Habit in Peirce: a Review of Consensus on Peirce’s Concept of Habit

  • Marcel DanesiEmail author


Studies and commentaries on Peirce’s notion of habit have been sporadic. One can mention in this regard recent works by Fernández (2010) and Nöth (2010). Most other treatments are either encyclopedia entries or complementary inclusions within a broader approach to Peircean sign theory. In-depth treatments of the Peircean concept of habit are sorely lacking, especially when compared to the monumental cumulus of studies on virtually all other aspects of Peircean theory. The anthology put together by West and Anderson (2016) is a significant attempt to fill this long-standing gap.

Perhaps the underlying reason for this neglect lies in the negative reverberations that the concept of habithas for many semioticians, considered to be part of behavior that falls somewhat outside the domain of semiosis, whereas the ability to think is guided by sign structures that are at once creative and undeterminable in habit-theory terms. However, as the West-Anderson collection conveys,...


  1. Andrews, B. R. (1903). Habit. The American Journal of Psychology, 14, 121–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bain, A. (1868). The senses and the intellect. London: Longmans.Google Scholar
  3. Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fernández, E. (2010). Peircean habits and the life of symbols. In Paper delivered at the thirty-fifth meeting of the semiotic Society of America October 21–24, 2010. Louisville: Kentucky.Google Scholar
  5. Lotman, Y. (1991). Universe of the mind: A semiotic theory of culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Maturana, H., & Varela, F. (1973). Autopoiesis and cognition: The realization of the living. Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar
  7. Mauss, M. (1934). Les techniques du corp. Journal de Psychologie, 32, 3–4.Google Scholar
  8. Nöth, W. (2010). The criterion of habit in Peirce’s definitions of the symbol. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 46(1), 82–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Pavlov, I. (1902). The work of digestive glands. London: Griffin.Google Scholar
  10. Peirce, C. S. (1931-1958). Collected papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, Vols. 1–8, ed. by C. Hartshorne and P. Weiss. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Watson, J. B. (1919). Psychology from the standpoint of a behaviorist. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. West, D. E., & Anderson, M. (Eds.). (2016). Consensus on Peirce’s concept of habit: Beyond and before consciousness. New York: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations