The Concept of Habit in Richard Kilvington’s Ethics

  • Monika MichałowskaEmail author
Part of the Historical-Analytical Studies on Nature, Mind and Action book series (HSNA, volume 7)


Richard Kilvington—one of the members of the fourteenth-century English group of scholars called the “Oxford Calculators”—has been widely acknowledged as an original and influential philosopher whose logical and physical works became an inspiration for other masters in England and on the Continent. Kilvington’s logical and mathematical ideas have already gained much attention among historians of philosophy and science, but his interest in ethical problems as well as his original way of providing arguments in the field of practical philosophy have not yet been sufficiently investigated. Therefore, to shed light on Kilvington’s ethical ideas, in this paper I examine his concept of habit. First, I focus on Kilvington’s notions of habit and disposition. Second, I investigate the relationship between habit and the will. Third, I make an enquiry into the nature of virtue and vice in reference to the development of a moral habit. Finally, I examine the interplay between prudence, right reasoning and habit in Kilvington’s account. I conclude that: (1) Kilvington’s accounts of habit and disposition offer an interesting balance between two different theories of habit, namely, habit understood as an innate condition of man’s soul and habit understood as an acquired character trait; and (2) in Kilvington’s view, not only habit but also, to some extent, disposition plays an active role in the process of moral change and becoming virtuous or vicious.


Richard Kilvington Ethics Commentary on Nicomachean Ethics Virtue/Vice Habit Oxford Calculators 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BioethicsMedical University of ŁódźŁódźPoland

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