Historiallisesta ontologiasta

On historical ontology

This article analyses two concepts that Ian Hacking has elaborated in his recent writings: 'historical ontology' and 'styles of reasoning'. At the same time, the article examines the reasons why and the way in which Hacking takes distance from the generalizing talk of 'social constructionism'. The focus is on Hacking's recent writings and on the way he positions philosophical work in relation to other scientific practices. Hacking conceives philosophy as analysis of concepts in their sites. In practice, this means recurrent passage between traditional philosophical formulations and new knowledge that is created in specific scientific practices. The importance of philosophical work is located neither in the general concepts in themselves, nor in the individual findings produced by empirical studies, but rather, in the movement between these two areas. In general, the article argues that the specific merit of Hacking's writings is his capability to relate different modes of reasoning with each other in his concrete analyses of the formation of scientific knowledge, both in the natural sciences and in the social sciences; simultaneously, he is able to show the relevance of traditional philosophical questions to the empirical work.

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