Modularity, Theory of Mind, and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Philosophy of Science 78 (5):763-773 (2011)
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The theory of mind (ToM) deficit associated with autism spectrum disorder has been a central topic in the debate about the modularity of the mind. In a series of papers, Philip Gerrans and Valerie Stone argue that positing a ToM module does not best explain the deficits exhibited by individuals with autism (Gerrans 2002; Stone & Gerrans 2006a, 2006b; Gerrans & Stone 2008). In this paper, I first criticize Gerrans and Stone’s (2008) account. Second, I discuss various studies of individuals with autism and argue that they are best explained by positing a higher-level, domain-specific ToM module.



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Marcus P. Adams
State University of New York, Albany