Philosophy of Habit

Summary:

This project will present an original history of the nineteenth-century philosophical debate about habit. The research will draw on international archival resources and privately owned unpublished manuscripts that will be transcribed, translated, and published online.

Project Status:

In Progress

Funders:

Leverhulme Trust

Partners:

University of Sheffield

Subjects:

history of ideas, manuscripts, philosophy, transcriptions

Technologies:

CSS, HTML, MySQL, PHP, XML

Project Description

During the nineteenth century, a transnational debate developed between idealists, pragmatists, and spiritualists concerning the nature of habit and its relevance for psychology, biology, epistemology, sociology, and even cosmology. Although this discussion drew on conceptions of habit formulated in the early modern period, it developed into the history of philosophy’s most sustained and varied study of habit. However, histories of nineteenth-century philosophy have until now overlooked this crucial discussion; this project aims to put this right.

The principal output of this project will be a monograph that will present an original history of the habit debate. The research will draw on international archival resources and privately owned unpublished manuscripts that will be transcribed, translated, and published online (which, through semantic tagging, will enable structured searching and browsing and facilitate further research). This history will provide a strong case for the revision of the standard curriculum and demonstrate the influence, diversity, and contemporary multidisciplinary relevance of nineteenth-century philosophy. Given the current resurgence of interest in early modern, idealist, and pragmatist philosophy, and a regained respect for the importance of philosophy’s history for informing contemporary debates, this timely project is now more crucial than ever.

Project Team

  • Dr Jeremy Dunham (Principal Investigator – University of Sheffield