Julia Annas is one of the few modern writers on virtue that has attempted to recover the ancient idea that virtues are similar to skills. In doing so, she is arguing for a particular account of virtue, one in which the intellectual structure of virtue is analogous to the intellectual structure of practical skills. The main benefit of this skill model of virtue is that it can ground a plausible account of the moral epistemology of virtue. This benefit, though, (...) is only available to some accounts of virtue. Annas claims that Aristotle rejects this skill model of virtue, and so the model of virtues as a skill that Annas endorses for the modern virtue theory is Socratic.This paper argues that while Aristotle rejects the Socratic model of virtue as a skill, he does not reject the model of virtue as a skill altogether. Annas has mischaracterized Aristotle’s position on the skill model, because she has not recognized that Aristotle endorses a different account of the structure of skill than the one put forth by Socrates. In addition, recent research on expertise provides an account of skills very much at odds with the description of skills offered by Annas, but similar to the account endorsed by Aristotle.Contrary to Annas, not only is the skill model of virtue compatible with a neo-Aristotelian account of virtue, but it also appears that basing a skill model of virtue on a Socratic account of virtue is likely to prove unsuccessful. (shrink)
Art is universal across cultures. Yet, it is energetically expensive. Why do humans make and contemplate it? This paper advances a thesis about the psychological origins of perceptual art. First, it delineates the aspects of art that need explaining: not just why it is attractive, but why fine execution and form—which have to do with how the attraction is achieved—matter over and above attractiveness. Second, it states certain constraints: we need to explain pleasure in contemplation, not value extracted from the (...) object by activities other than contemplation. The theory is that aesthetic pleasure is a motivation for learning skills. Two forms of pleasure are postulated. The first accompanies the spontaneous activity necessary for learning a more or less universal basic level of skill. The second accompanies highly skilled activity. This second kind of pleasure is specific to art as such. (shrink)
Practical wisdom is the intellectual virtue that enables a person to make reliably good decisions about how, all-things-considered, to live. As such, it is a lofty and important ideal to strive for. It is precisely this loftiness and importance that gives rise to important questions about wisdom: Can real people develop it? If so, how? What is the nature of wisdom as it manifests itself in real people? I argue that we can make headway answering these questions by modeling wisdom (...) on expert skill. Presenting the main argument for this expert skill model of wisdom is the focus of this paper. More specifically, I’ll argue that wisdom is primarily the same kind of epistemic achievement as expert decision-making skill in areas such as firefighting. Acknowledging this helps us see that, and how, real people can develop wisdom. It also helps to resolve philosophical debates about the nature of wisdom. For example, philosophers, including those who think virtue should be modeled on skills, disagree about the extent to which wise people make decisions using intuitions or principled deliberation and reflection. The expert skill model resolves this debate by showing that wisdom includes substantial intuitive and deliberative and reflective abilities. (shrink)
This study takes an interest in instructions and instructed actions in the context of manual skills. The analysis focuses on a video recorded episode where a teacher demonstrates how to crochet chain stitches, requests a group of students to reproduce her actions, and then repeatedly corrects the attempts of one of the students. The initial request, and the students’ responses to it, could be seen as preliminary to the series of corrective sequences that come next: the request and the following (...) attempts make it possible for the teacher to launch instructional sequences specifically designed and addressed to the students who need further guidance. In the interaction between the teacher and the novice student, the reasoned character of the instructed actions is not explained so much as installed and tuned. The materiality of the project makes it possible for the two parties to methodically and meticulously adjust their actions in accordance with each other, and towards the gradual realization of the aimed-for results. In connection to this, a number of issues pertaining to the reproducibility and recognizability of manual skills are raised: how instructions-in-interaction orient towards the progression of the skill rather than the interaction itself; how attempts by and mistakes of the instructed party provide grounds for further instruction; and, consequently, how instructions in the form of corrections build on the instructor’s continuous assessments of the instructed actions. (shrink)
We examine the investment skill of socially responsible investment (SRI) fund managers. Prior studies use the ‘alpha’ from standard asset pricing models as a proxy for management skill. However, implicit in the use of such models is that managers operate under no investment constraints. In the SRI context, this is patently false and can lead to biased alpha estimates and false conclusions about the existence of skill. We introduce a novel three-factor Fama–French asset-pricing model with the aim (...) of estimating alpha more accurately and hence investment skill, without bias. This model excludes SRI-prohibited industries such as defense, alcohol, tobacco and gambling in the construction of the Fama–French market, value and size risk factors. We show that the exclusion of the SRI-prohibited industries leads to subtle and complex changes to the risk factors that drive SRI returns. When we re-estimate alpha using the new model we find, in contrast to the conventional Fama–French model, evidence of statistically and economically significant alpha. Furthermore, the risk loadings on the new risk factors are similar to those of the original Fama–French model suggesting that changes in risk loadings are not responsible for the finding of significant skill. (shrink)
This paper posits that ethical leadership increases important organizational and individual outcomes by reducing politics in the workplace. Specifically, we propose that perceptions of organizational politics serve as a mechanism through which ethical leadership affects outcomes. We further argue that the modeled relationships are moderated by political skill. By means of data from 136 matched pairs of supervisors and subordinates employed by a state agency in the southern US, we found support for our predictions. Specifically, we found that perceptions (...) of organizational politics fully mediated the relationship between perceptions of ethical leadership and helping and promotability ratings. In addition, political skill was found to moderate the direct and indirect effects. (shrink)
Previous empirical studies have shown that perceptions of organizational politics are negatively related to individuals’ affective commitment. The key contribution of this study was that it found the interactive moderating effects of political skill and quality of leader–member exchange (LMX) on the relationship between perceptions of organizational politics and affective commitment. Our results indicated that politics perception affective commitment relationship was weaker when both political skill and quality of LMX are high. When only political skill is high (...) and the quality of LMX is low, or LMX quality is high but political skill is low, the negative relationship between politics perception and affective commitment was not mitigated. Limitations and implications for future research are discussed. (shrink)
This paper discusses the social effects resulting from the transfer of knowledge and skill both in the spheres of production and machine design. Relevant design determinants and their impact on technological developments are discussed within the theoretical framework of industrial cultures. Two types of skill transfer are analysed in connection with different production philosophies — one more Tayloristic, the other more workshop-oriented. Finally, the paper discusses the relation of both philosophies to the requirements of future production concepts.
Previous accounts of cognitive skill acquisition have demonstrated how procedural knowledge can be obtained and transformed over time into skilled task performance. This article focuses on a complementary aspect of skill acquisition, namely the integration and reuse of previously known component skills. The article posits that, in addition to mechanisms that proceduralize knowledge into more efficient forms, skill acquisition requires tight integration of newly acquired knowledge and previously learned knowledge. Skill acquisition also benefits from reuse of (...) existing knowledge across disparate task domains, relying on indexicals to reference and share necessary information across knowledge components. To demonstrate these ideas, the article proposes a computational model of skill acquisition from instructions focused on integration and reuse, and applies this model to account for behavior across seven task domains. (shrink)
Connie Missimer (1990) challenges what she calls the Character View, according to which critical thinking involves both skill and character, and argues for a rival conception-the Skill View-according to which critical thinking is a matter of skill alone. In this paper I criticize the Skill View and defend the Character View from Missimer's critical arguments.
I start with a brief assessment of the implications of Sterelny’s anti-individualist, anti-internalist apprentice learning model for a more historical and interdisciplinary cognitive science. In a selective response I then focus on two core features of his constructive account: collaboration and skill. While affirming the centrality of joint action and decision making, I raise some concerns about the fragility of the conditions under which collaborative cognition brings benefits. I then assess Sterelny’s view of skill acquisition and performance, which (...) runs counter to dominant theories that stress the automaticity of skill. I suggest that it may still overestimate the need for and ability of experts to decompose and represent the elements of their own practical knowledge. (shrink)
Acquisition of complex skills is a universal feature of human behavior that has been conceptualized as a process that starts with intense resource dependency, requires effortful cognitive control, and ends in relative automaticity on the multi-faceted task. The present study examined the effects of different theoretically-based training strategies on cortical recruitment during acquisition of complex videogame skills. Seventy-five participants were recruited and assigned to one of three training groups: Fixed Emphasis Training (FET), in which participants practiced the game, Hybrid Variable (...) Priority Training (HVT), in which participants practiced using a combination of part-task training and variable priority training, or a Control group that received limited game play. After 30 hours of training, game data indicated a significant advantage for the two training groups relative to the control group. The HVT group demonstrated enhanced benefits of training, as indexed by an improvement in overall game score and a reduction in cortical recruitment post-training. Specifically, while both groups demonstrated a significant reduction of activation in attentional control areas, namely the right middle frontal gyrus, right superior frontal gyrus, and the ventral medial prefrontal cortex, participants in the control group continued to engage these areas post-training, suggesting a sustained reliance on attentional regions during challenging task demands. The HVT group showed a further reduction in neural resources post-training compared to the FET group in these cognitive control regions, along with reduced activation in the motor and sensory cortices and the posteromedial cortex. Findings suggest that training, specifically one that emphasizes cognitive flexibility can reduce the attentional demands of a complex cognitive task, along with reduced reliance on the motor network. (shrink)
in Jeremy McKenna (ed), At the Boundaries of Cricket, to be published in 2007 as a special issue of the journal Sport in Society and as a book in the series Sport in the Global Society (Taylor and Francis).
The necessity and opportunity for face-to-face contact with other colleagues is being increasingly reduced as a result of factory automation (FA) or office automation (OA). This means that human functions which are a result of human contact and relationships are substituted for by the function of machine systems. This “transfer of relations” from the human “system” to the machine system causes isolation of the individual in the process of work. This chapter considers some reasons for “isolation” with particular reference to (...) the computerisation of production systems. The paper addresses the serious consequences for the environmental situation in Japan and the fabric of Japanese society. (shrink)