Autism has typically been framed as inherently harmful and at odds with both subjective happiness and objective flourishing. In recent decades, however, the view of autism as inherently harmful has been challenged by neurodiversity proponents, who draw on social and relational models of disability to reframe the harm autistic people face as arising out of the interaction between being autistic and disabling environments. Here we build on the neurodiversity perspective by arguing that autistic thriving has been rendered both invisible and unthinkable by interlocking forms of testimonial and hermeneutical injustice. On the view we propose, rather than autism being at odds with the possibility of living a good life as such, We argue that our mainstream conceptions of the good life have excluded autistic manifestations of happiness and flourishing. This leads to an epistemic catch-22-like paradoxical situation whereby one can be recognised as autistic or as thriving, but not both. We then propose four ameliorative strategies that support moving towards broader conceptions of the good human life which will allow us to recognise not just autistic, but also other neurodivergent ways, of living a good human life.
Comment: Provides an overview of epistemic injustice faced by neurodivergent individuals both in their daily lives, but also in research done on neurodiversity. Also discusses issues with the medical model of medical and psychiatric diagnoses.