IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor: Ian Hacking

27-30 October 2013

Professor Ian Hacking, University of Toronto

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Ian Hacking has undergraduate degrees from the University of British Columbia (1956) and the University of Cambridge (1958),. Hacking also took his Ph.D. at Cambridge (1962), under the direction of Casimir Lewy.

He became a lecturer at Cambridge in 1969 before moving to Stanford in 1974. After teaching for several years at Stanford University, he spent a year at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Bielefeld, Germany, (1982–1983). He became Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto in 1983 and University Professor (the highest honour the University of Toronto bestows on faculty) in 1991. From 2000 to 2006, he held the Chair of Philosophy and History of Scientific Concepts at the Collège de France, the first Anglophone to be elected to a permanent chair in the Collège's history.

Ian Hacking is a Fellow of the British Academy. In 2002, he was awarded the first Killam Prize for the Humanities, Canada's most distinguished award for outstanding career achievements. In 2004, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. In 2009, Hacking was named winner of the Holberg International Memorial Prize, a Norwegian award for scholarly work in the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology. Hacking was chosen for his work on how statistics and the theory of probability have shaped society. In 2012, Hacking was awarded the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art.

During his visit, Ian Hacking is presenting a series of seminars on 'Styles of Reasoning':

Styles of Reasoning seminar series

Supported by the Institute for Advanced Studies and BIRTHA, and held under the auspices of the Centre for Science and Philosophy.

Ian Hacking is one of the world’s best known interdisciplinary philosophers.  A philosopher of science with a strong interest in the history of science, he has been highly influential in topics ranging from scientific realism to the history of probability and statistics, to social constructivism and the nature of ‘human kinds’.  He will be visiting Bristol in late October and plans to deliver three talks/seminars (see below for topics).  His visit will interest not just those within arts and humanities disciplines, but also those from the science, social sciences, and medicine disciplines.   In particular, his talk on ‘Probabilistic Reasoning’ will link with the Arts Faculty project/cluster on ‘Historicizing Numeracy’

Relevant preparatory reading:

Ian Hacking, ‘Language, Truth and Reason’ in Rationality and Relativism, eds. Hollis and Lukes (1982)
Ian Hacking, ‘”Style” for Historians and Philosophers,’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (1992)

For more information about Professor Hacking's visit, please contact Professor Alexander Bird.