Choking RECtified: embodied expertise beyond Dreyfus



Publication Details

Hutto, D. D. and Sanchez-Garcia, R. (2015). Choking RECtified: embodied expertise beyond Dreyfus. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 14 (2), 309-331.


On a Dreyfusian account performers choke when they reflect upon and interfere with established routines of purely embodied expertise. This basic explanation of choking remains popular even today and apparently enjoys empirical support. Its driving insight can be understood through the lens of diverse philosophical visions of the embodied basis of expertise. These range from accounts of embodied cognition that are ultra conservative with respect to representational theories of cognition to those that are more radically embodied. This paper provides an account of the acquisition of embodied expertise, and explanation of the choking effect, from the most radically enactive, embodied perspective, spelling out some of its practical implications and addressing some possible philosophical challenges. Specifically, we propose: (i) an explanation of how skills can be acquired on the basis of ecological dynamics; and (ii) a non-linear pedagogy that takes into account how contentful representations might scaffold skill acquisition from a radically enactive perspective.

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