generating diversity just before “designing” the human brain :15,468–15,473. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1509654112, 2015). If neurodiversity is a fact of nature, what about neurodivergence? Although the terms “neurodiversity” and “neurodivergence” are sometimes used interchangeably, this is, we believe, a mistake: “neurodiversity” is a term of inclusion whereas “neurodivergence” is a term of exclusion. To make the difference clear, note that everyone can be said to be neurodiverse, but that it is almost impossible for everyone to be neurodivergent. Neurodivergence is, we claim here, a fact of society. Neurodivergent individuals are those whose cognitive profile diverges from an established cognitive norm, a norm that is not an objective statistical fact of human neurological functioning but a standard established and maintained by socio-political processes. In this paper, we describe the socio-political mechanisms that build neurodivergence out of neurodiversity which, inspired by Mihai :395–416. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41296-017-0186-z, 2018), we call “epistemic and cognitive marginalization”. First, we extend the traditional concept of neurodiversity, which we believe too closely tied to a neuroreductionist conception of cognition, to that of “extended neurodiversity,” thereby viewing neurodiversity through the lens of 4E cognition. Considering that human cognition depends on epistemic resources, both for their construction and their online dynamic expression, we hypothesize that the differential access to epistemic resources in society, a form of epistemic injustice, is an overlooked mechanism that turns neurodiversity into neurodivergence. In doing so, we shed light on a type of epistemic injustice that might be missing from the epistemic injustice literature: cognitive injustices.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-021-03356-5
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