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Economy and Society Volume 31 Number 1 February 2002: 114

Inaugural lecture: Chair of Philosophy and History of Scienti c Concepts at the Collge de France, 16 January 2001
Ian Hacking

Abstract
In his inaugural lecture for the Chair of Philosophy and History of Scienti c Concepts at the Collge de France, given on 16 January 2001, Ian Hacking develops the idea of styles of reasoning (credited to Ludwik Fleck) and considers the ways in which a style of reasoning introduces new ways of nding out the truth and determines the truth conditions appropriate to the domains to which it applies. In this light he examines some aspects of the thought of Pierre Duhem and Friedrich Nietzsche. He discusses some fundamental distinctions between classi cations in the social and the natural sciences and argues that classi cations of people and their behaviour have looping effects: we need, he suggests, a new type of enquiry concerned with the dynamics of classifying people. Keywords: styles of reasoning; truth conditions; natural kinds; human kinds; classi cation.

In these times we are strangely unsure about how much in the world is the work of man, and how much is the work of God, or what we call nature. How much do we create, and how much is fully determined in ways that are totally independent of ourselves? In the past decade we have debated this using the slogan of social construction. I hope that we shall soon put the slogan, and even some of the debate, behind us. But I expect that we shall never erase something of this sort that troubles the human spirit. I am not one of those who speak of the end
Ian Hacking, Collge de France, 11 Place Marcelin Berthelot, 72513 Paris Cedex 05, France Copyright 2002 Ian Hacking (English version), published by Taylor & Francis Ltd Copyright Collge de France (French version) ISSN 0308-5147 print/1469-5766 online DOI: 10.1080/03085140120109222

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of philosophy, or the end of metaphysics. I suspect that often we only transmute old questions, leaving something essential about them intact. We feel we have overcome our ancestors, when in fact we are reworking the very sources of their dissatisfaction in new ways. Dissatisfaction? Yes, because, at least since the time of Kant, philosophers have so often begun their work with problems, antinomies, perplexities. Aristotle himself said that right method in philosophy began by noticing contradictions in popular belief, or con ict between general opinion and the beliefs of the wise. He called these the aporias. His image makes philosophy sound like the grumbling of querulous old men, trying to make smooth what is tortuous. Should we not say with Merleau-Ponty that the world and reason are not problematical. We may say, if we wish, that they are mysterious, but their mystery de nes them: there can be no question of dispelling it by some solution, it is on the hither side of all solutions? Merleau-Ponty continues with a remark that could serve as a motto for a chair of the philosophy and history of scienti c concepts. True philosophy consists in relearning to look at the world, and in this sense a historical account can give meaning to the world quite as deeply as a philosophical treatise (Merleau-Ponty 1945: xvi, translation quoted from Merleau-Ponty 1962: 20). For me, even when discussing the sciences, a certain sort of philosophy and a certain sort of history including historical accounts are so bound up in each other that they are hardly distinguishable. There need be no contradiction between addressing problems and seeing the world or reason in a new way. The best work of the philosophers who would solve problems is moved by a sort of awe, or stupefaction, at the amazing character of the most ordinary things. Kant began by asking, How is pure mathematics possible? Everybody knows there is pure mathematics. It takes a philosophical mind but not necessarily someone officially designated as a philosopher to create a state of wonder. One is struck not only by the stunning results of mathematics, but at the very possibility of this endeavour. So astonished have our most famous teachers been, that they have proposed totally bizarre theories about the nature of mathematics. I need only remind you of Plato, of Descartes, of Leibniz, of Wittgenstein (see Hacking 2001a). Their questions trouble any thinking person who is able to experience the phenomenon of mathematical proof. A recent debate between our colleagues Alain Connes and Jean-Pierre Changeux reminds us if there were any need how live the issues are (Changeux and Connes 1989, 1995). There will come a time, in a few years, when I shall, like Jules Veuillemin, discuss these matters myself, but as part of a larger project, of understanding the types of reasoning used in the sciences. I count mathematics among the sciences not empirical, of course. In the sciences we may use many styles of reasoning. Even within mathematics there is still something powerfully right about the distinction between arithmetic and geometry, or, we might better say, between algorithmic and combinatorial styles of reasoning, on the one hand, and on the other what we may loosely call the spatial style, be it geometrical, topological or making heavy use of symmetries. Undoubtedly the most powerful style of

Ian Hacking: Inaugural lecture

reasoning, that which has made possible the modern world, that which has permanently changed the world, large and small, that which is altering and engineering the world at this moment, is what I call the laboratory style, which was emerging four centuries ago. In ancient times men studied, observed and speculated about phenomena. In modern times we make phenomena, or isolate and purify them. Evangelista Torricelli makes a vacuum, by lling a glass tube with mercury, inverting it in a bowl of the same substance. The mercury falls, leaving a space above it with nothing. Robert Boyle then created this phenomenon in the laboratory by perfecting the air pump. That story is already a model for the future interactions of science and technology. His rst pumps cost him much of his own private fortune and a large subsidy from the English government. Within twenty years the instrument makers of Paris had cheap models on sale, models that created better vacuums than Boyle could produce. Thomas Hobbes saw the writing on the wall. He detested the lite world of the scientists, their uncommon language, their private manipulations of things. Does not nature provide us with enough phenomena? he expostulated. Are not natures phenomena open to all, while those machinations in the laboratory are all too private, accessible only to a few technicians? Hobbes, already an old man, and deploring the future, saw exactly what was going to happen. Men were going to create new phenomena. Hobbes hated that. He lost.1 Laboratory science, which does not observe the workings of nature but intervenes in them, had arrived. In ages to come most of what Europe has exported to the rest of the world, or extracted from it, will be forgotten. Perhaps only one export will remain, and that is the laboratory style of reasoning. There are many more styles of reasoning. One, to which I have perhaps dedicated too much of my life, is the statistical style. It has totally changed our feel of the daily world in which we live, a world in which everything is cloaked in probabilities, sex, sports, disease, politics, electrons, cosmic collisions, the wave function. The triumph of probability was engineered in the nineteenth century and perfected in the twentieth. Now it is inescapable. Jacques Bouveresse has taken Robert Musil as the prophet of the new age. I shall tell you a small anecdote. Much of the new historical and philosophical work on probability was stimulated by a research group working in Bielefeld in 1983. Non-German members of the group met to improve their skills at speaking German, and chose to do so in a reading club, reading and discussing Musil. It did not occur to any of us, in the course of a year, that Musil was a perfect emblem for the probability revolution. That was left to Jacques Bouveresse (1993). To return to styles of reasoning: I am not concerned with historical incidents, even if styles do emerge in quite speci c historical frameworks.2 I take the idea from Ludwik Fleck, the Polish epidemiologist, who in 1935 wrote of Denkstile (Fleck 1979[1935]). He used as his example the Wassermann test for syphilis an affair of, at most, decades. I am addressing a history of science in the long term. It has become the fashion in contemporary history of science to analyse relatively brief and fascinating incidents. I am following a completely different trail. It is perfectly compatible with the microsociology of science in vogue at

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present, but it is something else. In some ways it is close to an approach of Pierre Bourdieus, at least when he writes: We have to acknowledge that reason did not fall from heaven as a mysterious and forever inexplicable gift, and that it is therefore historical through and through; but we are not forced to conclude, as is often supposed, that it is reducible to history. It is in history, and in history alone, that we must seek the principle of the relative independence of reasons from the history of which it is a product; or, more precisely, in the strictly historical, but entirely speci c logic through which the exceptional universes in which the singular history of reason is ful lled were established. (Bourdieu 1998: 130, translation quoted from Bourdieu 2000: 109) Nevertheless my aims are metaphysical. I am concerned with truth itself, or rather with the ways in which a style of reasoning introduces new ways of nding out the truth. I argue that each style introduces its own criteria of proof and demonstration, and that it determines the truth conditions appropriate to the domains to which it can be applied. This leads me to altogether radical theses about truth and objectivity, and about the reality of scienti c objects themselves. A style of reasoning is more than a group of techniques for bringing new kinds of fact into our awareness, into our living, mental, social world. I say that it creates the very criteria of truth. It is, as I like to say, self-authenticating. The idea that styles are self-authenticating is difficult but, I say, essential. It is not quite as original as it seems. It recalls the old veri cationist theory of meaning, in the most traditional form given it by Moritz Schlick. I wish to dig that out of the dustbin of history and polish it anew. My approach no more leads to an inane subjectivism about the sciences than that of the logical positivists. But I do have the task of showing that self-authentication, far from implying any kind of subjectivism, is the foundation stone for objectivity and, in the laboratory, reproducibility. Moreover, I contend, the introduction of new types of objects and new ways to verify judgements about them is one source of the stability of the sciences. Each scienti c style of reasoning introduces a new domain of objects to study. Each style introduces a new class of objects, and on the side generates, for each new class of entities, a new realism/anti-realism debate. To stick to the most familiar examples, think of the reality of mathematical objects, with in the extreme the opposition between Platonism and mathematical constructivism. Or think of the debates about the reality of non-observable entities in the most theoretical sciences. Every style of reasoning creates an ontological dispute. Do these new objects really exist, or are they the fabrications of the human mind? Are electrons real, or only instruments for thinking and organizing phenomena? Are numbers, or the power of the continuum, real, or only constructions made by human beings? Each controversy is conducted in its own register. Let us begin, however, with what is both the essence of one style of scienti c reasoning, and also something needed for thought itself. I mean classi cation.

Ian Hacking: Inaugural lecture

Classi cation is at the core of the taxonomic sciences, of systematic botany and zoology. There are still extraordinary ghts about which system is natural to classify. We have the same old ontological debate. Which taxa are real? Species, genus, family, phylum? Which are introduced simply for the convenience of a tidy, tree-like structure, and which represent how living things really are related? Disputes about the truth of classi cation precede anything we now call science. In the Middle Ages the schoolmen debated realism and nominalism. One party said that there really are some classes found in nature; another party sometimes went so far as to say that it is only we who group things into classes, and that our names do not pick out a real species of individuals. There is nothing in the world but individual entities. Classes, groups, genera, are a ction. Long ago these ctions were made out to be a product of the individual human mind. Today they are discussed as a product of society and human history. The arguments differ, but the issues remain strangely familiar. Those arguments do not interest me directly, but we can learn from them. We are perhaps too familiar with the ancients or the scholastics, on the one hand, and with very recent debates, on the other. So I should like to draw on the middle ground by quoting two very different authors, one writing just less than a century ago, the other, a little more than a century ago, one French, the other German, two men who are seldom put side by side, Pierre Duhem and Friedrich Nietzsche. First Duhem, in 1906: Scienti c progress has often been compared to a mounting tide; applied to the evolution of physical theories, this comparison seems to us very appropriate, and it may be pursued in further detail. Whoever casts a brief glance at the waves striking a beach does not see the tide mount; he sees a wave rise, run, uncurl itself, and cover a narrow strip of sand, then withdraw by leaving dry the terrain which it had seemed to conquer, a new wave follows, sometimes going a little farther than the preceding one, but also sometimes not even reaching the pebble made wet by the former wave. But under this super cial to-and-fro motion, another movement is produced, deeper, slower, imperceptible to the casual observer; it is a progressive movement continuing steadily in the same direction, and by virtue of it the sea constantly rises. The going and coming of the waves is the faithful image of those attempts at explanation which arise only to be crumbled, which advance only to retreat; underneath there continues the slow and constant progress of natural classi cation whose ow steadily conquers new lands, and guarantees to physical doctrines the continuity of a tradition. (Duhem 1906: 58, translation quoted from Duhem 1956: 38)3 I do not cite Duhem as a wonderful exponent of scienti c progress. I am struck by his view of how we progress. It is not by dint of obtaining deeper and deeper explanatory theories. Many of our physicist colleagues would say that is precisely what is the triumph of modern theoretical physics, and I do not quarrel with them. Pierre Duhem, however, shared with his contemporary Henri Poincar a great scepticism about explanation. That was the mood of the time, expressed

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in Germany by Heinrich Hertz and Ernst Mach, and in England by Karl Pearson. Duhem thought that, for example, the history of explanatory theories of light was a history of mutation after mutation, revolution after revolution, abandoned explanation after abandoned explanation. In this respect he was a proper predecessor of Gaston Bachelard and Thomas Kuhn. But he was equally struck by the stability of, in his case, physics. The twentieth century was dominated by thoughts of refutation, revolution and epistemological breaks in science: Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Gaston Bachelard. These men were products of their times. Their century began with truly astounding scienti c revolutions. Special relativity and the new quantum theory were the most radical. They overthrew not only physics but also philosophy. Two of Kants great a priori bodies of knowledge, about space and causation, collapsed. Only now have some philosophers been able to relax and discuss the extraordinary stability of the sciences. Duhems account of stability and growth is, from our present point of view, completely unexpected. Explanations, he thought, are entirely unstable. But the ways in which phenomena are classed together are fundamentally stable, and expand with each successive wave of new theory. In the sciences classi cations expand, grow more exact and persist. He modelled his idea of classi cation on the life sciences. He was well aware that there continued to be in- ghting about the correct principles according to which we shall classify living things inghting that continues to this present day. But he thought that the taxonomies themselves increasingly re ected some underlying structure within life, even if we might never reach nal agreement on the structure itself. He thought that in physics we increasingly group phenomena together in ways that were not anticipated. His own familiar example was the story of visible light, that is, the increasingly stable representation of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, seen as a large family of phenomena with its various genera. We came to recognize new species too, for example, polarized and unpolarized light. Today Duhem would expect that even if gauge theory, the standard model and so forth were to be superseded, the kinds of entities we now countenance, perhaps even down to the enigmatic Higgs boson, would stay with us. And he would nd full con rmation for his vision of physics in the way in which high energy physics the study of very small, fast and eetingly present items is incorporated into cosmology and a story of the rst three minutes of the universe. Duhems instinct was exactly the opposite of that of Thomas Kuhn. In the last ten years of his life, Kuhn tried to explain scienti c revolutions, and his idea of incommensurability, in terms of the destruction of one system of classi cation and its replacement by another. Revolutions in science were less a matter of revising theories and explanations than of changing classi catory structures. Kuhn had been a historian of science; he became a philosopher of language. He argued that the language of one system of classi cation cannot be expressed, after a revolution, in the language of new classi cations. He produced a theory of what he called scienti c lexicons that he did not live to complete, but whose outlines are fairly distinct.

Ian Hacking: Inaugural lecture

I happen to think that Duhem is in some ways closer to the truth than Kuhn, but that is not my point here. I use Duhem as an example of a philosopher profoundly committed to the idea of stable, growing and persistent natural classi cations not just among living things, but also in all the branches of science. But the very word natural is deeply ideological. One of its most recent uses is in the battle over genetically modi ed foods, as opposed to natural ones. In the history of classi cation it may have been Michel Adanson who rst put natural to work. His method was natural, the Linnaean system was arti cial. My classi cation is true, he implied, yours is false; I am good, you are bad. This talk of natural families led to an entire doctrine of natural groups. On such a basis John Stuart Mill led the English philosophers to create a whole philosophy of natural kinds. It still ourishes largely thanks to the work of Quine, Putnam and Kripke. Do not trust that word favoured by Duhem and Putnam alike: natural. From at latest the time of Aristotle, the idea of nature has served as a way to disguise ideology, to appear to be perfectly neutral. No study of classi cation can escape the obligation to examine the roots of this idea, and to see how it has served different ideologies, even to the present day. And no study of the word natural can fail to touch on that other great ideological word, real. These are such handy words in ordinary life, as J. L. Austin showed for real. But they are shifting, deceitful, treacherous and we might even say false friends when they are put to work by philosophers. I shall examine the legitimating idea of nature at some length. For now, however, I choose Duhem for one reason only. He expresses the rm conviction that in the sciences our fundamental explanations of phenomena are not very stable, and can be expected to go on being revised, replaced or overthrown. But our classi cations of phenomena become increasingly stable with the growth of the sciences. Alongside Duhem I wish to put Friedrich Nietzsche. Some twenty years before Duhem published his book on the nature of physics, Nietzsche was in Italy, where he published paragraph-long aphorisms. The German title is Die frhliche Wissenschaft: la gaya scienza. We know it as The Gay Science. One of its aphorisms reads as follows: unspeakably more depends on what things are called than on what they are. The fame, name and appearance of a thing, what it counts as, its customary measure and weight which in the beginning is an arbitrary error for the most part, thrown over things like a garment and alien to their essence, even to their skin due to the continuous growth of belief in it from generation to generation, this gradually grows, as it were, onto and into the thing, and turns into its very body. The initial appearance almost always becomes the essence in the end and acts as its essence. But only a fool would think it was enough to point to this misty mantle of illusion in order to destroy the world that counts as essential, so-called reality! Only as creators can we destroy! But we should also not forget this: creating new names and assessments and apparent truths is eventually enough to create new things. (Nietzsche 1974[1887]: Aphorism 58)

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One could build an entire inaugural lecture around this single text. You cannot destroy illusions by pointing to them, or by mocking them with irony. You cannot escape classi cations by maintaining that they are historical, social and mental products. We live in a classi ed world which might be deconstructed in a playful way, but whose structures we will need in order to think until they are altered not by deconstruction but by construction, by creation. That is a somewhat negative remark, but Nietzsche had a positive message. With new names, new objects come into being. Not quickly. Only with usage, only with layer after layer of usage. It is not so much that we rst create the essence of a new object, but its skin, its surface, that with which we interact: that in which we super cially intervene. Gradually we solidify its body, and nally we have the sense of an essence an essence that we have brought into being. Naming alone is never enough to create. If we have a complaint about Nietzsche, it is that even he is still a philosopher, too attentive to what we say, attending too little to what we do. Naming occurs in sites, particular places, and at particular times. For a name to begin to do its creative work, it needs authority. One needs usage within institutions. Naming does its work only as a social history works itself out. Probably Nietzsche thought all that was too obvious to need saying. Objects come into being. We have a technical word in philosophy for the study of being: ontology. It was traditionally thought of as a timeless discipline. Nietzsche speaks of the appearance and disappearance of objects, not of being in general but of being in particular, being in time. He speaks, we might say, of a historical ontology. That is an expression that Michel Foucault was using in 1982. Perhaps the most succinct way to state my debt, in some of my work, to the ideas and practices of Michel Foucault is by mentioning the title of a book that I shall publish next year: Historical Ontology (Hacking 2002b). Michel Foucault did far more than historical ontology. He helped bring things into being. His was a creative ontology as well as a historical one. Nur als schaffende! Pierre Duhem was a physicist, historian of the natural sciences and a devout Roman Catholic. We would not expect him to agree with Nietzsche about anything. I have quoted from La Thorie physique and Die frhliche Wissenschaft. We do not usually think of physics as frhliche joyous. But the two men are not so far apart. Neither is talking about the beginning of classi cation. Many cognitive scientists maintain that the basic principles of classi cation are innate. Only with a genetic inheritance of classifying abilities would children be able to learn how to classify at all. Emile Durkheim argued that classi cation systems, including those for animals and plants, re ect social structures. But both cognitive scientists and Durkheim were in a certain sense talking about initial, relatively unre ective, classi cation. Nietzsche and Duhem were talking about what happens as a classi cation endures through time, evolves, is criticized, modi ed or overthrown. Duhem asserts both growth and stability. Nietzsche saw a stability that he detested, but which could be overthrown by creation, new naming, new sorting. For once I would like to be totally unimaginative, and propose that

Ian Hacking: Inaugural lecture

the two men were chie y thinking of two different types of classi catory elds. Duhem had the so-called natural phenomena of physics in view. Nietzsche was above all re ecting on human phenomena, Menschliches, Allzumenschliches human, all too human. Let us think about creating new names for people and their behaviour: rst in the childrens playground, and then in the human sciences. When I was a child, bullies would shout insults. We shouted back: Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you. We did not really believe it. Names can hurt. Calling people names is intended to hurt. Names affect us in many other ways. It makes a difference when you are told that you are fat or a genius. It makes even more of a difference when you see yourself that way. Ray Monk argues, in his biography of Wittgenstein, that the man felt, enjoyed and was tortured by the duty of genius. Names work on us. They change us, they change how we experience our lives and how we choose our futures. Of course names work in different ways at different times, because they have quite different associations. Hannah Arendt saw the very idea of genius as an invention of the early German romantics. Writing about Arendt and the feminine genius, Julia Kristeva nds the roots of genius in an earlier era, when an act of God imprinted an inspired vision into a holy man or woman (Kristeva 1999, 2001). And for some time now genius has been measured by the high end of an intelligence test. Names do not work alone, as mere sounds and signi ers. They work in an immense world of practices, institutions, authorities, connotations, stories, analogies, memories, fantasies. A child is called fatso or tubby on the playground. That hurts, but only because fat is despised. In another place and time, it could have been comforting to be fat. The word fat does not act on us out of the blue, but in a world of meanings, of physicians, insurance companies, lovers, diets. Sex appeal: modern images of naked women who are attractive to men do not even resemble the ones painted by Rubens or Renoir. And the world of those who know they are fat is a world invaded by instruments: scales, measuring tapes, tables prepared by actuaries. It is world of norms. Fat is no mere word. An analysis of classi cations of human beings is an analysis of classi catory words in the sites in which they are used, of the relations between speaker and hearer, of external descriptions and internal sensibilities. That is not so true for names such as stick and stone. The reason is obvious. People are aware of what is said about them. They use words to think about themselves and to express their feelings to others. Sticks and stones are not aware. Our universe could have been different. Some people maintain that talking to plants does affect them. Maybe so, but not because the plants understand what is said to them. Some people believe that saying words over a new ship affects the fortunes of the ship. Maybe it does, but not because the ship is aware of these words. In a more animated universe than ours, things and I mean things would be different. That is not a world that I inhabit. Nevertheless we shall have to examine carefully borderline cases, entities less than people but more than

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sticks. Dogs and horses do understand their masters, and what about cybernetic organisms, now called by a name invented in 1960, cyborgs? We may be close to the fundamental difference between the natural and the human sciences. The human and the social sciences do not differ from natural ones primarily because they deal in what are called social constructions, or because they require Verstehen rather than explanation, prediction and control. They differ because there is a dynamical interaction between the classi cations developed in the social sciences, and the individuals or behaviour classi ed. When we characterise a type of person or behaviour, it can affect some people so classi ed in a direct way, and may even change them. Hence regularities about individuals of that kind may change. Our knowledge of those individuals must be revised as they change, and our classi cations themselves may have to be modi ed. I have called that the looping effect of human kinds. But I am not dogmatic about humans. If we were to live among cyborgs, or even to become cyborgs, biological feedback would become part of daily life. Classi catory feedback would continue in parallel with the semantic dynamics, perhaps to the point where the two would become intertwined in a world that no one can foresee. Systematic and institutionalized social sciences have their retinues of statistical data and computer analyses that work with classi cations of people. It is taken for granted that these classi cations work in the same way as those in the natural sciences. In fact the classi cations in the social sciences aim at moving targets, namely people and groups of people who may change in part because they are aware of how they are classi ed. The medical sciences have a peculiar position. They are not quite natural sciences, not quite social sciences. On the one hand, the thrust of medical sciences, including psychiatry, is to discover fundamental organic causes of illness. In the case of psychiatric disorders, these may be biochemical or neurological or both. There is a strong drive to nd hereditary antecedents for many illnesses, including types of madness. At the same time, the ways in which we are ill, our actions, our demeanour, our attitudes, and our emotions are classi ed in very human ways. For example, it may be claimed that current systems of diagnosis and treatment themselves help to produce the kinds of disturbed behaviour characteristic of the illness. Thus the classi cation and diagnosis is constructed, and this very construction interacts with troubled people and helps to produce their behaviour, which in turn con rms the diagnosis. In order to explain this idea of interaction, let us start explaining with a very different sort of example. Recall Philippe Ariss famous Centuries of Childhood (1973). In the wake of that book, childhood has been called a social construct. Some people mean that the idea of childhood (and all that implies) has been constructed. Others mean that a certain state of a person, or even a period in the life of a human being, an actual span of time, has been constructed. Some thinkers may even mean that children, as they exist today, are constructed. Children are conscious, self-conscious, very aware of their social environment, less articulate than many adults, perhaps, but, in a word, aware. People, including children, are agents, they act, as the philosophers say, under descriptions. The

Ian Hacking: Inaugural lecture

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courses of action that they choose, and indeed their ways of being, are by no means independent of the available descriptions under which they may act. Likewise we experience ourselves in the world as being persons of various classi cations. We are especially concerned with classi cations that, when known by people or by those around them, and put to work in institutions, change the ways in which individuals experience themselves and may even lead people to evolve their feelings and behaviour in part because they are so classi ed. Such classi cations (of people and their behaviour) are interactive. This ugly phrase has the merit of recalling actors, agency and action. The inter may suggest the way in which the classi cation and the individual classi ed may interact, the way in which the actors may become self-aware as being classi ed in a certain way, if only because of being treated or institutionalized in a certain way, and so experiencing themselves in that way. There can be strong interactions. What was known about people classi ed in a certain way may become false because people so classi ed have changed in virtue of how they have been classi ed, what they believe about themselves, or because of how they have been treated as so classi ed. There is what I call a looping effect (Hacking 1995). Classi cations that are the subject of intense scienti c scrutiny are of special interest. There is a constant drive in the social and psychological sciences to emulate the natural sciences, and to produce true natural classi cations of people. This is evidently true for basic research on pathologies such as schizophrenia, but it is also, at present, equally true for some but only some investigators who study homosexuality (the search for the homosexual gene) or violent crime (is that an innate and heritable propensity?) (Stein 1999).4 There is a picture of an object to be searched out, the right classi cation, the classi cation that is true to nature, a xed target if only we can get there. But perhaps it is a moving target, just because of the looping effect of human classi cations? That is, new knowledge about the criminal or the homosexual becomes known to the people classi ed, changes the way that individuals behave, looping back to force changes in the classi cations and knowledge about them. We are not far from the words of Nietzsche: creating new names and assessments and apparent truths is eventually enough to create new things. The notion of an interactive classi cation is fuzzy but not useless. Plenty of classi cations differ fundamentally from any of the human classi cations just mentioned. Quarks are not aware. A few of them may be affected by what people do to them in accelerators. Our knowledge about quarks affects quarks. But it does not affect them because they become aware of what we know, and act accordingly. What name shall we give to classi cations like that? Indifferent will do. The classi cation quark is indifferent in the sense that calling a quark a quark makes no difference to the quark. Not surprising: quarks are not aware; they cannot behave differently because they are aware of how they are classi ed. These distinctions matter to more than the sciences. Most of our familiar descriptions of other people and ourselves have very little to do with science.

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The ways in which we classify others and ourselves matter to us. Especially interesting are the ways in which new classi cations, or modi ed ones, open up new ways for us to be, or to act. They can also close off options that we once had, or dimly imagined. These are some aspects of the ways in which we make up people. A more abstract name for this type of inquiry is the dynamics of classifying people. That could be a eld of study, but a lot of questions arise at once. Every one of the implicit or explicit assumptions I have been making can be challenged. I may have sketched a possible investigation how classi cations affect us, and how we create classes anew. It relates to a whole range of disciplines and subdisciplines, from labelling theory to the cognitive sciences. But there is no received body of philosophical study of the classi cations of people. In contrast there is a philosophical tradition that deals with the classi cation of things found in nature. This is, to use a phrase of Bertrand Russells the doctrine of natural kinds. It is a tradition that is directly descended from the early days of the debate between the system and the method, between Linnaeus and Adanson. John Stuart Mill took it beyond botany and made it central to analytic philosophy, where it still prospers. No one in this tradition ever sees how the word nature itself, seemingly so transparent, is polemical, ideological, masking with its air of innocence an entire theory of the place, roles and duties of human beings, and of our situation in the world. You will see that I have proceeded from the general to the particular. I told you about styles of reasoning in the sciences. I turned to what seemed the easiest to understand, the classificatory and taxonomic style. I mentioned what interactive classifications do to us, and I spoke of a looping effect of human kinds; they seem hard to understand. We may take for granted the indifferent classifications of the natural sciences. But now I ask you to think about them, and the idea of nature that they presuppose. And so, this year, I shall begin with a study of natural classifications. That itself must turn to a study of the very idea of nature, in some of its particular and local uses. We shall have to ponder certain words of Pascal with which I conclude. He intended them in a very specific context. Every word of Pascals Penses is specific, and located in a context, even when the most general thoughts are in his mind. So these words of his are out of his intended context, but we can hear them in a new way, with a new and also specific application to natural classifications: But what is nature? Why is habit not natural? I am very much afraid that nature itself is only a rst habit, just as habit is a second nature.5

Acknowledgement A previous version of this article was published in French by the Collge de France, Paris, who own the copyright of the French version.

Ian Hacking: Inaugural lecture Notes

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1 We owe this account of the history to Shapin and Schaffer (1985). See Hacking
(1991). 2 For a more detailed prolegomenon, see Hacking (1992). 3 On two occasions I have altered Wieners translation. Notice that Duhem was not uttering a paean to scienti c progress, as the published translation seems to imply, but is speaking speci cally about the progress of la classi cation naturelle, as opposed to scienti c explanation. 4 Part I of Steins book has a great deal to say about natural and human kinds; see my comments in Hacking (2002). See also Wasserman and Wachbroit (2001), which includes Hacking (2001b). 5 Pascal (1966: 61). Numbered differently by different editors: Lon Brunschvig, No. 93, Louis Lafuma, No. 126, Philippe Selliers, No. 159. I repeat, the passage is taken out of context; Pascal was discussing the fear of fathers that their children will cease to love them.

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Boyle and the Experimental Life, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Stein, E. (1999) The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory and Ethics of Sexual Orientation, New York: Oxford University Press. Wasserman, D. T. and Wachbroit, R. T. (eds) (2001) Genetics and Criminal Behavior, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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