Season 1 Trailer, "Autism Mind-Myths"

Amelia: Hi, I’m Amelia Hicks, and I’m an autistic philosophy professor.

Joanna: And I’m Joanna Lawson. I’m a philosophy professor and ADHD-er.

Amelia: Joanna and I are your two neurodivergent philosopher-hosts for NeuroDiving, a philosophy podcast about neurodivergence.

Joanna: On NeuroDiving, we examine the thorny philosophical questions that lie at the root of current debates about neurodiversity. We talk to neurodivergent thinkers—and a few neurotypical ones, too–whose work can shed light on the experiences of neurodivergent people. And we talk to neurodivergent people about their experiences, so that we can get a more accurate, nuanced picture of neurodivergence.

Amelia: Our goal is to combine philosophical tools with neurodivergent insight, in order to support better scientific research, better clinical practices, and better ways of treating each other.

Joanna: We’re not medical doctors, and we’re not psychologists—so we’ll never give you medical or therapeutic advice. And because we are annoying philosophers, we’re not going to try to sell you easy answers to hard questions. But we hope you’ll enjoy exploring these hard questions with us.

Amelia: On Season 1 of NeuroDiving, we investigate the ultimate Autism Mind-Myth: the myth that autism is a theory of mind deficit. According to this myth, autistic people don’t understand minds—not even our own minds.

Joanna: Where did this idea come from?

Daniel Dennett: I hate the term "theory of mind." It's an intellectualist fossil and it should have been discarded 30 years ago when I first started talking about the intentional stance.

Amelia: How has the “theory of mind deficit” view of autism impacted autistic people?

Tobi Abubakare: I think it hurts. I don't think that a lot of autism researchers think about that, like, the way you talk about autistic people, these people exist. We're not just like cells in a petri dish, we exist. And therefore everything you say and how you write impacts us very much. I just, researchers need to just think about this, they just need to think about what they’re doing.

Joanna: What went wrong with the science that was used to back up this myth?

Joe Gough: I think in terms of playing into pre-existing stigma, in terms of having a certain kind of cool factor which helps get funding, it's in the interests of the scientists, whether they know it or not, to keep using this kind of language to talk about autism.

Amelia: Is it possible to do “purely objective” autism research?

Chloe Farahar: I'd have more respect, I guess, for a number of researchers if they were just very honest about what drives them and not pretending that they're being objective because they're not. We're humans. You can't be objective with other humans or about other humans.

Joanna: And how can we better appreciate autistic experiences of empathy?

Ryan Althaus : When I was a kid I remember I would have to stop at every homeless person and give them everything I had, um, like it just, it would hurt so bad to see this.

Amelia: We will explore all those questions–and so many more–

Chloe Farahar: Why are we so obsessed with eyeballs?! It’s very strange!

Amelia: on season 1 of NeuroDiving: “Autism Mind-Myths.”