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Barbara Montero

The Myth of Sudden Insight

2017-18 CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series

Thursday, January 25, 2018
6:00–8:00 p.m.
Davis Auditorium

Leaps of insight—wherein a significant idea or answer to a problem appears to materialize in a flash—are often prized more than the plodding effort that is part and parcel of bringing such ideas to fruition. But why is this? While acknowledging that we sometimes do experience “aha!” moments, Professor Montero questions the claim that these apparent epiphanies bound over intermediate steps of reasoning and investigates the sentiment that they are more important than the comparatively slow, arduous, conscious thought processes that invariably accompany them. 


Barbara Gail Montero (B.A. University of California at Berkeley, Ph.D. University of Chicago) is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York, at the College of Staten Island and the CUNY Graduate Center, where she is a member of the doctoral faculty of philosophy. She has received research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She is author of Thought in Action: Expertise and the Conscious Mind (Oxford University Press) and is an active collaborator with sports psychologists. Before her career as a philosophy professor, she was a professional ballet dancer. 

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