Autistic Self-Awareness

A currently popular view traces autistic cognitive abnormalities to a defective capacity for theorizing about other minds. Two prominent researchers, Uta Frith and Francesca Happé, extend this account by tracing further autistic abnormalities to impaired self-consciousness. This paper argues that Frith and Happé's account requires a treatment of autistic self-report that is problematic on both methodological and philosophical grounds. However, the philosophical problems point to an alternative account of self-awareness and self-report in normal individuals; and this account gives us a methodologically more attractive approach to explaining autistic abnormalities.