The Social Construction of What?

The Social Construction of What?

by Ian Hacking, Ian Hacking

Hardcover

$51.50

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674812000
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 05/28/1999
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.29(w) x 9.49(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Preface

What People are Saying About This

In his Preface, Hacking describes this book as a kind of primer for noncombatants in the culture wars, understood as being fought between the 'social constructionists' who hold that knowledge is constitutively and importantly a social product, and those who see knowledge as being importantly distinct from the social realm (scientists being the exemplary instances of the latter). I especially like his discussion of the social sciences and their peculiar relation to their objects--the discussion of 'interactive kinds' and the 'looping effect' through which people can reflexively react to social science descriptions by, for example, acting out and upon such descriptions. There is an interesting line of development here concerning the difference between the social and the natural sciences, and the different senses of 'construction' that might be appropriate to each. The book accomplishes its chosen task in clarifying what constructionism is about and why people get excited about it. I might add that besides noncombatants in the culture wars, the book should interest and inform some of the combatants, too--it should help the anticonstructionists get clearer on the actual contours of their enemy's position. Hacking is one of the most important philosophers working today.

Andrew Pickering

In his Preface, Hacking describes this book as a kind of primer for noncombatants in the culture wars, understood as being fought between the 'social constructionists' who hold that knowledge is constitutively and importantly a social product, and those who see knowledge as being importantly distinct from the social realm (scientists being the exemplary instances of the latter). I especially like his discussion of the social sciences and their peculiar relation to their objects--the discussion of 'interactive kinds' and the 'looping effect' through which people can reflexively react to social science descriptions by, for example, acting out and upon such descriptions. There is an interesting line of development here concerning the difference between the social and the natural sciences, and the different senses of 'construction' that might be appropriate to each. The book accomplishes its chosen task in clarifying what constructionism is about and why people get excited about it. I might add that besides noncombatants in the culture wars, the book should interest and inform some of the combatants, too--it should help the anticonstructionists get clearer on the actual contours of their enemy's position. Hacking is one of the most important philosophers working today.
Andrew Pickering, author of Constructing Quarks and The Mangle of Practice

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