On Ian Hacking’s Notion of Style of Reasoning

Erkenntnis 82 (2):243-264 (2017)
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The analytical notion of ‘scientific style of reasoning’, introduced by Ian Hacking in the middle of the 1980s, has become widespread in the literature of the history and philosophy of science. However, scholars have rarely made explicit the philosophical assumptions and the research objectives underlying the notion of style: what are its philosophical roots? How does the notion of style fit into the area of research of historical epistemology? What does a comparison between Hacking’s project on styles of thinking and other similar projects suggest? My aim in this paper is to answer these questions. Hacking has denied that his project of styles of thinking falls into the field of historical epistemology. I shall challenge his remark by tracing out the connections of the notion of style with historical epistemology and, more in general, with a tradition of thought born in France in the beginning of twentieth-century.
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