Leo Kanner “thought what nobody has yet thought...

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Poke
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03 Mar 2011, 5:46 pm

...about which everybody sees."

This is a quote from Erwin Schrödinger (yes, the cat guy) regarding Kanner's "discovery" or identification of autism.

What, exactly, does this mean?



Janissy
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03 Mar 2011, 5:53 pm

Leo Kanner made a serious attempt to figure out what was going on in the minds of autistic children. Up to that point, people saw them but dismissed them without a thought as "feeble minded" or various other things. Everybody saw them. Nobody bothered to try to figure out what was going on inside their heads. Kanner is the first one on record to try.



DandelionFireworks
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03 Mar 2011, 6:10 pm

Not just feeble-minded. History is just full of people everyone considers and even people who at the time were considered brilliant who show a whole bunch of traits, though of course without ever having met them I can't say for sure. But I'd be mildly surprised to find out that, say, Thomas Jefferson wasn't. He clearly had sensory issues, at the very least.


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Poke
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08 Mar 2011, 10:40 am

Janissy wrote:
Leo Kanner made a serious attempt to figure out what was going on in the minds of autistic children. Up to that point, people saw them but dismissed them without a thought as "feeble minded" or various other things. Everybody saw them. Nobody bothered to try to figure out what was going on inside their heads. Kanner is the first one on record to try.


I don't see how this applies to the quote in question, or even that it's a valid characterization of Kanner's paper.



leejosepho
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08 Mar 2011, 10:47 am

Poke wrote:
Janissy wrote:
Leo Kanner made a serious attempt to figure out what was going on in the minds of autistic children. Up to that point, people saw them but dismissed them without a thought as "feeble minded" or various other things. Everybody saw them. Nobody bothered to try to figure out what was going on inside their heads. Kanner is the first one on record to try.

I don't see how this applies to the quote in question, or even that it's a valid characterization of Kanner's paper.

Try this:

"Leo Kanner thought what nobody has yet thought [about what was going on in the minds of autistic children] about [the autism] everybody sees."

-or this-

"Leo Kanner thought ... about [the autism] everybody sees."


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Poke
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08 Mar 2011, 11:30 am

leejosepho wrote:
Try this:

"Leo Kanner thought what nobody has yet thought [about what was going on in the minds of autistic children] about [the autism] everybody sees."


But if you read Kanner's paper, it has little (if anything) to do with figuring out what was going on in the minds of the children in question.



leejosepho
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08 Mar 2011, 11:44 am

Poke wrote:
leejosepho wrote:
Try this:

"Leo Kanner thought what nobody has yet thought [about what was going on in the minds of autistic children] about [the autism] everybody sees."


But if you read Kanner's paper, it has little (if anything) to do with figuring out what was going on in the minds of the children in question.

Does Erwin Schrödinger make such a claim? At least in its stand-alone form, I would suspect nothing much beyond a simple perception had been expressed in Schrödinger's statement here posted as a thread title.


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Poke
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08 Mar 2011, 11:53 am

leejosepho wrote:
Does Erwin Schrödinger make such a claim?


My comments are based on my own reading of Kanner's paper. Here's a pdf copy if you'd like to have a look: http://www.sendspace.com/file/mm32of

As I said, it has little (if anything) to do with figuring out what was going on in the minds of the children in question. Rather, it is an attempt at generalizing the external appearance/behavior of these children (quite naturally, as autism is a behaviorally-derived diagnosis).



leejosepho
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08 Mar 2011, 11:59 am

Poke wrote:
leejosepho wrote:
Does Erwin Schrödinger make such a claim?


My comments are based on my own reading of Kanner's paper.

So then, possibly Erwin Schrödinger has misunderstood, misinterpreted or read something into Kanner's paper.


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08 Mar 2011, 12:05 pm

leejosepho wrote:
Poke wrote:
leejosepho wrote:
Does Erwin Schrödinger make such a claim?


My comments are based on my own reading of Kanner's paper.

So then, possibly Erwin Schrödinger has misunderstood, misinterpreted or read something into Kanner's paper.


Janissy was the one who introduced the "figuring out what was going on in the minds of the children" characterization. Schrödinger has misunderstood only if Janissy's comments really do correlate with what he was saying--and we have no reason to assume that they do.



leejosepho
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08 Mar 2011, 12:21 pm

Poke wrote:
Janissy was the one who introduced the "figuring out what was going on in the minds of the children" characterization. Schrödinger has misunderstood only if Janissy's comments really do correlate with what he was saying--and we have no reason to assume that they do.

So then, you are still seeking an answer to your question:

"What, exactly, does [Schrödinger's statement] mean?"

Until something better comes along, I think Janissy's answer represents misunderstanding on Schrödinger's part.


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08 Mar 2011, 12:29 pm

But Janissy's characterization of Kanner's paper is inaccurate, and shouldn't be used to ascertain Schrödinger's statement. The most likely scenario here is that Janissy's and Schrödinger's comments are unrelated.



leejosepho
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08 Mar 2011, 12:33 pm

Poke wrote:
But Janissy's characterization of Kanner's paper is inaccurate, and shouldn't be used to ascertain Schrödinger's statement. The most likely scenario here is that Janissy's and Schrödinger's comments are unrelated.

I think the error there is in assuming Janissy was speaking of Kanner's paper. I only heard Janissy's comment in relation to Schrödinger's statement, and that is how Schrödinger's statement also sounded to me.


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08 Mar 2011, 12:35 pm

Schrödinger's statement was made in regard to Kanner's "identification" of autism, which, of course, was made in his seminal paper.



leejosepho
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08 Mar 2011, 12:39 pm

Poke wrote:
Schrödinger's statement was made in regard to Kanner's "identification" of autism, which, of course, was made in his seminal paper.

Sure, and having never read Kanner's paper for myself, I now know to be a bit suspicious of Schrödinger's statement if/when I ever might do so.


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