Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Adam SmithSystematic Philosopher and Public Thinker$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Eric Schliesser

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190690120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190690120.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 November 2020

Philosophy of Science

Philosophy of Science

Chapter:
(p.255) 11 Philosophy of Science
Source:
Adam Smith
Author(s):

Eric Schliesser

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190690120.003.0011

This chapter articulates Adam Smith’s philosophy of science. The first section emphasizes the significance of Smith’s social conception of science—science takes place, not always comfortably, within a larger society and is itself a social enterprise in which our emotions play a crucial role. Even so, in Smith’s view science ultimately is a reason-giving enterprise, akin to how he understands the role of the impartial spectator. The second and third sections explain Smith’s attitude to theorizing and its relationship, if any, to Humean skepticism. Smith distinguishes between theory acceptance and the possibility of criticism; while he accepts fallibilism, he also embraces scientific revolutions and even instances of psychological incommensurability. His philosophy is not an embrace of Humean skepticism, but a modest realism. Finally, the chapter explores the implications of Smith’s analysis of scientific systems as machines.

Keywords:   Adam Smith, skepticism, philosophy of science, fallibilism, scientific revolution

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .