Invisible hands and the success of science

Philosophy of Science 67 (1):163-175 (2000)
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David Hull accounts for the success of science in terms of an invisible hand mechanism, arguing that it is difficult to reconcile scientists' self-interestedness or their desire for recognition with traditional philosophical explanations for the success of science. I argue that we have less reason to invoke an invisible hand mechanism to explain the success of science than Hull implies, and that many of the practices and institutions constitutive of science are intentionally designed by scientists with an eye to realizing the very goals that Hull believes need to be explained by reference to an invisible hand mechanism. Thus, I reduce the scope of Hull's invisible hand explanation and supplement it by appealing to a hidden hand explanation

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K. Brad Wray
Aarhus University


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