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Revista do NUFEN

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LIMA, Rossano Cabral. Investigating autism: Theory of mind and the phenomenological alternative. Rev. NUFEN [online]. 2019, vol.11, n.1, pp. 194-214. ISSN 2175-2591.º01ensaio49.

In contemporary debates about autism, "Theory of Mind" considers the main autistic features as a failure in meta-representation, making it impossible to understand the mental states of others. This article aims to carry out the critical study of the cognitive paradigm and to introduce the contributions of phenomenology. Researchers in this field hold that thoughts, emotions and intentions are already expressed and understood in explicit behaviors, supporting the mutual attunement that underlies human sociability. Thus, in the case of autism, before the onset of problems in the metrepresentation, there would be early disturbances in the sensorimotor dimension, interfering in processes of primary and secondary intersubjectivity. We conclude that phenomenological perspective allows the critique of notions of mental modules and computational models, highlighting the embodied, pre-reflective and intersubjective mental experience, thus contributing to a new understanding of the autistic ways of suffering and experiencing the world.

Keywords : Autism; Cognitivism; Theory of mind; Phenomenology.

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