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What is Philosophical Habit?

A discussion of philosophical habit as the core of practice at the Lyceum Institute

What are habits? And what does it mean to have a philosophical habit? As I discuss in the above, it is a way of inquisitively holding ourselves towards the world—and with an attitude of genuine humility before the object.

Or to put this otherwise: how often do we find not only others but also ourselves presuming a certitude and a knowledge about the world in which we live? Often; and if we had better practices of reflection upon our own thinking and behavior, we would discover that we do it even more often than we think. We allow ourselves to be held by presuppositions about the world, ourselves, and what is true. By contrast, a philosophical habit consists in holding yourself humbly. This habit also therefore helps us to resist the converse habit—the prevalent tendency of today—of reactive distractedness.

No matter our age or station in life, we ought to strive to be learners; to be students. A student is not someone between the ages of 5 and 18, or 22, or 30. Rather, it is to be one eager for knowledge. To be a student is to embody the virtue of studiousness. I think here of Hugh of St. Victor’s words from the Didascalicon: “The good student, then, ought to be humble and docile, free alike from vain cares and from sensual indulgences, diligent and zealous to learn willingly from all, to presume never upon his own knowledge…”

Let us strive for these virtues!

Restless Soul: Zena Hitz on the AMI Podcast

Friends being friends with friends: it is a beautiful thing! Listen to Dr. Zena Hitz, tutor at St. John’s College, author of Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life (a highly-recommended book), and Co-founder & President of the Catherine Project talk on the Magnus Podcast, hosted by John Johnson and Larissa Bianco. We are affiliate partners with both institutions! Listen to Dr. Hitz discuss the development of thinking and the role of education in the fructification of a human life.

As we all agree, we can do more together than we can do alone.

Listen to the podcast here!