R. Peter Hobson
In order to understand the pathogenesis of autism, one needs to have an adequate framework within which to think about the nature of typical as well as atypical early human mental development. From a complementary perspective, the study of autism may challenge our ways of thinking about the mind itself. For example, are we justified in introducing divisions among cognition, conation, and affect in characterizing early development? What is the epistemological basis for children's understanding of others' minds? How should we think about the origins of and basis for symbolic functioning? This chapter explores the relevance of philosophy for our accounts of autism, highlighting the importance of ideas from Wittgenstein and Strawson in particular, and illustrates fresh ways in which autism might contribute to debates in philosophy of mind.