Thesis Proposal: Part IV – Abstract 2

At this point, my advisor pointed out that I should look at how Autism $peaks uses theory of mind.  Maybe I wouldn’t find enough, but it could be an interesting avenue to go down.  I had touched upon this in my previous abstract, but then I told myself to try and start with Autism Speaks, rather than end with it.

Another comment that he made was that the phrase “what role does science, be it pseudo or actual…” was problematic because rhetoric doesn’t really like absolutely like terms or phrases that imply capital-R Reality or capital-T Truth, etc.

State of Mind: Rewrite the abstract where I start with Autism Speaks.



2nd Attempt

Autism Speaks is the self-described “world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization.”  However, looking further into their practices shows what they really advocate for: the eradication of autism.  Two integral questions* arise from this finding: (1) how does Autism Speaks have the authority to pursue this objective, and (2) who does Autism Speaks really advocate for.  To begin answering question 1, we need only look as far as their self-description, which reveals where the authority of Autism Speaks comes from: science.  Autism Speaks funds, reports on, and is influenced by science.  

Analyzing Theory of Mind (ToM), or the ability to know what other people are thinking and feeling (an ability autistic people supposedly lack), from the theoretical frameworks of rhetoric of science and disability studies reveals that ToM is, at best, a pseudoscience, and at worst, an enthymematically dehumanizing rhetorical move.  By analyzing how Autism Speaks responds to ToM, we are lead to the following disconcerting conclusion: pseudoscience (ToM) leads to pseudoadvocacy (Autism Speaks).  This leads to Autism Speaks advocating for the parents of autistic children by conquering the autistic through dehumanizing enthymemes found within ToM thereby muting autistic people into a crippling silence which Autism Speaks then uses as a further warrant for eradicating autism.


*(not in my proposal, but I want to vent) Let me quick complain a bit about Google Docs: It keeps wanting to change this questions to equations!   WTF Grr face!


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