Introduction. Ian Hacking and the Historical Reason of the Sciences


  • Matteo Vagelli
  • Marica Setaro



Ian Hacking is among the few that have successfully undermined the Analytic/Continental divide, by working on the “trading zones” between these two strands, and forged their conceptual instruments by drawing these latter from different sources and applying them to widely diverse philosophical debates, across natural, social and medical sciences: debates ranging from the problem of induction and proofs and deduction in mathematics to the theories of meaning and truth as well as to the controversy between realism and constructivism in natural and social sciences.

Albeit well-known and widely inspiring, Hacking is still rarely studied, and his wide-ranging production has not yet received an accurate and comprehensive analysis. This Focus aims to precisely fill this gap, by providing one of the first extensive studies dedicated to Hacking’s philosophy. It does not wish, however, to cover all the philosophical areas to which he has possibly contributed, neither does it aim, more generally, to provide a commentary nor an exegesis of his works. By collecting papers by both established and young scholars, this Focus rather intends to explore why Hacking has so largely in- fluenced the field of history and philosophy of science. Analyzing Hacking’s contribution to the 20th-century attempts to bring together history and philosophy of science as well as discussing his arguments on scientific stability, the Focus tackles, from different perspectives, the question of the historicity of reason. Without aspiring to definitive answers, this Focus wishes to open up lines of further research on Hacking’s works as well as along their path.