Hacking confusion

There seems to be something difficult to accept with Hacking’s distinctions regarding multiple personality disorder and high-functioning autism (see sentences A and B on printed page 3 and 5). Does Hacking think that autism existed in 1950 while multiple personality disorder did not exist in 1955 because autism was conceptualized prior to 1950, and multiple personality disorder was not conceptualized prior to 1955? If this is true, I think his absolute statement (i.e. “There were no multiple personalities in 1955…”)  cannot be right. Just as Hacking thinks it is absurd to say that autism did not exist before 1950, the same can be said for multiple personality disorder. What seems to be at issue is a hermeneutical gap rather than the lack of the disease altogether. It is an epistemic issue (an injustice, perhaps) that distinguishes multiple personality disorder from autism, multiple personality disorder merely being latent as a result of a lack of being termed. To introduce a separate example, I think the same can be said for postpartum depression; a conceptual lack was simply the result of hermeneutical hiatus. As such, I do not see a difference between multiple personality disorder and autism regarding the pedantic distinctions Hacking makes. Further, if A is false in both cases, why does the distinction have to be made in the first place, since the looping effect would remain the same?

P.S. Am I reading Hacking wrong?!


About kristavidechak

Philosophy PhD, practicing yogi, social worker
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