The Social Construction of What?
The Social Construction of What?, by Ian Hacking.
If you want to think deeply about one of the most important (or at least popular) ideas in contemporary thought, then this is the book for you. Hacking offers a thoroughly thought– through and articulate middle ground on the idea of “social construction,” particularly as regards its implications for the possibility of realism. In a series of fascinating chapters he discusses the social construction of science, madness, child abuse, and rocks, elucidating the diverse ways in which claims about “social construction” are sometimes trivial, sometimes ridiculous, sometimes important. But, unfortunately, the book seems only half done; it ends a bit abruptly, petering out in two essays, unrevised from previous (and earlier) publication, that seem like loose ends, still waiting to be tied up. Would that Hacking’s energy had not flagged at the end; would, that is, that the book had been 11 constructed” a little more.
Copyright University of Virginia Winter 2000
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