The Myth of ‘Just do it’: Thought and Effort in Expert Action preface

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The Gymnasium of the Mind

I have argued that expert chess players attend to their games and deliberate, though not over everything. The actions that result not out of deliberation are intuitive, in the sense that they are based on experiences of similar situations in the past. But such intuitions, I argued, are rational (minimally, they are seen as good moves) and conceptual (for example, they may be conceptualized as good moves, and may contain spatial conceptual content). Of course, as with other areas of expertise, a Grandmaster chess player could approach a game as if it were a flight of stairs to surmount, and still beat most of us mere mortals – but, if my arguments are correct, this is not the approach exemplified in the best games. Chess (even lightning chess, when played at a high level), I conclude, , in no way supports the idea that experts just do it, but rather is indeed, as has oft been said, “the gymnasium of the mind”.

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