Consensus on Peirce’s Concept of Habit

Before and Beyond Consciousness

  • Donna E. West
  • Myrdene Anderson

Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 31)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxv
  2. Background: Eco-logical Systems

  3. Habit as Action Schema

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 121-121
    2. Juuso-Ville Gustafsson, Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen
      Pages 123-142
    3. Atocha Aliseda
      Pages 143-152
    4. Donna E. West
      Pages 215-240
  4. Mental Complexions of Habit

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 263-263
    2. Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen, Francesco Bellucci
      Pages 265-282
    3. Vincent Colapietro
      Pages 297-313
    4. Sara Cannizzaro, Myrdene Anderson
      Pages 315-339
    5. Lorenzo Magnani, Selene Arfini, Tommaso Bertolotti
      Pages 361-377
    6. Nathan Houser
      Pages 379-400
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 433-434

About this book


This book constitutes the first treatment of C. S. Peirce’s unique concept of habit. Habit animated the pragmatists of the 19th and early 20th centuries, who picked up the baton from classical scholars, principally Aristotle. Most prominent among the pragmatists thereafter is Charles Sanders Peirce. In our vernacular, habit connotes a pattern of conduct. Nonetheless, Peirce’s concept transcends application to mere regularity or to human conduct; it extends into natural and social phenomena, making cohesive inner and outer worlds. Chapters in this anthology define and amplify Peircean habit; as such, they highlight the dialectic between doubt and belief. Doubt destabilizes habit, leaving open the possibility for new beliefs in the form of habit-change; and without habit-change, the regularity would fall short of habit – conforming to automatic/mechanistic systems. This treatment of habit showcases how, through human agency, innovative regularities of behavior and thought advance the process of making the unconscious conscious. The latter materializes when affordances (invariant habits of physical phenomena) form the basis for modifications in action schemas and modes of reasoning. Further, the book charts how indexical signs in language and action are pivotal in establishing attentional patterns; and how these habits accommodate novel orientations  within event templates. It is intended for those interested in Peirce’s metaphysic or semiotic, including both senior scholars and students of philosophy and religion, psychology, sociology and anthropology, as well as mathematics, and the natural sciences.


Agency and Patiency Doubt and Belief Etiology of Habit Evolutionary Affordances Habit-change Inductive and Abductive Reasoning Knowledge and Action Laws of Thirdness Mental Complexions of Habit Mental Pattern Science and Religion

Editors and affiliations

  • Donna E. West
    • 1
  • Myrdene Anderson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Modern LanguagesState University of New York at CortlandCortlandUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

Bibliographic information