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Autism, Metacognition, and the Deep Self


Many ‘deep self’ theories of moral responsibility characterize the deep self as necessarily requiring that an agent be able to reflect on her own cognitive states in various ways. In this paper, I argue that these metacognitive abilities are not actually a necessary feature of the deep self. In order to show this, I appeal to empirical evidence from research on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that suggests that individuals with ASD have striking impairments in metacognitive abilities. I then argue that metacognitive conceptions of the deep self are implausible insofar as they fail to give a satisfactory account of the responsibility of persons with autism.

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Journal of the American Philosophical Association
  • ISSN: 2053-4477
  • EISSN: 2053-4485
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