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This colloquium talk is co-sponsored by the Miami University Department of Philosophy and the Miami University Humanities Center. There has in recent years been an increased philosophical interest in the topic of transformative experience, mostly in its implications for rational choice and decision theory. By contrast, Dr. Catala focuses on some of the normative, justice-oriented aspects of transformative experience, by turning to the philosophically neglected intersection of gender and neurodiversity. She argues that receiving an autism diagnosis constitutes a hermeneutical breakthrough that is the source of a transformative experience for previously undiagnosed autistic women, and that this is a matter of both epistemic and social justice. Dr. Catala begins by showing how hermeneutical breakthroughs give rise to transformative experience, and how hermeneutical breakthroughs can impact not only autistic women's sense of who they are, but also their social, economic, and mental wellbeing. She then shows how hermeneutical injustice can preempt hermeneutical breakthroughs, which she argues involve hermeneutical representativeness and improved self-understanding.  Finally, Dr. Catala shows that moving toward hermeneutical justice so that autistic women may be diagnosed requires attending to the gender biases that pervade both the social and medical spheres. In arguing for these claims, this talk contributes to a fuller understanding of both transformative experience and hermeneutical breakthroughs and highlights the necessity of an intersectional approach to autism. 

Amandine Catala is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at the Université du Québec a Montréal (UQAM), where she holds the Canada Research Chair on Epistemic Injustice and Agency. Her research interests lie in feminist, social, and political philosophy as well as philosophy of race and philosophy of disability, and include epistemic injustice and agency, territorial rights, colonialism, indigenous issues, migration, linguistic justice, cultural minorities, and neurodiversity. Her work has appeared in Philosophical Studies, The Monist, Synthese, the Journal of Political Philosophy, the Journal of Social Philosophy, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, and Feminist Philosophy Quarterly. 

  • Dr. Gaile Pohlhaus
  • Ms. Caroline Ashley McClellan

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