2004
Volume 110, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244

Abstract

Abstract

In this paper we demonstrate how the dominant discourse about autism, that stresses biological explanations, has certain ethical implications. On the one hand, such discourse is exculpating. In autism’s history, genetic explanations helped removing the blame from so-called refrigerator mothers. In present-day diagnostic practice, the idea of having a biological diagnosis helps people and their parents see beyond blame and guilt. On the other hand, a simplistic approach to biology risks neglecting the experiences and stories of autistic people in favour of finding causes and cures. In our own research we have noticed that narratives of autistic people explore an alternative autism discourse, one that demonstrate multiple meanings and dynamics of autism. We demonstrate, using the theories of Georges Canguilhem and the science of epigenetics, how dynamic models of life and mind offer the possibility to look at autism differently. Rather than seeing autistic people as people with fundamental flaws in their genes or software faults in their brains that have to be explained, autism appears as a phenomenon that exists in interaction with the context, as a meaningful reaction to the environment.

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2021-07-30
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): autism; epigenetics; Georges Canguilhem; narratives; static biological model
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