Autism and panpsychism : putting process in mind

Delafield-Butt, J. (2021) Autism and panpsychism : putting process in mind. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 28 (9-10). pp. 76-90. ISSN 1355-8250 (

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Panpsychism is a metaphysical framework around which science can understand the nature of subjective experience. Panpsychism affords a scientific view of mind and body as a coherent mind–body unity, with agentive purpose. Fundamental to minds is motor control, a core aspect that combines sensory experience, its evaluation in choice of agent action, and extension into the public expression of intentional movement. This primary mind–body process appears disturbed in autistic individuals. Empirical analysis of the spatiotemporal properties of intentional movement in autism shows a disruption to the efficient prospective integration and control of movement, a core aspect of mind. This paper examines the capacity of a panpsychist metaphysic to explain mind as fundamentally constituted by units of mind–body sensorimotor agency, which can be understood as the basic building blocks of embodied experience. The implications of a post-Cartesian metaphysic in scientific understanding of minds allows for deeper consideration of the role of movement in subjective experience, and its disturbance in autism as a disturbance to the organization of conscious sensorimotor experience and agency. It's impact on modes of cognition and neural substrates is discussed.