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

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Poke
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08 Mar 2011, 12:41 pm

Yes, I would be interested in knowing how you think it might apply.



Janissy
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08 Mar 2011, 12:54 pm

leejosepho wrote:
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.


Whew! I clearly need to step in here for a moment.

Leejosepho has correctly interpreted my post. It was a comment on what I thought was going through Schroedinger's mind about Kanner, not a comment about Kanner's paper.



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08 Mar 2011, 1:00 pm

Janissy wrote:
... my post ... was a comment on what I thought was going through Schroedinger's mind about Kanner, not a comment about Kanner's paper.

Sure, and I understand why that did not seem to be making sense for Poke.


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Janissy
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08 Mar 2011, 1:13 pm

Poke wrote:
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).


And now that I've read the paper, I think that it has everything to do with Kanner trying to figure out what was going on in the minds of autistic children. He was not merely cataloguing a set of behaviours so that they could be lumped to gether as a syndrome. He was using the behaviours as evidence of a type of thought which he did not understand. He was intuiting intelligence behind the behaviours rather than dismissing them as the random motions of people who couldn't think. This was a new approach.

Leejosepho corrrectly figured what I meant.

I correctly figured what Schroedinger meant.

Schroedinger correctly figured what Kanner meant.

And Kanner tried to figure what autistic children meant. But he couldn't. But in that paper it looks to me like he is trying, not just cataloguing behaviours.



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08 Mar 2011, 1:24 pm

Janissy wrote:
And now that I've read the paper, I think that it has everything to do with Kanner trying to figure out what was going on in the minds of autistic children.


Would you mind quoting the part(s) of Kanner's paper that show this?

Quote:
Leejosepho corrrectly figured what I meant.

I correctly figured what Schroedinger meant.

Schroedinger correctly figured what Kanner meant.


I'll accept the first, but the second is a massive assumption and the third, while reasonable sounding, is predicated on the second.

For the record, I think it's obvious that Schrödinger's statement has a more subtle meaning than the one you feel so confident in assigning to it.



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08 Mar 2011, 2:07 pm

Poke wrote:
Janissy wrote:
And now that I've read the paper, I think that it has everything to do with Kanner trying to figure out what was going on in the minds of autistic children.


Would you mind quoting the part(s) of Kanner's paper that show this?





On page 242 of the paper Kanner says:
"The outstanding 'pathognomonic' fundamental disorder is the children's inability to relate themselves in the ordinary way to people and situations from the beginning of life. Their parents referred to them as having always been 'self suffiecient'; 'like in a shell' (5 more parental quotes that say essentially the same thing which I ommitted-Janissy) This is not, as in schizophrenic children or adults, a departure from an initially present relationship; it is not a 'withdrawal from formerly existing participation. There is from the start an extreme autistic aloneness that whenever possible disregards, ignores, shuts out anything that comes to the child from the outside."

on page 246:
"The dread of change and incompleteness seems to be a major factor in the monotonous repetitiousness and the resulting limitation in the variety of spontaneous activity".

(italics are in the original paper).

Both these excerpts, especially the second one, show Kanner trying to figure out the mental processes that lead to outward behaviour.

In the first excerpt, the inner mental process he guesses at is an inability to relate themselves in an ordinary way to people and situations. The outward behaviour that demonstrates this inner process is disregarding, ignoring, shutting out anything that comes from the outside.

In the second excerpt, the inner mental process he guesses at is a dread of change and incompleteness. The outward behaviour demosntrating this inner process is repetitiousness and non-spontaneity.

How accurate or wrong his guesses at the inner mental processes were is something that gets debated a lot on WP. But I see in those excerpts an attempt to figure out why a child is doing something, not merely cataloguing that he is doing it.



Quote:
Quote:
Leejosepho corrrectly figured what I meant.

I correctly figured what Schroedinger meant.

Schroedinger correctly figured what Kanner meant.


I'll accept the first, but the second is a massive assumption and the third, while reasonable sounding, is predicated on the second.

For the record, I think it's obvious that Schrödinger's statement has a more subtle meaning than the one you feel so confident in assigning to it.
[/quote]

What do you think the more subtle meaning is? I'm not saying there isn't one. I'm wondering what your interpretation of his quote is.




I did a cut and paste of the original paper but it screwed up the width of the post and made it one of those posts where you have to scroll left and right so I took it out.



Poke
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08 Mar 2011, 2:28 pm

Janissy wrote:
"The outstanding 'pathognomonic' fundamental disorder is the children's inability to relate themselves in the ordinary way to people and situations from the beginning of life. Their parents referred to them as having always been 'self suffiecient'; 'like in a shell' (5 more parental quotes that say essentially the same thing which I ommitted-Janissy) This is not, as in schizophrenic children or adults, a departure from an initially present relationship; it is not a 'withdrawal from formerly existing participation. There is from the start an extreme autistic aloneness that whenever possible disregards, ignores, shuts out anything that comes to the child from the outside."

on page 246:
"The dread of change and incompleteness seems to be a major factor in the monotonous repetitiousness and the resulting limitation in the variety of spontaneous activity".

(italics are in the original paper).

Both these excerpts, especially the second one, show Kanner trying to figure out the mental processes that lead to outward behaviour.

In the first excerpt, the inner mental process he guesses at is an inability to relate themselves in an ordinary way to people and situations. The outward behaviour that demonstrates this inner process is disregarding, ignoring, shutting out anything that comes from the outside.

In the second excerpt, the inner mental process he guesses at is a dread of change and incompleteness. The outward behaviour demosntrating this inner process is repetitiousness and non-spontaneity.


When Kanner identifies this "inability to relate themselves", he isn't describing an "inner" mental process as such, but a general picture of how these children interact with their environments (as ascertained from the outside). This is his generalization, his identification of the lowest common denominator, of the parents' observations that follow, as well as his own observations.

The second excerpt does describe Kanner's trying to figure out what was going on in the minds of autistic children, but it's secondary to the gestalt of his paper, which is, as I said, an attempt at generalizing the external appearance/behavior of these children, as embodied by the first (and more central) excerpt you provided.



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08 Mar 2011, 4:04 pm

DandelionFireworks wrote:
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.


But Kanner identified the more severe cases. Asperger identified the milder ones.

Back then nobody would've looked at the cases at the most severe end and the most mild end and put them together (and neither would anyone unfamiliar with them today). In fact they would've probably saw them as opposites, taking the severest case as having nothing going on upstairs and the mildest case as "overflowing with brains".