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Towards an Ethics of Autism

Kristien Hens


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1This book is the result of ten years of philosophical and ethical explorations of autism. During that period, I spoke to many people, colleagues, students, autism professionals, parents of autistic children, and, last but not least, autistic people themselves. Not only did these conversations help me to think about autism with more nuance, but they also helped me think about philosophy and ethics in a more grounded way. Much of what I now believe to be true, both in ontology and ethics, is the result of my grappling with the many meanings of autism and appreciating the importance of the autistic experience. So my gratitude goes out to all the people I met on the way.

2I want to thank the people from Open Book Publishers for their professional handling of this book: Alessandra Tosi, Lucy Barnes, Anna Gatti, Laura Rodriguez. I would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers who read the book’s first version: your comments were spot on, and I enjoyed rewriting the book with your suggestions.

3I would also like to thank the people from LAuRes (Leuven Autism Research) for welcoming me into their group and giving me a taste of the many aspects of clinical and fundamental research into autism. Thanks also to people from Autism Ethics for exciting workshops and philosophical discussions.

4Raymond Langenberg, Susan Langenberg and Fleur Beyers from Campus Gelbergen offered great inspiration and help in writing the Dutch book, of which this book is a rewritten translation.

5A special thanks to my colleagues Katrien Schaubroeck, Ilse Noens, Daniela Cutas, Anna Smajdor, Jean Steyaert, and Andreas De Block. You are colleagues in the truest sense of the word!

6The ideas in this book formed the gist of my project proposal, which has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 804881). This grant allowed me to create my team, NeuroEpigenEthics. I could not have developed many of the ideas in this book without the input of all its former and current team members. Eman Ahmed, Jo Bervoets, Delphine Jacobs, Laura Mattys, Lisanne Meinen, Emma Moormann, Gert-Jan Vanaken, Leni Van Goidsenhoven: you are all stars. Thank you for a fantastic experience!

7David, Roman, Aaron & Isaak: I spend too much time writing behind my computer, I know. You are what matters.


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