The Common Origin of the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition and Shu-Ha-Ri

The similarity between the concept of Shu-Ha-Ri and the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition is well known. Both focus on a common theme – as one moves from being a novice at an activity to being an expert, the role of rules and algorithms in guiding our actions diminishes. They are instead replaced with an intuitive tacit understanding.

What is less commonly known is their common origin in the Chinese philosophical tradition of Taoism.  Hubert Dreyfus was deeply influenced by the work of Martin Heidegger who in turn was deeply influenced by Lao-Tzu. Shu-Ha-Ri is of course intimately connected with Zen Buddhism which is grounded in Taoist philosophy.

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