Beyond natural selection and divine intervention: The Lamarckian implication of Adam Smith's invisible hand

Elias Lafi Khalil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Adam Smith's invisible hand metaphor (IH) is examined in light of two different accounts of the origin of traits: Charles Darwin's theory of evolutionary optimization and William Paley's theory of divine intervention. Smith's stand supersedes both accounts. For Smith, intermediating drives, such as the sexual one, neither arise accidentally and favored according to their fitness à la Darwin nor planted by the Deity à la Paley. For Smith, such drives are adopted in light of their ultimate end. Smith did not provide an account of how the drives are connected to their far-reaching, invisible beneficial ends or why do agents become dimly aware of that causality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373 - 394
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Admiration and social rank
  • Class-biased viewpoint
  • General rules
  • Organization order
  • Origin-from-accident
  • Origin-from-Deity
  • Origin-from-purposeful-action
  • Parent-child love
  • Public image
  • Stoicism
  • Sympathy

Cite this