Ian Hacking awarded the Holberg Prize 2009

– We had to find out how to find out. That is a series of cultural discoveries in historical time. But it is not only the history of civilizations. People had to have various sorts of latent abilities that they learned how to use. Finding out how to find out is an intricate interplay between innate faculties and human history. It has had more impact on our planet than anything else we have done.

Holberg Prize laureate 2009 Ian Hackin and H.R.H Crown Princess Mette Marit
H.R.H Crown Princess Mette-Marit Awards the Holberg International Memorial Prize 2009 to Ian Hacking. minnepris 2009 til Ian Hacking. Photo: Marit Hommedal/Holberg Prize

Ian Hacking referred to a fable written by William Saroyan and focused on being curious, in his speech of thanks in Håkonshallen in Norway Wednesday 25 November 2009. See Full program for the award ceremony

Ian Hacking is Professor in Philosophy at University of Toronto and Collège de France.

This year is the sixth time that the Holberg Memorial Prize is awarded for outstanding scholarly work in the arts and humanities, social science, law and theology. The value of the prize is 700.500 Dollars (NOK 4.5 million/500.000 Euro). HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit presented the Holberg International Memorial Prize 2009.

Excerpts from the citation of the Holberg Prize Academic Committee: "Throughout his career Hacking has addressed the central philosophical question of scientific realism: whether the theoretical entities postulated by the sciences—from “electron” to “multiple personality disorder”—are real in the same way as everyday objects." (…) "His recent work ranges across topics such as obesity, race, and autism, as he continues to address the problem of human kinds. Ian Hacking’s work reverberates throughout the humanities and social sciences, reframing our understanding of the interactions between the natural and the social worlds."

The Holberg Prize, which was established by the Norwegian Parliament in 2003, is awarded annually by the Board of the Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund. Holberg Prize Laureates: Ian Hacking (2009), Fredric R. Jameson (2008), Ronald Dworkin (2007), Shmuel N. Eisenstadt (2006), Jürgen Habermas (2005), Julia Kristeva (2004).