Ian Hacking, Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory (1976)
Edition used: Princeton
Here is a link to this lecture with the slides: Mediasite at UBC
Here is a the video of the lecture on YouTube, but it does not have the slides with it:
Here is the link to the presentation, with slides, on a different player: Mediasite (video plus slides)
- In the Introduction to Rewriting the Soul, Hacking states that he is interested in a Foucauldian methodology (Hacking 4). Discuss similarities (and differences, if relevant) between Hacking’s and Foucault’s approaches.
- “People classified in a certain way tend to conform to or grow into the ways that they are described.” (Hacking 21) If Hacking is correct about the looping effect of human kinds, is it possible for us to gain self-knowledge?
- What does Hacking’s discussion of the shift in meaning of the term “trauma” from a physical to a psychological phenomenon reveal about the relationship between language and memoro-politics?
- Discuss what Hacking means when he claims that there is indeterminacy of the past. What are the implications of Hacking’s claim that we are able to recall the past in a way that creates a genuinely new present experience?
- Discuss Hacking’s treatment of history and the self. You may if you wish compare to Trouillot’s account of history.
- Compare Hacking’s view of the self with Nietzsche’s understanding of selfhood.
- Hacking is a philosophical historian of science, and yet one of his key terms is drawn not from science but from theology. Why does Hacking use the term “soul” instead of “self” and to what end?
- “New meanings change the past. It is reinterpreted, yes, but more than that, it is reorganized, repopulated. It becomes filled with new actions, new intentions, new events that caused us to be as we are. I have to discuss not only making up people but making up ourselves by reworking our memories” (Hacking 6). Explain what Hacking means by “making up ourselves” and discuss how we can see this happening in one of the other texts we’ve read so far.