Authors
Carolyn Dicey Jennings
University of California, Merced
Abstract
Peak human performance—whether of Olympic athletes, Nobel prize winners, or you cooking the best dish you’ve ever made—depends on skill. Skill is at the heart of what it means to excel. Yet, the fixity of skilled behavior can sometimes make it seem a lower-level activity, more akin to the movements of an invertebrate or a machine. Peak performance in elite athletes is often described, for example, as “automatic” by those athletes: “The most frequent response from participants (eight athletes and one coach) when describing the execution of a peak performance was the automatic execution of performance” (Anderson et al. 2014). While the automaticity of skilled behavior is widely acknowledged, some worry that too much automaticity in skill would challenge its ability to exhibit human excellence. And so two camps have developed: those who focus on the automaticity of skilled behavior, the “habitualists,” and those who focus on the higher-level cognition behind peak performance, the “intellectualists.” We take a different tack. We argue that skilled behavior weaves together automaticity and higher-level cognition, which we call “pluralism.” That is, we argue that automaticity and higher-level cognition are both normal features of skilled behavior that benefit skilled behavior. This view is hinted at in other quotes about automaticity in skill—while expert gamers describe themselves as “playing with” automaticity (Taylor and Elam 2018), expert musicians are said to balance automaticity with creativity through performance cues: “Performance cues allow the musician to attend to some aspects of the performance while allowing others to be executed automatically” (Chaffin and Logan 2006). We describe in this paper three ways that higher-level cognition and automaticity are woven together. The first two, level pluralism and synchronic pluralism, are described in other papers, albeit under different cover. We take our contribution to be both distinguishing the three forms and contributing the third, diachronic pluralism. In fact, we find that diachronic pluralism presents the strongest case against habitualism and intellectualism, especially when considered through the example of strategic automaticity. In each case of pluralism, we use research on the presence or absence of attention (e.g., in mind wandering) to explore the presence or absence of higher-level cognition in skilled behavior.
Keywords skill  action  attention  mind-wandering  habitualism  intellectualism  automatic  pluralism  strategic automaticity
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1007/s13164-021-00529-6
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,848
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Acquisition of Cognitive Skill.John R. Anderson - 1982 - Psychological Review 89 (4):369-406.
The Return of the Myth of the Mental.Hubert L. Dreyfus - 2007 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (4):352 – 365.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Consciousness Without Attention.Carolyn Dicey Jennings - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (2):276--295.
Does Bodily Awareness Interfere with Highly Skilled Movement?Barbara Montero - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (2):105 – 122.
The Subject of Attention.Carolyn Dicey Jennings - 2012 - Synthese 189 (3):535-554.
Skilled Activity and the Causal Theory of Action.Randolph Clarke - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (3):523-550.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-06-24

Total views
196 ( #50,544 of 2,433,036 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
44 ( #17,614 of 2,433,036 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes