Ian Hacking teaches philosophy at the University of Toronto. From 2000 to 2006 Hacking held the chair of Philosophy and History of Scientific Concepts at the Collège de France. His most recent book is Historical Ontology.


A New Way to See a Leaf

Mindsight: Image, Dream, Meaning

by Colin McGinn
It is autumn. All around, the leaves are blown. Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red. We may disagree a bit, perhaps, about the hectic red. For you, that is a bit over the top. Why invoke a fevered hue when this splendid maple leaf is just plain bright …

Minding the Brain

Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain

by Antonio Damasio
Antonio Damasio is a distinguished neuroscientist with a flair for writing about science and an enthusiasm for philosophizing. For decades, students of mind and brain concentrated on “cognition”—perceiving, recognizing, naming, classifying, speaking, generalizing, reasoning, solving problems—and on various types of memory. Damasio pioneered the neurology of another aspect of our …

Our Fellow Animals

The Lives of Animals

by J.M. Coetzee

Ethics into Action: Henry Spira and the Animal Rights Movement

by Peter Singer
Life on a factory farm is well-nigh unbearable for the animals or birds, and it is often foul for the women and men who process the meat that results—especially in factories for chicken parts. But do not sentimentalize. Do not imagine barnyard life is a bowl of cherries. Here is …

Mind Over Matter

Mesmerized: Powers of Mind in Victorian Britain

by Alison Winter
The most astonishing scene in Alison Winter’s book takes place in the Calcutta Native Hospital in 1846. All the employees, right down to the cook, have been taught to “mesmerize” patients to the point where they are in a state of complete anesthesia. (To mesmerize may be to hypnotize, a …

In Pursuit of Fairness

Inequality Reexamined

by Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen is best known to the general reader for his powerful essays on famine. He is an optimist about some of our gravest economic problems, such as mass starvation in a world that at present can easily produce more food than everyone can eat. Reason and voluntary participation are …

When the Atom Broke Down

Inward Bound: Of Matter and Forces in the Physical World

by Abraham Pais
Inward Bound is a sweeping narrative of the history and present state of atomic physics. It is something of an official history, explaining what, in the opinion of the physics community, is known, and how it came to be known. Pais was a distinguished participant in a number of the …

Science Turned Upside Down

Revolution in Science

by I. Bernard Cohen
The word “revolution” first brings to mind violent upheavals in the state, but ideas of revolution in science, and of political revolution, are almost coeval. The word once meant only a revolving, a circular return to an origin, as when we speak of revolutions per minute or the revolution of …