What is Skilled Coping? Experts on Expertise

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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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Consciousness Studies
Issue number9-10
Pages (from-to)49-73
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

ID: 123612292