Getting to grips with skillful coping (Genki Uemura, Okayama University)
Abstract: In a series of papers, Hubert L. Dreyfus presents a phenomenological account of human absorbed actions or, in his own words, skillful coping. There is no ambiguity concerning his negative aim here; his target has always been (what he calls) representationalism. The situation is different, however, when it comes to positive views of him. As Zahavi (2013) points out, Dreyfus holds views that do not seem compatible: How can he talk about phenomenology of skillful coping, while claiming that an agent is mindless in engaging with a skillful coping? Against such backdrop, the present talk aims at presenting a different take on the phenomenology of skillful coping by starting from (what I take to be) a plain fact: Despite their elusiveness, we can and do look back on and talk about our past skillful coping. True, such retrospection may sometimes be mistaken. It seems too much to say, however, that it always deceives us. Rather, just like memories in general, the recollection of our own skillful coping is reliable enough to serve as a (defeasible) source of our self-knowledge. Then, the question would be how such a recollection is possible. A plausible, straightforward answer seems to be: In looking back on our past skillful coping, we remember our experience of it, which has given us a (defeasible) reason to describe it in such and such way. Following this idea, I will propose an account of (our experience of) skillful coping which, against Dreyfus, make use of the notion of representational contents and yet accommodates some insights from him.
Bio: Genki Uemura is Associate Professor at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Okayama University, Japan. He has been working on classical phenomenology (Husserl, early realist phenomenology, and the opposition between them) and phenomenological approaches to some topics from contemporary philosophy (metaphysics, philosophy of perception, philosophy of action, and others).