The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Pragmatism’


Habits differ from dispositions in having been acquired as consequences of the principle, virtually well known even to those whose powers of reflection are insufficient to its formulation, that multiply reiterated behaviour of the same kind, under similar combinations of percepts and fancies, produces a tendency, - the habit, - actually to behave in a similar way under similar circumstances in the future. Moreover, - here is the point, - every man exercises more or less control over himself by means of modifying his own habits; and the way in which he goes to work to bring this effect about in those cases in which circumstances will not permit him to practice reiterations of the desired kind of conduct in the outer world shows that he is virtually well acquainted with the important principle that reiterations in the inner world, - fancied reiterations, - if well-intensified by direct effort, produce habits, just as do reiterations in the outer world; and these habits will have power to influence actual behavior in the outer world; especially, if each reiteration be accompanied by a peculiar strong effort that is usually likened to issuing a command to one’s future self.

EP 2:413, CP 5.487
‘Habit’ (pub. 11.06.14-18:58). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jun 11, 2014, 18:58 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jun 11, 2014, 19:01 by Sami Paavola