The online workshop “Habitual Behavior: Habits, Routines and Rituals” took place on August 26 and was organized by Raffaela Giovagnoli (Pontifical Lateran University, GSIS) and Irena Mostowicz (GSIS). This event is inspired by the interesting discussion that took place at the IS4SI Summit 2017 (Gothenburg), IS4SI Summit 2019 (Berkeley), IS4SI 2021 (online Japan).
Habits and rituals play a fundamental role in human life and have been studied mostly by disciplines like anthropology, sociology and psychology. Philosophy as well offers interesting analyses from different perspectives. Aristotle represents a fundamental perspective to investigate the dimensions entailed by the notion of habit, while Peircean habits connect to the life of symbols. Very interesting researchers investigate the relationship between habits, code and learning in biosemiotics. Of all human belief systems and practices, religions are strongest connected to habits and rituals in form of prayers, meditations, sacrifices, sermons, services, trances, initiation rites and more. Habits and rituals offer a common ground that can help to stimulate the discussion from different scientific and cultural perspectives.
In the morning session Pankaj Singh presented an ecological approach to habit by observing the agent-environment interaction through affordances as possibilities of action. Silvano Caiani and Gabriele Ferretti provided a deep analysis of habits, motor representations and practical modes of presentation to discover which mental states are implied in habitual actions. Irena Mostowicz described ethical issues about the “Victory Day” celebrated in Russia to show continuity and discontinuity between personal and social context. Renate Quehenberger discussed ethical issues related to the predominant worldviews by confronting Pythagorean vs. post-Einsteinean age to show how superstructures of theoretical physics affect our society and its habits. Raffaela Giovagnoli presented an analysis of the dimensions of habitual behavior in individual and social contexts to highlight the importance of it for reducing the complexity of human daily life.
In the plenary afternoon session Paolo Crocchiolo focused on the human condition at the crossroads of biology, economy and ethics. His critical approach to economy based on mathematic is very important to discover implemented manipulated habits. Robert Lowe described a neurocomputational model of relative value processing of habit modulation through differential outcome expectations. This model is very important to help memory diseases. Anna Hennessey examined elements of classic social ontology to show how collective intentionality emerges when individuals and social groups transform the meaning of art and objects used in rituals. She made the very interesting example of the contemporary rituals of birth. Lorenzo Magnani considered habits and rituals as stabilized affordances and pregnancies. The externalization/disembodiment of mind is a significant cognitive perspective able to unveil some basic features of abduction and creative/hypothetical thinking.