# Just do it?

November 3, 2013
BARBARA GAIL MONTERO interviewed by Joe Gelonesi along with Richard Menary on The Philosopher’s Zone.

Famed choreographer George Balanchine was reputed to have said, “don’t think, dear: just do”. The idea that champion performers switch off their brains to achieve their best has taken hold in popular imagination. Just do it promises an existential zone where real players hit the heights whilst the rest shuffle to the back of the pack. We explore Expert action, a philosophical football punted between those for automatic responses and those who hear the whirring cogs.

→ go listen to Just Do It

Barbara was previously interviewed on Leading Minds, with David Brendel.

# The Myth of Just Do It

Barbara’s piece this week in the Philosopher’s Stone in New York Times:

OPINION   | June 09, 2013
The Myth of ‘Just Do It’
By BARBARA GAIL MONTERO

The idea that thinking interferes with doing is often taken for granted. But the realities at the highest levels of athletic and artistic performance are more complex.

→ go to The Myth of ‘Just Do It’

How well do you think this applies to expert action in mathematics? Go and post comments at the NYT…

Barbara was interviewed by Christie Nicholson at CBS News, Smart Planet, in the Pure Genius series:

CBS News, Smart Planet | June 28, 2013
Innovation / Pure Genius
Q&A: Barbara Montero, philosopher,
on the myth of ‘Just Do It’

Christie Nicholson interviews Barbara Gail Montero

There is a widely held view that thinking about one’s performance while performing ruins our ability to perform well. Many athletes say that once you’ve mastered the skill, one ought to let go of thinking and well, to quote Nike’s tag line, “Just do it.” Professional golfer Dave Hill said, “Golf is like sex. You can’t be thinking about the mechanics of the act while you are performing.”

I first heard that quote from Barbara Montero, associate professor of Philosophy at College of Staten Island and Graduate Center, City University of New York and author of a forthcoming book, Mind, Body, Movement: The Relevance of Consciousness to Expert Performance. (This is a working title, to be published by Oxford University Press.) Montero holds that thinking is not detrimental to successful expert performance. She describes the kind of thinking that might interfere but also the type of thinking that is actually necessary for an expert to improve upon his or her top performance.

SmartPlanet spoke with Montero, to hear more about the ‘just do it’ philosophy and why she feels it is misguided.

→ go to the interview

# New inconsistencies in infinite utilitarianism

• D. Fishkind, J. D. Hamkins, and B. Montero, “New inconsistencies in infinite utilitarianism,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 80, iss. 2, p. 178–190, 2002.
[Bibtex]
@article{FishkindHamkinsMontero2002:NewInconsistencies,
author = {Donniell Fishkind and Joel David Hamkins and Barbara Montero},
title = {New inconsistencies in infinite utilitarianism},
journal = {Australasian Journal of Philosophy},
year = {2002},
volume = {80},
number = {2},
pages = {178--190},
month = {},
note = {},
key = {},
annote = {},
url = {http://jdh.hamkins.org/newinconsistencies},
doi = {10.1093/ajp/80.2.178},
}

In the context of worlds with infinitely many bearers of utility, we argue that several collections of natural Utilitarian principles–principles which are certainly true in the classical finite Utilitarian context and which any Utilitarian would find appealing–are inconsistent.

Barbara Gail Montero

# With infinite utility, more needn’t be better

• J. D. Hamkins and B. Montero, “With infinite utility, more needn’t be better,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 78, iss. 2, p. 231–240, 2000.
[Bibtex]
@article{HamkinsMontero2000:MoreBetter,
author = {Joel David Hamkins and Barbara Montero},
title = {With infinite utility, more needn't be better},
journal = {Australasian Journal of Philosophy},
volume = {78},
number = {2},
year = {2000},
pages = {231--240},
url = {http://jdh.hamkins.org/infinite-utility-more-better},
doi = {10.1080/00048400012349511},
}

Barbara Gail Montero

# Utilitarianism in infinite worlds

• J. D. Hamkins and B. Montero, “Utilitarianism in infinite worlds,” Utilitas, vol. 12, iss. 1, p. 91–96, 2000.
[Bibtex]
@article{HamkinsMontero2000:InfiniteWorlds,
author = {Joel David Hamkins and Barbara Montero},
title = {Utilitarianism in infinite worlds},
journal = {Utilitas},
volume = {12},
number = {1},
year = {2000},
pages = {91--96},
url = {http://jdh.hamkins.org/infiniteworlds},
doi = {10.1017/S0953820800002648},
}`

Recently in the philosophical literature there has been some effort made to understand the proper application of the theory of utilitarianism to worlds in which there are infinitely many bearers of utility. Here, we point out that one of the best, most inclusive principles proposed to date contradicts fundamental utilitarian ideas, such as the idea that adding more utility makes a better world.

Barbara Gail Montero