Hacking on Kuhn and Foucault

Fu Daiwie
Institute of History, NTHU; Institute of STS, NYMU

In Canadian Journal of Sociology 2004, Steve Fuller had reviewed Hacking's Historical Ontology (2002), and he wrote: Hacking is unique as a synthesist of the best of recent Anglo-American and French thought, which is probably the most natural role for a Canadian to occupy in the global intellectual conversation.」 Surely I agree that Professor Hacking is a great synthesist and more, but I don't understand why it would take a canadian to achieve that. For me, Hacking is a unique philosopher originated from the world of analytic philosophy and mathematics, who can excel both in analytic philosophy and French thought in the age of Cold War, and he is also someone who can serve as a much needed bridge between historistic philosophy of science and social constuctivistism in the age of Science War.

Due to limitation of time and my own narrow scope of study, in this commentary, I will restrict myself only on some of Hacking's views on Thomas Kuhn and Michel Foucault, two unique figures who at least constitute part of the best of recent Anglo-American and French thought (although Fuller himself probably would make an exception of Kuhn). For example, I am not able to say anything of Hacking's much admired work The Emergence of Probability (1975), which is said to be under strong influence of Foucault's The Order of Things. And I'll say more on Hacking's view on Kuhn than his on Foucault, since probably Hacking wrote explicitly more on Kuhn than on Foucault.

Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine, Number 7