"Man Is a Bundle of Habits” in a Universe with an Inherent Tendency to Habit Formation

Bent Sørensen, Torkild Thellefsen, Søren Brier

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Whether or not there exists a fundamental ideal that the human being should strive to live in accordance with, was a question posed already by the ancient philosophers. The philosopher, semeiotician,3 and natural scientist C.S. Peirce (1839–1914) also worked with the question. Peirce put forth a tentative and affirmative answer and outlined the conditions of the ideal and some of its
possible (pragmatic) consequences around his concept of habit taking. We believe that Peirce`s concept of habit is essential in understanding the fundamental ideal of the human being and its efforts concerning to live in accordance with the ideal. Peirce himself called the human being a bundle of habits, and we can add that the self is a semeiotic entity whose various forms of signformations ought to move in a certain direction in accordance with the rational development of the universe’s, “growth in the concrete reasonableness,” as Peirce formulates it, which in itself is nothing else but a (more or less sophisticated) process of habit-taking. In the following we will try to sketch this relationship between the habits of the human being and the habits of the universe mediated by the fundamental ideal.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCybernetics & Human Knowing - A Journal of Second Order Cybernetics, Autopoiesis and Cyber-Semiotics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)9-21
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • C. S. Peirce
  • The human being
  • Habits of feeling
  • Actions
  • Thought
  • Tendency to habit formation
  • Metaphysics
  • Summum Bonum

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