Adam Smith : a relationship between metaphysics and science
This thesis is basically in line with a common standpoint according to which Adam Smith's methodology deserves to be given the main priority in order to understand best his system of moral philosophy or `social science' in a modern sense. In this connection Smith's `metaphysics' is treated as an extremely important element to which our attention has to be drawn when we are concerned with his system of social science. This point of view differs primarily from an interpretative framework which seems to be still influential; a perspective from which a linkage between metaphysics and science is ignored. Instead, this work is based on the argument that metaphysics which may be defined as confirmable yet irrefutable (thus extra-scientific) doctrines is at work in the background of scientific activities in such as way that the former proposes an outline of scientific research in terms of providing a general outlook whereby a coherent type of data may be sorted out, arranged and organized. The `predominant' aim of this work on the basis of the view just mentioned is to seek a linkage between Smith's study of natural theology, which is responsible for providing an influential metaphysical doctrine, and other disciplines such as ethics and economics in his scheme of moral philosophy. I begin by identifying Smith's three metaphysical doctrines, the doctrine of mechanistic determinism, organismic philosophy, and the belief in a benevolent God (Chapter 2). Chapter 3 is designed to identify Smith's metatheoretical principles which, in conjunction with his metaphysics which is rooted in his theological outlook, serve to regulate or shape his `theoretical' analysis of man and society.