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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!

Lyceum Institute Happy Hour

What are you doing this evening? Well, why not come on down to the Lyceum Institute Philosophical Happy Hour, where we gather online to have a drink (if you so chose–no pressure!) and think through the interesting questions of life. As a prelude to tomorrow’s International Open Seminar on Semiotics interview, Dr. Kemple will have signs and their study on the mind, so if you’d like any deeper insight into the issues, feel free to drop on by!

Use the contact form here (just write “happy hour”) to request an email invite!