Victorian mental science led both scientists and nonscientists to consider whether between reason and emotion, thinking and feeling there exists a third type of thought, "thinking without thinking," that can serve as an epistemological alternative to reasoned thought. Drawing on physiological theories of mental reflex action, mid-nineteenth-century scientists made the startling claim that the mind performs some of its most complicated, innovative, and creative work mechanically. In probing the realities, possibilities, and dangers of nondeliberate thought, Victorian novelists turned to the emphasis on "experience" in medical practice as a possible model for integrating tacit knowledge into a theory of learning and action. Today, bolstered by work in cognitive science on the central role of nondeliberate thought in complex as well as everyday decisions, the concept of "thinking without thinking" is again gaining recognition in terms that echo the nineteenth-century insistence on "unconscious cerebration" as a positive and pragmatic problem-solving mode.


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pp. 277-297
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