This article compares the phenomena of “tic” and “slip of the tongue” [lapsus] as they have been described by Maine de Biran and Victor Egger, including a possible reception of Biran’s thought by Egger. In the twentieth century these phenomena will be analysed by psychoanalysts, but their first description appears in nineteenth-century French philosophy. Emerging from the analysis of Biran’s “tics” and Egger’s “slips” in the nineteenth century, the concept of habit becomes linked to a reflection on the unconscious. Tic and slip of the tongue constitute, each in its own way, the place where habit exhibits its most peculiar characteristic, that of being always suspended in the dual dialectic of the voluntary and the involuntary, of the conscious and the unconscious. Maine de Biran’s “habit tics” underline the tendency set by habit for which voluntary and conscious actions become involuntary and unconscious, whereas Egger defines slip of the tongue as an involuntary and unconscious event that allows the birth of new habits.

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