The Centipede was happy quite
Until the toad in fun
Said, Pray which leg comes after which?
This wrought her mind to such a pitch
She lay distracted in a ditch
Considering how to run
THE CENTIPEDE STORY is disturbing. We usually like to think that thinking and understanding are, by definition, good things to do, and that, in particular, they are useful in learning. But the centipede came to grief by thinking about her own actions. Would the same thing happen to us? Does this mean we should give up thinking about ourselves? In fact, in our "rational" culture, the notion that thinking impedes action, even that thinking impedes learning, is quite prevalent. It is our usual way of talking about learning to ride a bicycle: "Keep trying -- one day you'll just 'get it' " is standard parental advice to children struggling with the twowheeler.
Many philosophers have developed the idea that some knowledge