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Thinking is overrated: golfers perform best when distracted and under pressure; firefighters make the right calls without a clue as to why; and you are yourself ill advised to look at your steps as you go down the stairs, or to try and remember your pin number before typing it in. Just do it, mindlessly. Both empirical psychologists and the common man have long worked out that thinking is often a bad idea, but philosophers still hang on to an intellectualist picture of human action. This book challenges that picture and calls on philosophers to wake up to the power of mindlessness: it is our habits, skills and conventions that help us cope with a world way too diverse for us to hope to always reinterpret it. The book presents the empirical evidence that has been accumulating over the last few decades and offers a philosophical analysis of mindless phenomena such as habits, skilled activity, automatic actions, emotional and spontaneous reactions and social conventions, arguing that traditional philosophical theories of action should be revised to do justice to this forgotten but important part of our lives: when we act mindlessly, we are free and fully rational even though we neither deliberate nor are aware of what we are doing.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNewcastle-upon-Tyne
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages205
ISBN (Print)978-1-4438-4658-5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ID: 136813350