1 Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, Faculty of Humanities, Københavns Universitet2 Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, Faculty of Humanities, Københavns Universitet
Experts on Expertise
The paper uses a phenomenological analysis of interviews with a professional string quartet to critique the notion of ‘skilled coping’ as used by Hubert Dreyfus. According to Dreyfus, skilled coping is a way of being and acting in which one is immersed in one’s actions such that one is not thinking or reflecting. He uses examples from various experts, such a chess-, baseball-, and soccer players, to illustrate this. I argue that his account suffers from a reductive dualism between coping and reflection and further from a lack of clarity. I use my work with the string quartet to illustrate that so-called skilled coping, rather than a distinct phenomenon, is a series of connected mental phenomena that span highly reflective stances as well as trance-like states of absorption. Therefore, I point out that Dreyfus’s problematic usage in fact prevents us from appreciating the phenomenological complexity of the absorption of experts.
Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2014, Vol 21, Issue 9-10, p. 49-73