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Thought in ActionExpertise and the Conscious Mind$
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Barbara Gail Montero

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199596775

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596775.001.0001

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“Don’t think, dear; just do” and Other Manifestations of the Just-do-it Principle

“Don’t think, dear; just do” and Other Manifestations of the Just-do-it Principle

(p.14) 1 “Don’t think, dear; just do” and Other Manifestations of the Just-do-it Principle
Thought in Action

Barbara Gail Montero

Oxford University Press

There is a widely held view that thinking about what you are doing, as you are doing it, hinders performance. Once you have acquired a skill—in sports, dance, music, and elsewhere—attention to what you are doing is seen as unnecessary and even harmful. Echoing a theme that one finds in a number of diverse intellectual traditions, the philosopher David Velleman tells us that, after the requisite training, experts act “without deliberate intention or effort,” or as the psychologist Sian Beilock puts it, experts should “just do it.” But is this true? The aim of this chapter is neither to bury nor even less to praise this sort of “just-do-it” attitude but rather to illustrate various contemporary manifestations of the principle in popular culture, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, as well as some of its historical antecedents in Romanticism, Zen Buddhism, and Taoism.

Keywords:   just-do-it, Velleman, Beilock, skill, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Romanticism, experts, sports, dance, music

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