Habit Today: Ravaisson, Bergson, Deleuze and Us


Journal Article

Habit has been understood, through the work of Descartes, Kant and Sartre, as a form of mechanism that arrests and inhibits consciousness, thought and freedom. This article addresses the concept of habit through a different tradition that links it instead to an ever-moving world. In a world of constant change, habits are not so much forms of fixity and repetition as they are modes of encounter materiality and life. Habit is the point of transition between living beings and matter, enabling each to be transformed through its engagement with the other. The article focuses on the work of Ravaisson, Bergson and Deleuze, who understand habit as fundamentally creative and addressed to the future rather than consolidating the past. Habit, within this tradition, is the opening of materiality to the forms of engagement required by life, and the modification of life imposed by the requirements of a material universe. It is open-ended plasticity. © The Author(s) 2013.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Grosz, E

Published Date

  • June 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 2-3

Start / End Page

  • 217 - 239

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1460-3632

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1357-034X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1357034X12472544

Citation Source

  • Scopus