Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 175–194 | Cite as

Intuitions without concepts lose the game: mindedness in the art of chess

Article

Abstract

To gain insight into human nature philosophers often discuss the inferior performance that results from deficits such as blindsight or amnesia. Less often do they look at superior abilities. A notable exception is Herbert Dreyfus who has developed a theory of expertise according to which expert action generally proceeds automatically and unreflectively. We address one of Dreyfus’s primary examples of expertise: chess. At first glance, chess would seem an obvious counterexample to Dreyfus’s view since, clearly, chess experts are engaged in deep strategic thought. However, Dreyfus’s argument is subtle. He accepts that analysis and deliberation play a role in chess, yet he thinks that all such thought is predicated on intuitive, arational expert perception, and action. We argue that even the so-called “intuitive” aspect of chess is rational through and through.

Keywords

Chess Rationality Intuition Skill Herbert Dreyfus John McDowell Mind Reflection Deliberation Action 

References

  1. Adler, C. H. (2007). “Sports-related task-specific dystonia: The yips”, in: Stacy, M.A. Handbook of Dystonia. New York: Informa Healthcare.Google Scholar
  2. Baddeley, A. D., & Hitch, G. J. L. (1974). Working Memory. In G. A. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation: advances in research and theory (Vol. 8, pp. 47–89). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  3. Beilock, S. (2010). Choke: what the secrets of the brain reveal about getting it right when you have to. New York: Simon and Shuster.Google Scholar
  4. Beilock, S. L., & Gray, R. (2007). Why do athletes “choke” under pressure. In G. Tenenbaum & R. C. Eklund (Eds.), Handbook of sport psychology (3rd ed., pp. 425–444). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Beilock, S., Carr, Beilock, S. L., & Carr, T. H. (2001). On the fragility of skilled performance: What governs choking under pressure? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130, 701–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Binet, A. (1966/1893) Mnemonic Virtuosity: A Study of Chess Players. Genet Psychol Monogr, 74(1), 127–62.Google Scholar
  7. Chabris, C. F., & Hearst, E. S. (2003). Visualization, pattern recognition, and forward search: effects of playing speed and sight of the position on Grandmaster Chess Errors. Cognitive Science, 27, 637–648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Charness, N. (1981). Search in chess: age and skill differences. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 7(2), 467–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chase, W., & Simon, H. (1973). The mind's eye in chess. In W. Chase (Ed.), Visual Information Processing (pp. 215–281). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  10. de Groot, A. (1978). Thought and choice in chess. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  11. de Groot, A., & Gobet, F. (1996). Perception and memory in chess: studies in the heuristics of the professional eye. Assen: Van Gorcum.Google Scholar
  12. DeCaro, M.S., & Beilock, S.L. (2010). The benefits and perils of attentional control. In M. Csikszentmihalyi and B. Bruya (Eds.). Effortless Attention: A New Perspective in the Cognitive Science of Attention and Action. MIT PressGoogle Scholar
  13. Dreyfus, H. L. (2005). Overcoming the myth of the mental: how philosophers can profit from the phenomenology of everyday expertise. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 79, 47–63.Google Scholar
  14. Dreyfus, H. L. (2007a). The return of myth of the mental. Inquiry, 50(4), 352–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dreyfus, H. L. (2007b). Response to McDowell. Inquiry, 50(4), 371–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dreyfus, H. L., & Dreyfus, S. E. (1986). Mind over machine: the power of intuition and expertise in the era of the computer. New York: The Free.Google Scholar
  17. Dreyfus, H. L., & Dreyfus, S. E. (2004). The ethical implications of the five-stage skill-acquisition model. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 24, 251–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gobet, F., & Simon, H. A. (1996). The roles of recognition processes and look-ahead search in time-constrained expert problem solving: evidence from grand-master-level chess. Psychological Science, 7, 52–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hartmann (2008), “Gary Kasparov Is a Cyborg; or What ChessBase Teaches Us About Technology,” in Hale, B. (ed), Philosophy Looks at Chess, (Open Court).Google Scholar
  20. Holding, D. H., & Reynolds, R. I. (1982). Recall or evaluation of chess positions as Determinants of Chess Skill. Memory & Cognition, 10, 237–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jackson, R., & Beilock, S. L. (2008), “Attention and performance,”in D. Farrow, J. Baker, and C. MacMahon (Eds.), Developing elite sports performers: Lessons from theory and practice, (pp.104–118) (Routledge).Google Scholar
  22. James, W. (1892/2001), Psychology, the Briefer Course, (Toronto: Dover).Google Scholar
  23. Lassiter, G. D. (2000). The relative contributions of recognition and search-evaluation processes to high-level chess performance: comment on Gobet and Simon. Psychological Science, 11, 172–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McDowell, J. (1994). Mind and world. Cambridge: Cambridge Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  25. McDowell, J. (2007a). What myth? Inquiry, 50(4), 338–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McDowell, J. (2007b). Response to Dreyfus. Inquiry, 50(4), 366–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Montero, B. (2010). Does bodily awareness interfere with highly skilled movement? Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy, 53(2), 105–122.Google Scholar
  28. Montero, B. (forthcoming). A Dancer Reflects. In J. Schear (Ed.), Mind, Reason and Beingin-the-World: The McDowell-Dreyfus Debate (Routledge, forthcoming 2011).Google Scholar
  29. Rachels, S. (2008), “The Reviled Art,” in Hale, B. (ed), Philosophy Looks at Chess, (Open Court).Google Scholar
  30. Rietveld, E. (2010). McDowell and Dreyfus on Unreflective Action. Inquiry, 53(2), 183–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Saariluoma, P. (1990). Appreciation and Restructuring in Chess Player's Problem Solving. In K. J. Gilhooly, M. T. G. Keane, R. H. Lgie, & G. Erdos (Eds.), Lines of Thinking, vol. 2. London: Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. Saariluoma, P., & Kalakoski, V. (1998). Skilled imagery and long-term working memory. The American Journal of Psychology, 110, 177–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Van Harreveld, F., Wagenmakers, E., & van der Mass, H. L. J. (2007). The effects of time pressure on chess skill: an investigation to fast and slow processes underlying expert performance. Psychological Research, 71, 591–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wilson, T., & Schooler, J. (1991). Thinking too much: introspection can reduce the quality of preferences and decisions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60(2), 181–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations