[SydPhil] Schedule Update: UOW Philosophy Seminar

michael kirchhoff michael.david.kirchhoff at gmail.com
Mon Aug 3 14:12:50 AEST 2015

Please note that the UOW Philosophy Seminar will be at 2.30pm this
Wednesday, not 3.30pm as originally advertised. Here are the new and
updated details:

When: Wednesday 5 August
Time: 2:30 – 4:00pm
Where: 21.114 (Early Start Building 21, room 114)
Contact: Michael Kirchhoff (kirchhof at uow.edu.au)

Speaker: Dr. Max Cappuccio

Title: “What if Dreyfus is right about skills? Choking effect and absorbed

Abstract: Many believe that conscious control is detrimental to the
performances of professional athletes. According to an influential view in
sport psychology (Beilock, Carr), choking occurs during competitions
because this is exactly when, under the pressure of anxiety, expert
athletes compulsively monitor the component processes of their own actions:
the fluidity of the automatized motor routines is not disrupted by
cognitive overload or distraction, but by the tendency to explicitly
analyze one’s own movements. This view nicely matches the theory of
absorbed coping in philosophy of mind (Dreyfus, Kelly), which maintains
that “mindlessness” is the mark of expertise, and that flexibly adaptive
behaviors are more effective when they are automatic, pre-reflective, and
without conscious control. Today this model is under attack from multiple
directions: various converging lines of experimental research and
theoretical investigation argue that, even if conscious control is not
always necessary to expert performance, most often it offers a great help.
My presentation will review the conceptual and empirical validity of the
dominant models of choking, discussing their philosophical assumptions. The
paradox hidden in the concept of choking is a resilient one: on the one
hand, an athlete performing with “automatic pilot” cannot be blind to what
goes on around and inside her/him; on the other hand, explicit attention is
likely disturb even more the normal fluidity of action.


*Dr. Michael D. Kirchhoff *
Lecturer in Philosophy
School of Humanities and Social Enquiry
Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts
University of Wollongong NSW 2522
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