Ian Hacking

Ian Hacking, philosopher

I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1936. I am married to Judith Baker, who teaches at Glendon College, York University, Toronto. We live in central Toronto, which retains parts of its late Victorian residential core. We are proud of our small inner city garden with its bountiful yield of heirloom tomatoes and pole beans of many varieties.

Aside from the garden, our preferred relaxation is hill-walking. For the story of our ten day walk in the high Andes a few years ago, 2009, see this piece in the London Review of Books. That is probably the last really demanding long walk that we will take. On the left is what we looked like, then, at about 14,000 feet. On the right is a solo, to give a better idea of the Andes.


I have three children and seven grandchildren by a previous marriage.

For a suggestion of why I think and write philosophy in the way that I do, see the remarks about education here.

I retired from the Collège de France at the mandatory age of 70, in 2006. So I am now Professeur honoraire, Chaire de philosophie et histoire des concepts scientifiques, and University Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto. Fairly complete texts of several courses of lectures at the Collège are available here.

Throughout my tenure at the Collège I had a full time assistant, Marc Kirsch, who was invaluable. Even if you have no interest in the lectures, you might enjoy the slides he made for my 2004 course, "Body and Soul at the beginning of the 21st Century", especially La mort cérébrale, Les artistes du corps, and L'usage des cadavres.

This is David Levine's vision of me as a (very determined) mad traveler. It accompanied Rosemary Dinnage's review of Mad Travelers in the New York Review of Books, 20 January, 2000.


Here is what I look like lecturing. I am in Bergen in 2009, addressing a duck-rabbit drawn by Dagfinn Føllesdal at the events connected with the Holberg prize.


Once upon a time:
Holding a banner during the Aldermaston March, Easter, 1960. Photo Globe and Mail.

Aldermaston March