Essay I - Chris Baxter American Philosophy Essay 1 Question...

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Chris Baxter January 8, 2008 American Philosophy Essay 1 Question # 3 William James felt that habit was a major force in life. In his book “The Principles of Psychology” James wrote about habits and how they are formed and what it takes to change or create new habits once old ones are abundant. James also talks about his belief about the importance of habits in one’s life and how they should be controlled. He felt that by controlling your habits and learning from an early age the importance of forming good moral habits, you will in turn find yourself “one of the competent ones” of your generation. In James’ chapter about habit he summarized “Attention and effort are…but two names for the same psychic fact. To what brain-processes they correspond we do not know. The strongest reason for believing that they do depend on brain-processes at all, and are not pure acts of the spirit, is just this fact, that they seem in some degree subject to the law of habit, which is a material law” (p. 67). What did James mean by this quotation, and what was his view of habit? James explains, in his chapter about habit that, habits are psychological and found somewhere between the metaphysical and the biological aspects of our lives. Habits are deep roots formed in our brains and must be trained and cultivated. Through time we deepen the lines of certain aspects of our lives, and then they become set habits that can be with us for the rest of our lives. James felt that at an early age our habits are plastic and friable. Children that learn to form only positive habits will be more likely to succeed. Their habits are easily changed and formed without much attention required. James said that we are like rubber or plaster, and with age and time our habits are gradually made harder. As we grow older our habits are much harder to change. Things like social class and language are very hard to change as we grow. If someone suddenly finds themselves with a large amount of money they can’t always change to fit into their new social group. Things like clothing and language will never seem to be changed in these people. As hard as one might try they will always stand out as somebody that was not
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This essay was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course PHIL Intro taught by Professor Terezaskis during the Spring '08 term at RIT.

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Essay I - Chris Baxter American Philosophy Essay 1 Question...

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