Does algorithmic political bias contribute to an entrenchment and polarization of political positions? Franke argues that it may do so because the bias involves classifications of people as liberals, conservatives, etc., and individuals often conform to the ways in which they are classified. I provide a novel example of this phenomenon in human–computer interactions and introduce a social psychological mechanism that has been overlooked in this context but should be experimentally explored. Furthermore, while Franke proposes that algorithmic political classifications entrench (...) political identities, I contend that they may often produce the opposite result. They can lead people to change in ways that disconfirm the classifications. Consequently and counterintuitively, algorithmic political bias can in fact decrease political entrenchment and polarization. (shrink)
Claims that science may become 'self-fulfilling' through its impact on objects of study have recently risen to prominence. Despite radical statements about the supposed consequences of such accounts, however, the central notion of scientific self-fulfillment has remained obscure, leading to skewed views of its actual prevalence and significance. -/- Self-Fulfilling Science illuminates this underexplored phenomenon, drawing on insights from philosophy of science to address questions of its conceptualization, prevalence, and significance. The book critically engages with the popular notion that economic (...) theories of homo economicus exhibit self-fulfillment, and explores its relevance to various metaphysical, ethical, and epistemic issues. Extreme claims of fundamental incompatibility with our usual notions of scientific success are ill-founded. Instead, self-fulfillment’s true epistemic significance lies in more local, nuanced philosophical issues such as theory evaluation and the thesis of underdetermination. -/- In presenting a novel framework, this book facilitates deeper engagement with the developing field of self-fulfilling science and is of interest to philosophers of science, social scientists, and social constructionists. (shrink)
Real kinds, both natural and social categories, are characterized by rich inductive potential. They have relatively stable sets of conceptually independent projectable properties. Somewhat surprisingly, even some purely social categories show such multiple projectability. The article explores the origin of the inductive richness of social categories and concepts. I argue that existing philosophical accounts provide only a partial explanation, and mechanisms of boundary formation and stabilization must be brought into view for a more comprehensive account of inductively rich social categories.
Winner of the 2020 Essay Competition of the International Social Ontology Society. -/- Ian Hacking uses the looping effect to describe how classificatory practices in the human sciences interact with the classified people. While arguably this interaction renders the affected human kinds unstable and hence different from natural kinds, realists argue that also some prototypical natural kinds are interactive and human kinds in general are stable enough to support explanations and predictions. I defend a more fine-grained realist interpretation of interactive (...) human kinds by arguing for an explanatory domain account of the looping effect. First, I argue that knowledge of the feedback mechanisms that mediate the looping effect can supplement, and help to identify, the applicability domain over which a kind and its property variations are stably explainable. Second, by applying this account to cross-cultural case studies of psychiatric disorders, I distinguish between congruent feedback mechanisms that explain matches between classifications and kinds, and incongruent feedback mecha- nisms that explain mismatches. For example, congruent mechanisms maintain Western auditory experiences in schizophrenia, whereas exporting diagnostic labels inflicts incongruence by influencing local experiences. Knowledge of the mechanisms can strengthen explanatory domains, and thereby facilitate classificatory adjustments and possible interventions on psychiatric disorders. (shrink)
Ideology is commonly defined along functional, epistemic, and genetic dimensions. This article advances a reasonably unified account that specifies how they connect and locates the mechanisms at work. I frame the account along a recent distinction between anchoring and grounding, endorse an etiological reading of functional explanations, and draw on current work about the epistemology of delusion, looping effects, and structuring causes to explain how ideologies originate, reproduce, and possibly collapse. This eventually allows articulating how the legitimating function of ideologies (...) relates to the constitutive and causal role they play when embedded into the facts they are originally designed to anchor. (shrink)
This article argues that the works of Michel Foucault and Erving Goffman are complementary, specifically in their analyses of disciplinary power. This analysis would be what Foucault calls a ‘micro-physics’ of power. Micro-physics is an important concept even in Foucault’s later lectures, but it remains a sub-discipline of genealogy Foucault himself never pursues. Goffman’s works, which rely upon notions of social performance, personal spaces, and the construction of the self through these, fulfill the conditions of micro-physical analysis well. Using Goffman’s (...) works, I argue that his style of ethnographic analysis helps clarify certain fundamental questions about disciplinary power left unquestioned in Foucault’s works—namely, the ‘internalization of the gaze’ and its ‘spontaneous’ efficiency. I conclude that disciplinary power is not actually a process of internalization at all, but a systematic divestment of the subject’s access to the external processes and spaces on which the production and performance of his ‘self’ depends. (shrink)
The starting point of the following inquiry addresses John Searle’s and Ian Hacking’s most prominent critique of contemporary “constructionism” in the 1990s. It is stimulated by the astonishing fact that neither Hacking nor Searle take into account Peter Berger’s and Thomas Luckmann’s classical essay and sociological masterpiece The Social Construction of Reality in their contributions. Critically revisiting Searle’s and Hacking’s critique on the so-called constructivist approach, the article demonstrates that both authors have failed to put forth a sociologically valid understanding (...) of the approach in question. The following analysis aims to deconstruct the conceptualizations offered by Searle and Hacking, and to reconstruct and defend the original sense of the term “social construction” as most prominently introduced by Berger and Luckmann to sociology, and social sciences in general. (shrink)
When Ian Hacking won the Holberg International Memorial Prize 2009 his candidature was said to strengthen the legitimacy of the prize after years of controversy. Ole Jacob Madsen, Johannes Servan and Simen Andersen Øyen have talked to Ian Hacking about current questions in the philosophy and history of science.
Human behavior is not always independent of the ways in which humans are scientifically classified. That there are looping effects of human kinds has been used as an argument for the methodological separation of the natural and the human sciences and to justify social constructionist claims. We suggest that these arguments rely on false presuppositions and present a mechanisms-based account of looping that provides a better way to understand the phenomenon and its theoretical and philosophical implications.
This paper examines the phenomenon of ‘interactive kinds’ first identified by Ian Hacking. An interactive kind is one that is created or significantly modified once a concept of it has been formulated and acted upon in certain ways. Interactive kinds may also ‘loop back’ to influence our concepts and classifications. According to Hacking, interactive kinds are found exclusively in the human domain. After providing a general account of interactive kinds and outlining their philosophical significance, I argue that they are not (...) confined to the human realm, but that they can also occur elsewhere. Hence, I conclude by arguing that interactive kinds pose a challenge to scientific realism about kinds by making it difficult to make a distinction between real and non-real kinds. (shrink)
This paper examines Ian Hacking's analysis of the looping effects of psychiatric classifications, focusing on his recent account of interactive and indifferent kinds. After explicating Hacking's distinction between 'interactive kinds' (human kinds) and 'indifferent kinds' (natural kinds), I argue that Hacking cannot claim that there are 'interactive and indifferent kinds,' given the way that he introduces the interactive-indifferent distinction. Hacking is also ambiguous on whether his notion of interactive and indifferent kinds is supposed to offer an account of classifications or (...) objects of classification. I argue that these conceptual difficulties show that Hacking's account of interactive and indifferent kinds cannot be based on - and should be clearly separated from - his distinction between interactive kinds and indifferent kinds. In clarifying Hacking's account, I argue that interactive and indifferent kinds should be regarded as objects of classification (i.e., kinds of people) that can be identified with reference to a law-like biological regularity and are aware of how they are classified. Schizophrenia and depression are discussed as examples. I subsequently offer reasons for resisting Hacking's claim that the objects of classification in the human sciences - as a result of looping effects - are 'moving targets'. (shrink)