Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Affect and Autism: Convergence or Emergence in Philosophy and Biology and a New Limit Case for the Human

Robyn Gardner.

The paper examines the occluded impact of genomic and neurocognitive models in recent philosophy, in the adumbation of more complex autotelic theories of simulation, and focuses on recent neurocognitive research on autism which has implications for the human sciences. The current generalization of autism and recent theorization of its spectrum as 'hypermale' throws up new limit cases and new potentials, active already in philosophy as well as subject of pharmaceutical interest and investment. The significance of this research is examined in terms of these various coercions, and therefore the often occluded complicity of philosophical and biotechnological investment. The paper outlines areas of recent research in genetics and in the neurocognition of rare syndromes which offers radical reconceptualization of the plasticity of human potentials and suggests the ways in which these limit cases may be the beginning of any thinking of the future human.


Robyn Gardner  (Australia)
Doctoral Candidate, Co-editor of Journal, Mattoid
Department of English and Cultural Studies
University of Melbourne

Final year doctoral candidate, co-editor of Mattoid, a refereed journal of lit and cultural studies and independent scholar, interested in the relation of Humanities discourses to histories and technical advent in biogenetics

  • Affect
  • Autism
  • Autopoeisis
  • Neurocognive research
  • rare genetic syndromes
  • Implications for humanities
Person as Subject
  • Agamben, Giorgio Luhmann, Niklas Badiou, Alain Asperger Baron-Cohen, Simon

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)