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The notion of habit has had its ups and downs in the social sciences over the past 150 years. Its use as a key concept dates as far back as Aristotle, who connected it with education. In this entry, a definition of habit is offered, and its cultural mode of acquisition or inheritance is explained and contrasted with biologically inherited instincts. It is proposed that all reason depends on habit; and furthermore, it is a key component of some prominent definitions of culture. The concept is also important from an evolutionary perspective, for overcoming mind–body dualism and dealing with the agency–structure problem in social theory. Thus, the concept has great importance for social science and educational research.

The Concept of Habit

In The Politics, Aristotle wrote, “But ...

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