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Department of Philosophy Colloquium: David Bakhurst

Thursday, October 17, 2019
4:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Watson Hall
Room: 517
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The Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series presents

David Bakhurst
Queen's University


Thursday, October 17, 2019

4:00 pm

Watson Hall, Room 517

This paper explores three ways of thinking about habit.  The first is the notion of habit as a disposition that issues in behaviour marked by immediacy, automaticity and absence of mind.  This is Ryle’s account, in The Concept of Mind.  I find reasons to be suspicious of it, although it is not without precedent in our ordinary ways of thinking and speaking.  Second, we use the term to describe the patterns of activity that structure our daily lives.  Such activity does not issue from deliberation about what to do, but in rational beings it is intentional, conscious, and open to normative assessment and refinement.  Finally, third, I consider intelligent habits, acquired and exercised in the service of rational life. I suggest that such habits can be elucidated in terms of practical knowledge, specifically the idea of “knowing to”.  I hope thereby to illuminate the Aristotelian idea that virtue is habit.  In conclusion, I consider how the notion of second nature illuminates the concept of habit by revealing the unity within these three ways of thinking.


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