The term ‘invisible hand’ is perhaps the most famous phrase to have emerged from the political philosophy of Adam Smith. The significance of the concept has been the subject of much scholarly discussion and its supposed implications the target of intense critical attacks. The purpose of the present study is to attempt to make visible the invisible hand and, hopefully, to illuminate the core concept of Smith’s political thought. The aim of this book is to clarify with some precision the meaning of the term invisible hand and the related, modern concept of spontaneous order. It will be argued that spontaneous order thought represents a distinctive approach to social theory; and the aim of the study will be to identify its core principles and to develop a conceptual model of this approach. By identifying the key features of a spontaneous order approach as they appear in the work of the two most significant groups of spontaneous order theorists – the Scottish Enlightenment and the twentieth-century classical liberal revival – the book will build a composite model of the application of the approach to the explanation of science, morality, law and government and the market. The analysis will concentrate on spontaneous order as a descriptive approach to social theory rather than as an offshoot of attempts to justify liberal principles. As a result it will be demonstrated that the use of spontaneous order as an explanatory social theory is prior to, and a prerequisite for, the use of invisible hand arguments to justify liberal institutions.