Ian Hacking – Call for Papers


The December 2023 edition of Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science will present a special issue dedicated to the work of Ian Hacking. It is not easy to find any significant philosophical debate in the last fifty years to which Ian Hacking has not tried to contribute in some way. From his particular way of investigating, taking a look into the rich complexity of the world, he has tackled a range of topics that resulted in texts such as Logic of Statistical Inference (1965), Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy? (1975), The Emergence of Probability (1975), Representing and Intervening (1983), The Taming of Chance (1990), Le plus pur nominalisme. L’enigme de Goodman: “vleu” et usages de “vleu” (1993), Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory (1995), Mad Travelers: Reflections on the Reality of Transient Mental (1998), The Social Construction of What? (1999), An Introduction to Probability and Inductive Logic (2001), Historical Ontology (2002), Scientific Reason (2009) and Why is There Philosophy of Mathematics at All? (2014).

Perhaps the work that gave him the most visibility, at least in the Anglo-Saxon philosophical sphere, is Representing and Intervening, which has been considered fundamentally as a defense of scientific realism in the natural sciences. Yet, the fundamental objective of the author was to vindicate the role of experimentation and doing in science.

However, from that same period on, Hacking also tackled the study of the human sciences. In the first pages of The Taming of Chance, he syndicated statistics as a trigger for notions such as making up people. Statistical bureaucracy imposes itself not only by creating rules but by determining the classifications within which people can think of themselves and the actions they are allowed to take. As a result, each new census creates new classes of people and, consequently, new ways of being and behaving. For over thirty years, Hacking developed this project and proposed a series of notions to reflect on this field of science, analyzing problems such as child abuse, multiple personality disorder, hysterical fugue, and autism, among others.

On the other hand, these statistics constitute an example of another topic, the style of reasoning or style of scientific thinking & doing, to which Hacking devoted decades of work since he published The Emergence of Probability in 1975. The mathematical; laboratory; Galilean (or hypothetical modeling); taxonomic; probabilistic/statistical, and historical-genetic styles are the various general methods of scientific work that can be recognized from antiquity to the present; the different ways of investigating that have enabled humans to dominate the planet.

Hacking has successfully reconciled the analytic and continental traditions in his work. Trained as an analytic philosopher, he has always considered himself within that tradition. However, several of his works have a prevalently historical mood, and he has recognized the profound influence that philosophers of the continental tradition, notably Michel Foucault, have exerted on his thought.

This special issue of Transversal on Ian Hacking’s thought seeks to gather the following:

  • Theoretical, methodological reflections, historiographical and other works about his proposals on the varied topics he addresses in his work;
  • Reconstructions and interpretations of Hacking’s work as a whole;
  • Works that attempt to evaluate the significance of Hacking’s thought in the context of contemporary debates, for example, through critical comparisons with conceptions of other thinkers who address similar problems, albeit with different approaches and conceptual tools;
  • Proposals that address Hacking’s reflections concerning earlier and contemporary thinkers and assess the relevance and impact that the latter’s thinking had on his philosophical work;
  • Empirical works that use Hacking’s proposals as a theoretical referent.

Submission details:

Submissions must be received by October 10, 2023, via the journal webpage www.historiographyofscience.org so they can be considered for the December 2023 issue.

Submissions must be prepared for double-blind review. Notification of acceptance will be sent on November 10, 2023.

Please, see the Author’s Guidelines.


For any further information concerning this Call for Papers, please contact:

María Laura Martínez 

History and Philosophy of Science Department

Universidad de la República, Uruguay

E-mail: marialauramartinez1@gmail.com


For any further information concerning this Journal, please contact:

Mauro L. Condé – Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais – UFMG

E-mail: mauroconde@ufmg.br

Marlon J. Salomon – Universidade Federal de Goiás – UFG

E-mail: marlonsalomon@ufg.br