Session: 5

PS5-16 | Epistemology of neuroscience: Contributions from Canguilhem’s perspective to the case of autism

Clara Nicole Castañares

Instituto Ferreyra (INIMEC-CONICET-UNC)

Based on “The normal and the pathological” (1943), an essay of the physician and philosopher Georges Canguilhem, epistemic aspects underlying the theoretical framework of neurosciences are discussed. For this author health is irreducible, dynamic and relational, showing that healthy and pathological states cannot be only quantitatively determined at a biological or statistical level. On the contrary, the pathological is mostly qualitative because it emerges from the individual experience of suffering and limitations, generated by a reduced capacity to change and to adapt to circumstances in a flexible and creative way. In addition, Canguilhem proves that biological, psychological or behavioral anomalies are not always pathological but depend on the assessment and value they receive from the individual as a whole at a given time and context. Autism has already been postulated as a paradigmatic disease model from Canguilhem’s perspective, so we consider such contributions of canguilhemian epistemology should be considered and could be incorporated in the field of neurosciences.