cover art for Félix Ravaisson, Habit, and the Metaphysics of Life.

Continental Philosophy

Félix Ravaisson, Habit, and the Metaphysics of Life.

The reason Félix Ravaisson is worth studying is because in his work we find a confluence of themes from Aristotle, debates in 18th and 19th century French vitalism, or spiritualism as it was called then, and a foreshadowing of European Philosophy in the 20th century. His most well-known works of the time were on the history of philosophy, works such as Essay on Aristotle’s Metaphysics (1837), French Philosophy in the 19th Century (1867) and The Philosophy of Pascal (1887). His original philosophy can certainly be detected in these engagements with key figures in the history of philosophy, but his most significant work is found in the published doctoral thesis of 1838 Sur L'Habitude [Of Habit] and the long article Métaphysique et morale [1893- Metaphysics and Morals]. We will focus here on the essay Of Habit, taking up themes of being, time and space and the formation of habits as consequences of an active and passive principle, or the double law of habit as Ravaisson calls it. 

Episode Image: Rémi Mathis, Public Domain.

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