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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Ian Hacking and probability


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Ludvig Hertzberg

Photo license: CC BY-SA 3.0


Ian Hacking (1936-now) is a Canadian philosopher best known for his contributions to the philosophy of science. Wikipedia says,


"Hacking has been a main proponent of a realism about science called 'entity realism'. This form of realism encourages a realistic stance towards answers to the scientific unknowns hypothesized by mature sciences, but skepticism towards scientific theories." (Wikipedia: Ian Hacking, 7.21.21 UTC 19:10)


The post is some quotes from Hacking.




"Probability fractions arise from our knowledge and from our ignorance." (The Emergence of Probability, 1975)


"Opinion is the companion of probability within the medieval epistemology." (The Emergence of Probability, 1975)


Discovery of the truth


"Why should there be the method of science? There is not just one way to build a house, or even to grow tomatoes. We should not expect something as motley as the growth of knowledge to be strapped to one methodology." (


"I hope [to] initiate a Back-to-Bacon movement, in which we attend more seriously to experimental science. Experimentation has a life of its own." (




"There's a long and complicated story of the rise of a desire for scientific relativism. Part of it may well be simply sort of rage against reason, the fear of the sciences and a kind of total dislike of the arrogance of a great many scientists who say we're find out the truth about everything..." (Q & A with Ian Hacking on Thomas Kuhn's Legacy, 2012)


"Some of that work, with its emphasis on the idea that facts are 'socially constructed' and apparent participation in the denial of 'truth' is exactly what conservative scientists protested against. Kuhn made plain that he himself detested that development of his work." (Introductory Essay to The Structure of Scientific Revolution by Thomas Kuhn)