Hacking’s historical epistemology: a critique of styles of reasoning

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):158-173 (2010)
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The paper begins with a detailed reconstruction of the development of Ian Hacking’s theory of scientific ‘styles of reasoning’, paying particular attention to Alistair Crombie’s influence, and suggesting that Hacking’s theory deserves to come under the title ‘historical epistemology’. Subsequently, the paper seeks to establish three critical theses. First, Hacking’s reliance on Crombie leads him to adopt an outdated historiographical position; second, Hacking is unsuccessful in his attempt to distance historical epistemology from epistemic relativism; and third, Hacking has not offered convincing criteria for individuating styles of reasoning. Keywords: Styles of reasoning; Historical epistemology; Ian Hacking; Alistair Crombie; Relativism; Sociology of scientific knowledge



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Martin Kusch
University of Vienna

Citations of this work

‘Language, Truth and Reason’ 30years later.Ian Hacking - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (4):599-609.
Interweaving categories: Styles, paradigms, and models.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (4):628-639.
The emergence of objectivity: Fleck, Foucault, Kuhn and Hacking.Luca Sciortino - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 88 (1):128-137.
Objective Styles in Northern Field Science.Jeff Kochan - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 52:1-12.
Fallibilism versus Relativism in the Philosophy of Science.David J. Stump - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 53 (2):187-199.

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References found in this work

Rationality and relativism.Martin Hollis & Steven Lukes (eds.) - 1982 - Cambridge: MIT Press.
The self-vindication of the laboratory sciences.Ian Hacking - 1992 - In Andrew Pickering (ed.), Science as practice and culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 29--64.
Language, truth and reason.Ian Hacking - 1982 - In Martin Hollis & Steven Lukes (eds.), Rationality and relativism. Cambridge: MIT Press. pp. 48--66.

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