Hi! I'm Amelia (she/her). I'm a philosophy professor, and I'm autistic. A couple years ago, I teamed up with Joanna (she/her)--another neurodivergent philosophy professor--to create NeuroDiving, a philosophy podcast about neurodivergence.
A philosophy podcast about neurodivergence?
Joanna and I think that philosophy can help all of us think critically about difficult, fundamental questions related to neurodivergence. We also think that good philosophy pays close attention to real people's experiences. So on NeuroDiving, you will hear neurodivergent people tell stories about their experiences, and talk about the deeper implications of those experiences. You'll hear neurodivergent researchers (and a few neurotypical ones, too) reflect on the conceptual foundations of their work. And you'll hear me and Joanna discuss a bunch of philosophical puzzles along the way.
When can I hear some episodes?
After two years of background research and interviews, we are very eager to serve up Season 1 of NeuroDiving: “Autism Mind-Myths.” You can listen to the Season 1 trailer right here, right now, and we'll begin dropping full episodes on Monday, November 13th, 2023.
You can find a full transcript of the trailer here.
If you want to be updated when new episodes are released, subscribe to this Substack! Or you can subscribe to the podcast using any of the standard podcast delivery services.
There are so many myths about autistic minds ("extreme male brain" theory, anyone?). But perhaps one of the most puzzling myths is the idea that autism is a "theory of mind" deficit. According to this view of autism, autistic people are extra bad at understanding minds---the minds of others, as well as our own minds. But this view of autism doesn't reflect what many autistic people report about their experiences, and many researchers now reject this view of autism.
And yet, the theory of mind deficit view of autism won't go away. It's all over Google search results (go ahead, try Googling for yourself!). It's in psychology textbooks. It's still in many corners of autism research. It gets cited in criminal court cases. It's promoted by people who develop behavioral interventions for autistic children. And, as you’ll hear on the podcast, the "theory of mind" deficit view of autism has filtered down into our culture, contributing to the (false) notion that autistic people lack empathy.
So on Season 1 of NeuroDiving, we're diving into the "theory of mind" deficit view of autism: what it is, where it came from, how it has affected autistic people, why it has persisted for so long in spite of all its problems, and how we can start doing better research by reflecting on the values that drive scientific practice. We'll also discuss the relationship between "theory of mind" and empathy, autistic experiences of empathy, and the relationship between empathy and morality.
Thanks to the Marc Sanders Foundation and the Templeton Foundation for their support of the show.