In 22 April 1999, Ian Hacking gives a Robert and Maurine Rothschild Lecture in which he intends to present a general panorama of his work. In this lecture he reconsiders some ideas that had taken him to the elaboration of The Emergence of Probability , and focuses on a certain type of philosophical investigation that he still considers important. A revised version of this Lecture is published in his book Historical Ontology . In both works, Hacking suggests, drawing upon researches accomplished by other authors (such as Mary Poovey's History of the Modern Fact ), that the problem of induction, formulated by Hume, is linked to a certain conception of beliefs as codes of private facts. Moreover, it would be possible to say that this historical and situated conception, fruit of certain social practices, of beliefs as codes of private facts would have given origin also to the kantian transcendental philosophy

"An even more profound philosophical difficulty occurred to Hume when he had got to the end of the Treatise - he had given no account of himself, of the "I" that gets impressions and is a unity. In his scheme of things the only impressions are particulate, and if there is a getter of impressions, it too is particulate. Whence, then, my idea of a person, of me? Kant took this so seriously that he proposed one of those massive absurdities that are the preserve of the truly great figures who take philosophical thinking reasoning seriously and plunge on: I mean the transcendental unity of apperception. Every one of my noticings of anything is accompanied by a noticing that I notice it. Thus the particulate fact. engendered transcendental philosophy" (Hacking 2002, pp. 13-14).

Not necessarily betting in the plausibility of this hypothesis (that the kantian transcendental philosophy would have been generated by the historical emergence of a category such as the 'particular fact'), Hacking, however, introduces this hypothesis as a possible example of what he calls "historical meta-epistemology", a certain type of investigation he had consider (and probably still considers) important to philosophy:

This discussion is the merest indicator of how historical meta-epistemology might bear on philosophy. [.] these thoughts are natural for me because I had the idea, in the course of writing The Emergence of Probability , that philosophical problems are created when the space of possibilities in which we organize our thoughts has mutated (2002, pp. 14).

The historical meta-epistemology or historical ontology would be an investigation of historical modifications in the space of the possibilities of thought organization. These modifications are the ones that contribute for the creation, among other things, of philosophical problems. One of the influences that woke up in Hacking the interest for such a kind of investigation was exactly the book of Foucault Les motes et les choses . I think we can still find, in this book from the 60's, elements that are very useful to the understanding of the potentialities of investigative approaches such as archeology and historical meta-epistemology. In the next sections, I will focus on these elements and on others raised by Foucault also in his book L'Archéologie du savoir .
*Este trabalho foi apresentado no simpósio "Husserl and the historical a priori of the sciences", o qual ocorreu no Instituto Max Planck, em Berlim, de 1 a 3 de julho de 2004.