Historical Ontology

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Harvard University Press, 2004 - Philosophy - 279 pages

With the unusual clarity, distinctive and engaging style, and penetrating insight that have drawn such a wide range of readers to his work, Ian Hacking here offers his reflections on the philosophical uses of history. The focus of this volume, which collects both recent and now-classic essays, is the historical emergence of concepts and objects, through new uses of words and sentences in specific settings, and new patterns or styles of reasoning within those sentences. In its lucid and thoroughgoing look at the historical dimension of concepts, the book is at once a systematic formulation of Hacking's approach and its relation to other types of intellectual history, and a valuable contribution to philosophical understanding.

Hacking opens the volume with an extended meditation on the philosophical significance of history. The importance of Michel Foucault--for the development of this theme, and for Hacking's own work in intellectual history--emerges in the following chapters, which place Hacking's classic essays on Foucault within the wider context of general reflections on historical methodology. Against this background, Hacking then develops ideas about how language, styles of reasoning, and "psychological" phenomena figure in the articulation of concepts--and in the very prospect of doing philosophy as historical ontology.

 

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Historical ontology

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To this collection of 14 essays written between 1973 and 1999 Hacking has added a revision of a hitherto unpublished 1999 lecture that provides a context of some general ideas about the relationship ... Read full review

Contents

Historical Ontology
1
Five Parables
27
Two Kinds of New Historicism for Philosophers
51
The Archaeology of Michel Foucault
73
Michel Foucaults Immature Science
87
Making Up People
99
SelfImprovement
115
How Why When and Where Did Language Go Public?
121
Language Truth and Reason
159
Style for Historians and Philosophers
178
Leibniz and Descartes Proof and Etemal Truths
200
Wittgenstein as Philosophical Psychologist
214
Dreams in Place
227
Works Cited
255
Sources
271
Index
273

Night Thoughts on Philology
140
Was There Ever a Radical Mistranslation?
152

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About the author (2004)

Ian Hacking is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto. He holds the Chair of Philosophy and History of Concepts at the Collège de France.

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