Neurogradualism: Neurodiversity Without Categorical Difference, A Case Study of Autism
This paper is a study of the link between the phenomenological theme of embodiment and the hermeneutical theme of making (participatory) sense of each other. Using autism as a case in point, I investigate the relation between breakdowns of the latter and neurological diversity. Is trying to explain psychopathologies like autism in this sense not just a way of understanding the human condition as such? In arguing for an emphatic ‘Yes!’ to this question, I elaborate a case for an empathic neurogradualism. This means that instead of emphasizing the gap between ‘neurocultures’ we come to an understanding of neurodiversity which informs mutual and self-understanding across such cultures. In this view the phenomenology of desynchronization and the cognitive science underlying views on neurodiversity mutually inform each other and neurodiversity becomes a source of inspiration rather than a matter of categorical separation.