The Ambiguous Knowledge of Mètis: Enter the Street-Smart Expert

  • W. David HolfordEmail author


The ambiguous nature of mètis is first presented across the embodiment of the Sophists’ lifestyle and thinking, who, in stark contrast to Plato and Aristotle, rejected the notion of knowledge as truth and categorical abstractions. In contrast to the mind–body split, mètis as practiced by the Sophists contributed to the development of rhetoric as an art learned and performed by and with the body as well as the mind. Mètis is further elaborated across an entanglement of explicit, tacit, individual, and collective dimensions. Mindfulness plays a key role in both mètis’ acquisition and deployment. As an ambiguous expertise, it is called upon to address unexpected emergencies, which are in themselves dynamic and ambiguous. A particularly telling example of mètis is presented across the daring landing of US Airways Flight 1549 by Captain “Sully” Sullenberger and his crew on the Hudson River in January of 2009. Finally, the chapter concludes with the non-coincidental observation of how mètis’ presence and deployment has been concurrent with democratic social interactions.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Quebec at MontrealMontrealCanada

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