Hacking, Ian


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Ian Hacking was born in Vancouver Canada, but received his PhD at the University of Cambridge. After some years teaching at Cambridge and at Stanford University he returned to Canada in 1983 as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. Hacking is known for his inclusions of history within his philosophical work and within Psychology he is best known for his Making up People, The Social Construction of What? and his work on Natural (or later, Human) Kinds.
Hacking’s work overall discusses the ‘loops’ between science and society and how society can feedback into Psychology. For example, in Making up People Hacking outlines how as Psychology is largely discussing people, and in doing so often creates groups or categories of people with certain characteristics. However, because people are reflexive and responsive (unlike the atoms studied Physics) those people within those constructed groups or categories, are able to react and further alter the construction of that group meaning. Hacking uses several examples to outline this point including Autism, Multiple Personality and sexuality.