Mindfulness and mindlessness in performance

Publication Details

Gallagher, S. 2018. Mindfulness and mindlessness in performance. The Italian Journal of Cognitive Sciences 5 (1): 5-18


I argue that, contra Dreyfus's theory of expert performance and behaviorist interpretations of enactivism, action is not mindless. Rather, empirical and phenomenological studies of athletics, dance and musical performance provide evidence that performance involves specific forms of mindfulness. Philosophically, these issues are addressed in the debate between Dreyfus and McDowell about the very nature of mind. In this paper I’ll argue that the phenomenology of performance shows that enactivist conceptions of perception and action are neither behaviorist nor overly cognitivist. Action can involve aspects of mindfulness that do not interrupt embodied performance.

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