Pierre Hadot on Habit, Reason, and Spiritual Exercises

Journal of Religious Ethics 46 (1):7-36 (2018)
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This essay is a reappraisal of Pierre Hadot's concept of spiritual exercises in response to recent criticisms of his work. The author argues that contrary to the claims of his critics, Hadot articulates a compelling argument that spiritual exercises that employ imaginative, rhetorical, and cognitive techniques are both necessary for and successful at producing a subject in which reason is integrated into human character. Such exercises are critical for overcoming the effects of habit, as a result of which everyday conduct resists rational control, and Hadot provides a nuanced account of how particular practices affect different aspects of emotion, behavior, and thought. The concept of spiritual exercises remains a viable component of theoretical frameworks for the study of religious ethics, though the author concludes that Hadot's position on habit and its role in ethical practice requires further investigation.



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References found in this work

Enneads. Plotinus - 1949 - Boston: C. T. Branford Co.. Edited by Plotinus, Porphyry, Stephen Mackenna & B. S. Page.
Confucian Moral Self Cultivation.Richard Garner & Philip J. Ivanhoe - 1999 - Philosophy East and West 49 (4):533.

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