David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
We are creatures of habit. Familiar ways of doing things in familiar contexts become automatic for us. That is to say, when we acquire a habit we can act without thinking about it at all. Habits free our minds to think about other things. Without this capacity for habitual action our daily lives would be impossible. Our minds would be crowded with innumerable mundane considerations and decisions. Habitual actions are not always mundane. Aristotle famously said that acting morally is a matter of exercising the right habits.2 For him, a lack of conscious thought is no bar on an action’s moral status. Habits are involved in our most prized activities. Of course our natural capacity for acquiring habits is sometimes a nuisance, and we acquire bad habits all too easily. But we nevertheless could not do without a vast array of habits which are not like this, and we can’t help but exercise them in our daily lives. It does not seem too strong to say that we spend much more of our time acting habitually than we do acting in the light of conscious thought. We are also rational creatures. It is because of our rationality that we naturally think that most human actions are different in kind from the behaviour of other animals. This difference is manifest in the fact that we hold rational creatures personally responsible for what they do, in ways that would make no sense for nonrational creatures. Our rationality, then, appears to give our actions a unique quality.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Jordan Howard Sobel (1990). Maximization, Stability of Decision, and Actions in Accordance with Reason. Philosophy of Science 57 (1):60-77.
Danny Frederick (2010). Unmotivated Intentional Action. Philosophical Frontiers 5 (1):21-30.
Cynthia Macdonald (2004). Self-Knowledge and the First Person. In M. Sie, M. Slors & B. Van den Brink (eds.), Reasons of One's Own. Ashgate.
Ileana F. Szymanski (2009). Choices in Food and Happiness Seen From the Perspective of Aristotle's Notion of Habit. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 16 (2):12-21.
Cynthia Macdonald (2004). Self-Knowledge and the First Person. In M. Sie, Marc Slors & B. Van den Brink (eds.), Reasons of One's Own. Ashgate.
Bill Pollard (2006). Explaining Actions with Habits. American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (1):57 - 69.
Nancy E. Snow (2006). Habitual Virtuous Actions and Automaticity. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (5):545 - 561.
Bill Pollard (2003). Can Virtuous Actions Be Both Habitual and Rational? Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6 (4):411-425.
Added to index2010-07-22
Total downloads36 ( #54,516 of 1,413,138 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #66,796 of 1,413,138 )
How can I increase my downloads?