[MaFLa] invitation to a talk on`They've lost control: Reflections on Skill`by Ellen Fridland - 29 October, 5.30 PM

Krisztina Biber Biberk at ceu.hu
Fri Oct 25 17:11:54 CEST 2013

The CEU Department of Philosophy cordially invites you to a talk 
(as part of its Departmental Colloquium series)
Ellen Fridland  (Humboldt Universitat, Berlin)
`They've lost control: Reflections on Skill`

Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 5.30 PM, Zrinyi 14, Room 412

“learning to play the piano is learning to reason with your muscles”
                        --Jeremy Denk  

In this talk, I submit that it is the controlled part of skilled
action; that is, that part of an action that accounts for the exact,
nuanced ways in which a skilled performer modifies, adjusts and guides
her performance for which we must account, if we are to have an
adequate, philosophical account of skill. My claim is that control is at
the heart of skilled action because the particular way in which a skill
is instantiated is precisely what defines how skillful that action is. 
That is, the level of skill that one possesses is in direct proportion
to the amount of control that one exerts over the performance of one’s
own actions.  Control is what constitutes the difference between a gold
medal performance and a bronze medal one, and between the elite athlete
and the novice one.  It is control that is learned through practice and
control that allows us to gasp at the beauty, elegance, and perfection
of a skilled performance.
One may be unsurprised to learn that when it comes to a philosophical
account of skill, both Intellectualists of the Stanley variety and
Anti-intellectualists of the Dreyfus sort forego a satisfactory account
of control.  One may be surprised, however, to learn that both Stanley
and Dreyfus forgo such an account for precisely the same reason: each
reduce control to a brute, passive, unintelligent, automatic process,
which then prevents them from producing a substantive account of how
such processes are flexible, manipulable, subject to learning and
improvement, responsive to intentional contents at the personal-level,
and holistically integrated with both cognitive and motor states. 
Stanley and Dreyfus make the same mistake for very different reasons,
but in making it, they both lose control. In this talk, I will review
the reasons for their mistakes and illustrate what kinds of control both
leave out.
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