Introduction: Hacking meets Taiwanese Critics

Author Info
Rueylin Chen

Ian Hacking, the distinguished Canadian philosopher of science, visited Taiwan in November 2007 and stayed for 19 days, at the invitation of Professor Yuann Jeu-Jenq at National Taiwan University. During his visit, Professor Hacking delivered a series of four lectures: "On the Historical Roots of Scientific Reason", "Where do Mathematical Objects come from?", "The Laboratory Style of Thinking and Doing", and "Realism and Anti-realism". The first two were keynote speeches given at the Fourth International Conference on Experiences and Truth, which was held at Department of Philosophy in NTU. The third lecture was delivered at the Hacking Workshop organized by STM, and the last one was addressed to Department of Philosophy at Soochow University. Under Professor Yuann's arrangement, the four lectures were collected as a volume, titled as Scientific Reason, for publication by the NTU Press. The English and the Chinese versions would be in print shortly.

In order to facilitate Professor Hacking's communication with the Taiwanese STS community, STM organized a "Hacking, Laboratory Science and STS Workshop" on November 12, 2007 at National Tsing Hua University ( In this rare occasion, Professor Hacking gave his third lecture and three Taiwanese scholarsProfessors Fu Daiwie, Wu Chien-Chang, and Yuann Jeu-Jenq—were invited to discuss Hacking's works. He was then asked to respond to their comments. In addition, four presentations on laboratory and science studies by local scholars were also discussed at the workshop. They are Professors Sean Hsiang-Lin Lei's "Sovereignty and the Microscope: Constituting Notifiable Infectious Disease and containing the Manchurian Plague", Wen-Yuan Lin's "The Realization of Engineering Students' Agency in Laboratory Driftworks", Hsiang-Ke Chao's "Structuring the New World", and Ruey-Lin Chen's "A Dynamical Model of Experimental Development: A Preliminary Exploration".

The dialogue between Professor Hacking and Taiwanese scholars constitutes the major part of Responses and Replies in this issue. Professor Fu Daiwie puts questions to Hacking on the relationship between Kuhn and STS and Hacking's comments on Kuhn's thought. Fu also explores Kuhn's and Foucault's influence on Hacking. Professor Wu Chien-Chang, both a practicing psychiatrist and an expert on health policy, comments on Hacking's Rewriting the Soul, especial Chapters 17 and 18. Professor Yuann Jeu-Jenq discusses Historical Ontology and compares Hacking's and Foucault's style of philosophizing. Professor Hacking's lively reply to the three critics is recorded below. The transcription of Hacking's response was prepared by Chiu Hsien-I and Cheng Kai-Yuan and edited by Dr Wang Wen-Ji. It was later revised by Professor Hacking himself.

At the Fourth International Conference on Experience and Truth, Professor Chen Ruey-Lin discussed Hacking's realist view on scientific experiments in his "Experimental realism and realization". Professors Wang Rong-Lin and Chen Szu-Ting elaborate on Hacking's latest ideas in their "On Hacking's approach to styles of scientific thinking". The abbreviated versions of these two papers and Hacking's reply constitute the second half of this section.

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