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Adam Smith: Natural Theology and Its Implications for His Method of Social Inquiry

Kwangsu Kim

Review of Social Economy, 1997, vol. 55, issue 3, 312-336

Abstract: This paper sees a systematic unity between Smith's theological view and scientific study of society. Smith's theological outlook as to a benevolent deity is grasped as a metaphysical doctrine in his system of social science. It arises from the fact that while Smith's opinion concerning God's attributes is established, in the first instance, on the basis of his empirical study of nature, it also stands irrespective of other facts which are not in line with the patterns of order and design. Smith's metaphysical proposition as such is methodologically suggestive in that it proposes theoretical possibilities for progress and harmony and rules out the features of conflict at the analytic level. This implies a difficulty in subscribing to a conventional interpretation that introduces the “two Smiths's” view (the duality of his method and vision).

Keywords: Smith's natural theology; a metaphysical doctrine; a unity between natural theology and science; the “Smiths'” view (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1997
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DOI: 10.1080/00346769700000003

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