, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 81-84
Date: 24 Nov 2012

Lisa M. Hermsen, Manic Minds: Mania’s Mad History and Its Neuro-Future

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In his recent Historical Ontology (2002, 23), Ian Hacking posits his existentialist project as one principally concerned with “the ways in which the possibilities for choice, and for being, arise in history”. For Hacking, such a philosophical-historical project would revolve around the “analysis of concepts,” with the acknowledgement that “a concept is nothing other than a word in its sites.” The method for such analysis, therefore, requires “attending to a variety of types of sites: the sentences in which the word is actually (not potentially) used, those who speak those sentences, with what authority, in what institutional settings, in order to influence whom, with what consequences for the speakers”. The ethical consideration accompanying such an analysis is the acknowledgment that concepts perform multiply in their rhetorical sites—and might, with certain historical consciousness, perform otherwise.

Lisa M. Hermsen adopts Hacking’s methodology in her recent Mania’s Mad History and i ...