Canadian Professor of Philosophy recipient of 2009 Holberg Prize
The Holberg International Memorial Prize is awarded annually to researchers who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of the arts and humanities, social sciences, law or theology. This year's prizewinner is Ian Hacking, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, Canada, and Collège de France in Paris, France.
"Ian Hacking is a preeminent philosopher and historian of the sciences," reads the awards committee citation. "His analysis has profoundly altered our understanding of the ways in which key concepts emerge through scientific practices and in specific social and institutional contexts. His work lays bare the normative and social implications of the natural and the social sciences."
Professor Hacking is known especially for his historical and philosophical approach to science. Throughout his career, he 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
The professor considers his key long-term project to be his work on understanding the ways in which distinctive styles of scientific thinking have arisen from the early development of ancient mathematics, through the hypothetical modelling of the universe (Galileo), laboratory thinking, and taxonomic classification (Linnaeus) to probabilistic reasoning.
Awards ceremony in Bergen
Professor Hacking will travel to Norway to accept the prize on 25 November at Håkonshallen (Haakon's Hall), a 13th-century stone hall built as part of the royal complex in Bergen, which was capital of Norway at the time.
Also to be awarded at the ceremony is the 2009 Nils Klim Prize - to David Bloch, whose research areas are Greek and Latin philology as well as the history of ancient and medieval philosophy at the the SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen. The Nils Klim Prize derives its name from Ludvig Holberg's only novel, The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground.
Ludvig Holberg and the Holberg Prize
Ludvig Holberg, aka Baron of Holberg (1684-1754), was a Norwegian-born author who spent most of his adult life in Denmark. He was influenced by Humanism, the Enlightenment and the Baroque. Although he was a philosopher and historian, Holberg is best known for his fictional works.
The Holberg Prize has been awarded annually since 2004.
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