The Invisible Hand and Science

Science Studies 8 (2):32-43 (1995)
In this paper I will discuss the idea of the invisible hand in the connection of its recent use in the philosophy of science. It has been invoked by some philosophers of science with a naturalistic bent as a part of their account of science. Some have made explicit references to the idea (Hull, 1988a) and others have only presupposed it (Giere, 1988; Goldman, 1991; Kitcher, 1993). I will argue that there are some problematic features in the way the idea of the invisible hand isused inthese accounts. I will first discuss some general properties of the invisible hand explanations and then present some motives for its use in the theory of science. Then I will show how one particular philosopher of science, David Hull, uses the idea. I will use Hull's account as a practising target and offer some comments and criticism in order to promote more disciplined use of this model of explanation in science studies.
Keywords invisible hand  social epistemology
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José Luis Luján, Oliver Todt & Juan Bautista Bengoetxea (forthcoming). Mechanistic Information as Evidence in Decision-Oriented Science. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-14.
Aki Lehtinen (2009). Intentions in Invisible-Hand Accounts. Journal of Economic Methodology 16 (4):409-416.

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John D. Bishop (1995). Adam Smith's Invisible Hand Argument. Journal of Business Ethics 14 (3):165 - 180.
Aki Lehtinen (2009). Intentions in Invisible-Hand Accounts. Journal of Economic Methodology 16 (4):409-416.

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