Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

The Significance of Habit

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Journal of Moral Philosophy

Analysis of the concept of habit has been relatively neglected in the contemporary analytic literature. This paper is an attempt to rectify this lack. The strategy begins with a description of some paradigm cases of habit which are used to derive five features as the basis for an explicative definition. It is argued that habits are social, acquired through repetition, enduring, environmentally activated, and automatic. The enduring nature of habits is captured by their being dispositions of a certain sort. This is a realist account of habits insofar as the dispositions put forward must fit into some recognizable underlying system – in the case of humans a biological system – to fill the role as set out by the definition. This role is wide-ranging; in addition to the familiar cases of habitual behavior, habitual activities also include thinking, perceiving, feeling, and willing.

Affiliations: 1: Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Moral Philosophy & Applied Ethics, Plunkett Centre for Ethics, Australian Catholic University (ACU),


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Aquinas Thomas. Summa Theologica , Part ii.
2. Aristotle,, Nicomachean Ethics ( Taylor C. (Trans). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).
3. Beckett Samuel. Waiting for Godot (London: Faber and Faber, 1965).
4. Bergson Henri. Matter and Memory (New York: Doubleday, 1959).
5. Boesch Christophe. ‘"Teaching among Wild Chimpanzees’", Animal Behaviour , Vol 41 (1991), pp. 53032.
6. Carlisle Clare. On Habit (Thinking in Action) (London: Routledge, 2014).
7. Caro Timothy M., & Hauser M.D. ‘"Is there teaching in nonhuman animals?’" The Quarterly Review of Biology ,Vol 67 (1992), pp. 151174.
8. Csibra G., & Gergely G. ‘"Natural Pedagogy’", Trends in Cognitive Sciences , Vol 13 (2009), pp. 14853.
9. Dewey John. Human Nature and Conduct: An introduction to Social Psychology (New York: Cosimo, 1922/2007).
10. Doidge Norman. The Brain’s Way of Healing: Stories of Remarkable Recoveries and Discoveries (London: Penguin, 2015).
11. James William. The Principles of Psychology . Vol Vol 1 (New York: Henry Holt, 1890).
12. Kant Immanuel. The Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
13. Kant Immanuel. Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (The Hague: Martinus Nighoff, 1798/1974).
14. Kilpinen E. ‘"The Habitual Conception of Action and Social Theory’", Semiotica.Vol 173 (2009), pp. 99128.
15. Leshner A. I. ‘"Addiction Is a Brain Disease, and It Matters’", Science.Vol 278, (1997), pp. 457.
16. Lewis Marc. The Biology of Desire (Melbourne: Scribe, 2015).
17. MacMullan Terrance,. ‘"The Fly Wheel of Society: Habit and Social Meliorism in the Pragmatist Tradition"’, in Sparrow Tom, & Hutchinson Adam (eds), A History of Habit: From Aristotle to Bourdieu . (Lexington: Lanham, 2013), pp. 229254.
18. Maguire Eleanor A.,, Gadian David G.,, Johnsrude Ingrid, S.,, Good Catriona D.,, Ashburner John,, Frackowiak Richard, S. J., & Frith Christopher. ‘"Navigational-related structural change in the hippocampi of taxi drivers’", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Vol 97 (2000), pp. 43984403.
19. Meyers D. T. Self, Society and Personal Choice (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989).
20. Munte Thomas F.,, Altenmuller E.,, & Lutz J. ‘"The musician’s brain as a model of neuroplasticity’". Nature Reviews Neuroscience Vol 3 (2002), pp. 473478.
21. Nutt David. Drugs Without the Hot Air (Cambridge: uit, 2012).
22. Oakley J., & Cocking D. Virtue Ethics and Professional Roles (Cambridge: cup, 2001).
23. Parfit Derek. Reasons and Persons (Oxford: Clarendon, 1984).
24. Pollard Bill. ‘"Can Virtuous Actions be both Habitual and Rational?’," Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Vol 6 (2003), pp. 41125.
25. Pollard Bill. ‘"Actions, Habits and Constitution’", Ratio Vol 19 (2006), pp. 229248.
26. Pollard Bill,. ‘"Habitual Actions"’. In O’Connor Timothy, and Sandis Constantine (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Action . (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), pp. 7482.
27. Proust Marcel. In Search of Lost Time (London: Vintage, 1996).
28. Ravaisson Felix. Of Habit (London: Continuum, 2008).
29. Robins Lee N., & Helzer John E. ‘"Vietnam veterans three years after Vietnam: how our study changed our view of heroin’". The American Journal on Addictions Vol 19 (2010), pp. 203211.
30. Ryle Gilbert. The Concept of Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949).
31. Shoemaker Sydney. ‘"Persons and their Pasts’", American Philosophical Quarterly , Vol 7 (1970), pp. 26985.
32. Thornton Alex, & Raihani Nichola J. ‘"Identifying Teaching in Wild Animals’", Learning and Behavior, Vol 38 (2010), pp. 297309. [Crossref]
33. Wagner Nils-Frederic, & Northoff Georg. ‘"Habits: bridging the gap between personhood and personal identity’", Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Vol 8, (2014), pp. 112.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Journal of Moral Philosophy — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation