Interactive Kinds

Larval Subjects .

Every once in a while you come across a concept that puts in words something that’s been on the tip of your tongue for years but which you’ve never quite been able to articulate. Ian Hacking’s concept of interactive kinds is, for me, an example of such a concept. In his discussion of social construction talk in The Social Construction of What?, Hacking is careful to emphasize that such talk generally refers to the construction of our categories (kinds), not the individuals or entities that are grouped under these categories. It is not, for example, my cat Tabby that is constructed, but the kind or category “cat”.

What is interesting here is not the construction of categories or kinds themselves, but rather the relationship between the constructed kind and the entities that fall over them. Hacking distinguishes between two different kinds: indifferent kinds and interactive kinds. In the case…

View original post 827 more words