Ezio Di Nucci Mindlessness

ISBN 13: 9781443856140

Mindlessness

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9781443856140: Mindlessness

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.

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About the Author:

Ezio Di Nucci is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Universitat Duisburg-Essen, having previously taught at the University of Edinburgh (where he received his PhD in 2008), the University of Stirling and University College Dublin. On top of many journal articles, he has published two other books: Content, Consciousness, and Perception (2006, with Conor McHugh) and Mind Out of Action (2008).

Review:

"This book offers a fascinating philosophical analysis of action that comes to grips with the many forms of mindlessness - including habits, priming, and intuition. Di Nucci's insights, grounded in careful analysis and insightful research examples, reconcile intentional action control with the broad evidence of automatic mindlessness. This book will be of interest to philosophers and to the philosophy student in all of us." -Professor Wendy Wood, Provost Professor of Psychology and Business, University of Southern California "Mindlessness is a highly readable and thought-provoking examination of automatic behavior, including priming, habits, and expertly executed skills. It successfully situates two decades of psychological research on automaticity into a larger philosophical debate about intentional action and free will. Di Nucci also contributes to the psychological literature through a careful consideration of the empirical data on automatic behavior and articulately suggests how to incorporate these findings into our understanding of human action. This book is full of well-chosen examples both from empirical psychology and everyday life. Mindlessness asks tough questions that are both contemporary and timeless - an insightful book." -Professor Peter Gollwitzer, Professor of Psychology at New York University and Universitat Konstanz

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Ezio Di Nucci
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