Thought in Action

Thought in Action : Expertise and the Conscious Mind

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How does thinking affect doing? There is a widely held view - both in academia and in the popular press - that thinking about what you are doing, as you are doing it, hinders performance. Once you have acquired the ability to putt a golf ball, play an arpeggio on the piano, or parallel-park, it is believed that reflecting on your actions leads to inaccuracies, blunders, and sometimes even utter paralysis. Experts, accordingly, don't need to try to do it; they just
do it. But is this true? After exploring some of the contemporary and historical manifestations of the idea that highly accomplished skills are automatic and effortless, Barbara Gail Montero develops a theory of expertise that emphasizes the role of the conscious mind in expert action. Along the way,
she dispels various mythical accounts of experts who proceed without any understanding of what guides their action and analyzes research in both philosophy and psychology that is taken to show that conscious control impedes well practiced skills. She also explores real-life examples of optimal performance - culled from sports, the performing arts, chess, nursing, medicine, the military and elsewhere - and draws from psychology, neuroscience, and literature to create a picture of expertise
according to which expert action generally is and ought to be thoughtful, effortful, and reflective.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 165 x 240 x 22mm | 580g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199596778
  • 9780199596775
  • 989,216

Table of contents

Introduction: What Can a Philosopher Tell you about Expertise? ; 1. 'Don't think, dear; just do' and Other Manifestations of the Just-do-it Principle ; 2. Just-Do-It versus Cognition-in-Action ; 3. What is an Expert? ; 4. Does Thinking Interfere with Doing? ; 5. Thinking Fast ; 6. Continuous Improvement ; 7. You Can't Try Too Hard ; 8. Effortlessness with Effort ; 9. The Pleasure of Movement and the Awareness of the Self ; 10. The Aesthetic Experience of Expert Movement ; 11. Intuition, Rationality, and Chess Expertise ; 12. Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, and the Meaning of Life ; Bibliography
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Review quote

Barbara Montero's book, Thought in Action: Expertise and the Conscious Mind, is a welcome investigation into expertise and the role of cognition in its expression. * Wayne Wu, Australasian Journal of Philosophy * This is an impressive book with ramifications that go far beyond aesthetics...Those who are interested in how arts performers perform expertly must read this book. It is groundbreaking, and it will change your lives since even if you do not agree you will have to deal with it. * Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism * Barbara Gail Montero's Thought in Action: Expertise and the Conscious Mind is a substantial contribution to our philosophical understanding of expertise, skill, and indeed the relationship between mind and body generally. Her views on expertise may well represent the next stage in the evolution of this concept. In what seems like a sea of contrary views of skilled practice and proficiency, Montero swims gracefully against the tide of much stubborn technical
and popular punditry according to which expertise is unmindful if not outright mindless. Both students and expertsin Montero's sense or any othershould find this book amply rewarding ... Overall, Montero's book is an impressive achievement, an insightful, often delightful read. I highly recommend it. * Jason Holt, Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Acadia University, Metapsychology: Online Reviews * Thought in Action is convincing in its overall argument that philosophers and psychologists are mistaken when they denigrate the usefulness of conscious thought to optimal expert performance. And it also provides a detailed discussion of kinds of expert performance - in dance, athletics, music, medicine, and chess - that will be of interest to those who work in philosophy of mind and psychology, aesthetics, and action theory, whatever their concern with
this overall thesis. * Joseph Mendola, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Online *
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About Barbara Gail Montero

Barbara Gail Montero (B.A. University of California at Berkeley, Ph.D. University of Chicago) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York. She has been awarded research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Her work focuses on one or the other of two different notions of body: body as the physical or material basis of everything, and body
as the moving, breathing, flesh and blood instrument that we use when we run, walk, or dance. Before entering academia, she was a professional ballet dancer.
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Rating details

8 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 38% (3)
4 38% (3)
3 12% (1)
2 12% (1)
1 0% (0)
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