Tony Bennett is Emeritus Professor at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University and Honorary Professor in the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University. Among his many books are
Unfolding Pathways: Habit, Freedom, Becoming
This chapter engages with the tradition of habit theory that runs from Félix Ravaisson through Henri Bergson to its post-Deleuzian revival exemplified by Elizabeth Grosz's work. It takes issue with the interpretation of habit's pathways as an unguided course of becoming leading to increased capacities for freedom associated with this tradition. It does so by identifying the reworked forms of spiritual authority associated with pastoral power that characterize the position that this tradition accords to philosophy relative to the empirical sciences. The operation of this authority of “philosophy's pastorate” is examined via the pathway imageries that inform the positions developed by Bergson and Grosz via their engagements with evolutionary theory. The main line of criticism offered develops the argument initially proposed by Walter Benjamin concerning the one-sided materialism of the tradition in its failure to accord adequate attention to the role of social and cultural technologies in shaping conduct.