Karl Mittermaier, Adam Smith, and Economic Methodology: A Comment on "The Invisible Hand and Some Thoughts on the Non-Existent in What We Study"

Schumacher, Reinhard and Melissa Vegara-Fernández (2019): "Karl Mittermaier, Adam Smith, and Economic Methodology: »A Comment on The Invisible Hand and Some Thoughts on the Non-Existent in What We Study«," Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, Vol. 139(1),

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See all articles by Reinhard Schumacher

Reinhard Schumacher

Universität Potsdam

Melissa Vergara-Fernández

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE)

Date Written: January 22, 2021

Abstract

This article is a comment on Karl Mittermaier’s article The Invisible Hand and Some Thoughts on the Non-Existent in What We Study, written in the early 1990s, but published only now. In this article, Mittermaier attempts to make two contributions. First, he provides a novel interpretation of Adam Smith’s well-known expression of the invisible hand, thereby highlighting a rather neglected method in Smith’s works. He uses this interpretation to introduce a methodological argument that “fictions may play a vital, or even essential, role in economic analysis”, touching on Roy Bhaskar’s New Realism, or Critical Realism, as it would be described today, as well as on Austrian Economics. This is his second contribution. We discuss both contributions, especially in the light of newer scholarship on Adam Smith and in the Philosophy of Economics.

Keywords: Adam Smith, Karl Mittermaier, Invisible Hand, Roy Bhaskar, Philosophy of Economics, Economic Methodology, Austrian Economics

Suggested Citation

Schumacher, Reinhard and Vergara Fernández, Melissa, Karl Mittermaier, Adam Smith, and Economic Methodology: A Comment on "The Invisible Hand and Some Thoughts on the Non-Existent in What We Study" (January 22, 2021). Schumacher, Reinhard and Melissa Vegara-Fernández (2019): "Karl Mittermaier, Adam Smith, and Economic Methodology: »A Comment on The Invisible Hand and Some Thoughts on the Non-Existent in What We Study«," Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, Vol. 139(1),, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Melissa Vergara Fernández

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
EIPE Office, Room H5-23
3000 Dr Rotterdam
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.mvergarafernandez.nl

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