The Ethics of Autism

The Ethics of Autism : Among Them, but Not of Them

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Autism is one of the most compelling, controversial, and heartbreaking cognitive disorders. It presents unique philosophical challenges as well, raising intriguing questions in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and philosophy of language that need to be explored if the autistic population is to be responsibly served. Starting from the "theory of mind" thesis that a fundamental deficit in autism is the inability to recognize that other persons have minds, Deborah R. Barnbaum considers its implications for the nature of consciousness, our understanding of the consciousness of others, meaning theories in philosophy of language, and the modality of mind. This discussion lays the groundwork for consideration of the value of an autistic life, as well as the moral theories available to persons with autism. The book also explores questions about genetic decision making, research into the nature of autism, and the controversial quest for a cure. This is a timely and wide-ranging book on a disorder that commends itself to serious ethical more

Product details

  • Paperback | 248 pages
  • 144.78 x 233.68 x 20.32mm | 249.47g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 6 b&w photos
  • 0253220130
  • 9780253220134
  • 893,596

Review quote

"I know of no other work that tries to draw on the extensive and emerging psychological literature on autism to examine this disorder for its philosophical and ethical implications... Its conclusions challenge many leading theories of ethics' claims regarding necessary and sufficient cognitive capabilities for moral reasoning. In practical terms, it challenges assumptions about the appropriateness of some parental decision making and research in relation to autism." -Ronald M. Green, author of Babies by Design: The Ethics of Genetic Choice "This book will be of great interest to philosophers and students of philosophy on the issues of autism and what it means to be a person." -Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures "How many of us, when first thinking about the problems raised by autism, would have imagined that one of the most cogent ethical problems is whether one ought to cure the disorder if a cure were to become available? Why this is a true ethical problem is only one of many insights to be gained from Deborah R. Barnbaum's meticulous analysis. Along the way, we confront perhaps the greatest challenge-what would it actually be like for us to get inside the heads of persons with autism, and experience life as they do?" -Howard Brody, MD, PhD, Director, Institute for the Medical Humanities, University of Texas Medical Branch, and author of The Future of Bioethics "[The Ethics of Autism] provides a serious examination of the moral and ethical issues surrounding autism and Asperger's syndrome. Although there are many books about autism, in the 66 years since the condition was first described none has tackled the ehtics of autism head on in the way that Barnbaum does. This book kick-starts the ethical debate that I think we need." -The Lancet, Vol. 373, May 9, 2009 "... an important, albeit atypical, contribution to disability and ethics... the work should be commended for its innovative approach." -Choice, June 2009 "This is an important book, and deserves a wide readership among academics and practitioners involved with autism, as well as among philosophers." -Autismshow more

About Deborah R. Barnbaum

Deborah R. Barnbaum is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Kent State University and editor (with Michael Byron) of Research Ethics: Text and Readings. She lives in Kent, more

Table of contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. A Philosophical Introduction to Autism Voices of Autism: Jim Sinclair2. The Value of an Autistic Life Voices of Autism: Wendy Lawson3. Autism and Moral Theories Voices of Autism: Gunilla Gerland4. Autism and Genetic Technologies Voices of Autism: Donna Williams5. Research on Persons with Autism Voices of Autism: Temple GrandinNotesBibliographyIndexshow more

Rating details

12 ratings
2.83 out of 5 stars
5 8% (1)
4 33% (4)
3 8% (1)
2 33% (4)
1 17% (2)
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