On Hacking's Approach to Styles of Scientific Thinking

Rong-Lin Wang and Szu-Ting Chen
Institute of Philosophy, National Tsing Hua University

I. Introduction

The main concern of our paper is this: Will the account of science fostered by Professor Hacking's recent explanatory model of the development of various 「styles of scientific thinking」 (SSTs) be acceptable to social constructivists and scientific realists (the two extremes in the debate of science)? Or, will the account be preferred by only one side? More specifically, will the account of science fostered by Hacking's new approach be more like an internal explanation of the development of science, an external explanation, or a hybrid explanation?

By 「external」 explanation,」 we mean the explanation uses social, psychological, and other non-evidential factors to explain the stable development of science. An 「internal」 explanation, however, applies evidence-based factors. Social constructivists prefer the former explanation; scientific realists favor the latter one.

Our discussion of Hacking's approach to styles of scientific thinking should be understood against these concerns. Our supposition is that Hacking's explanatory model of SSTs may foster a mediatory account of the development of science. Our concern is whether Hacking's explanatory model of SSTs is acceptable to both camps.

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