Curiosity and Zetetic Style in ADHD

Philosophical Psychology (forthcoming)
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Abstract

While research on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has traditionally focused on cognitive and behavioral deficits, there is increasing interest in exploring possible resources associated with the disorder. In this paper, we argue that the attention-patterns associated with ADHD can be understood as expressing an alternative style of inquiry, or “zetetic” style, characterized mainly by a lower barrier for becoming curious and engaging in inquiry, and a weaker disposition to regulate curiosity in response to the cognitive and practical costs associated with inquiry. Exploring this zetetic style from an epistemological perspective, we show that it is often epistemically rational and can be advantageous in important respects. We close by suggesting that the very aspects of the zetetic style that might at times render it disadvantageous from the point of view of individual subjects with ADHD, will often confer epistemic benefits to the social group that the subjects are part of.

Author Profiles

Somogy Varga
Aarhus University

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