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Don Ross [122]Donald L. Ross [3]Donald Ross [1]
  1. Don Ross, Do Evolutionary Accounts of Morality Imply Quiet Policies?
    There are many general economic policies I favour such that I would feel significantly ashamed were I to succumb to bribery, or to institutional pressure short of physical threat, to publicly support their opposites. Here are a few of these policies: (1) Rich countries should not impose trade barriers, including subsidies for their own producers, against imports from poor countries. (2) Leaders of poor countries should be regarded as irresponsible when they imply to their people that their economic difficulties arise (...)
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  2. Don Ross, Reply to Hands: On the Robbins-Samuelson Argument Pattern.
    The paper replies to Wade Hands’s recent criticism of one part of my 2005 book, Economic Theory and Cognitive Science: Microexplanation (ETCS). Hands argues that my association of my view of the foundations of microeconomics with aspects of the thought of Lionel Robbins and Paul Samuelson is gratuitous and historically misleading. I argue in turn that Hands’s general criticism rests on his ignoring the fact that my treatment of both Robbins and Samuelson is explicitly critical. On Robbins, I argue that (...)
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  3. Don Ross, Zero-Sum (Constant Sum) _or Are _Interests Partially Aligned?
    If one player’s gain is exactly equivalent to another’s loss, the game is said to be zero-sum. For example, football: every improvement of position for one team is an exactly corresponding deterioration for the other team. On the other hand, a buyer and a supplier haggling over a price is not a zero-sum game, since the parties hope to mutually gain.
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  4. David Spurrett, Jacques Rousseau & Don Ross, Reward Discounting and Severity of Disordered Gambling in a South African Population.
    People differ in the extent to which they discount the values of future rewards. Behavioural economists measure these differences in terms of functions that describe rates of reduced valuation in the future – temporal discounting – as these vary with time. They measure differences in preference for risk – differing rates of probability discounting – in terms of similar functions that describe reduced valuation of rewards as the probability of their delivery falls. So-called ‘impulsive’ people, including people disposed to addiction, (...)
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  5. Don Ross, Author's Personal Copy.
    Addiction may or may not be a highly prevalent condition, but the concept of addiction is undeniably ubiquitous. From the people who cheerfully and publicly announce their addiction to coffee, or chocolate, or shopping, to those who ruefully and perhaps only in very special settings admit their addiction to alcohol or drugs, ‘‘addiction” is an oft-invoked explanatory frame for the presentation and characterization of individual behavior. Lately, it has even been applied to the behavior of super-personal entities, as in America’s (...)
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  6. Don Ross, Economics, Cognitive Science and Social Cognition.
    I discuss the role of economics in the study of social cognition. A currently popular view is that microeconomics should collapse into psychology partly because cognitive science has shown that valuation is constitutively social, whereas non-psychological economics insists that it is not. In the paper I resist this view, partly by reference to the relevant history of economic theory, and partly by reference to an alternative model of the way in which that theory complements, without reducing to, psychological accounts of (...)
     
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  7. Don Ross, Economic Theory, Anti-Economics, and Political Ideology.
    Economics is the only established discipline that is regularly charged not just with including ideologically motivated research programs and hypotheses, but with actually being (at least in its institutionalized mainstream form) an ideology. As Coleman (2002) documents, this charge has followed economics since its modern inception as ‘political economy’ in the eighteenth century. There is a veritable tradition of what Coleman calls ‘anti-economics’, most famously populated by people such as Ruskin and Carlyle, and extending in the contemporary environment to include (...)
     
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  8. Don Ross, In Defense of Standard Welfare Measurement.
    This paper critically discusses Amartya Sen’s case for broadening the basket of wellbeing indicators in development policy beyond income and consumption expenditure. I first argue that, contrary to what Sen has suggested, the theoretical and practical motivations that he gives for this do not form a mutually complementary set. In the second, policy-focused, part of the paper I present problems Sen’s approach to measurement raises in the context of a case study from rural South Africa. I conclude by suggesting that (...)
     
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  9. Don Ross, Integrating the Dynamics of Multi-Level Economic Agency.
    Three recent book-length studies in the philosophy of economics (Mirowski 2002, Davis 2003, Ross 2005) have drawn attention to the fact that mainstream economic theory has consistently avoided commitment to any particular model of the person. This is the most significant respect in which economics has kept aloof from part of psychology. The widespread belief, on the other hand, that economists’ attentiveness to the psychology of choice and decision had to wait for the Allais challenge and then for Kahneman and (...)
     
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  10. Don Ross, 'Millennium Plus' Community Development for South Africa.
    Of crucial importance to all parts of the transport services and materials sector in South Africa is the way in which the Government chooses to implement its ambitious plans to reinvest in the country’s basic infrastructure. How will it navigate competing demands from urban and rural environments, given the divergent economics that describe them? How will it balance the goals of poverty fighting, skills empowerment, and keeping SA internationally competitive, as it considers infrastructure project options?
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  11. Don Ross, Naturalism: The Place of Society in Nature.
    ‘Naturalism’ about the ontology of society can most blandly be characterized as the belief that social phenomena are among the class of natural phenomena. Contemporary scholars are apt to regard this thesis as bland because its denial seems quaint at best, if not outright unhinged, after a century and a half of development in the social sciences. There has, however, been a powerful tradition in (at least) Western culture that has understood the ‘artificial’ as a primary contrast class with the (...)
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  12. Don Ross, Robbins, Positivism and the Demarcation of Economics From Psychology.
    This paper argues that the most common reading of Robbins’s Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science in the methodology literature, according to which it was an historical foil for subsequent positivist-empiricist ideas, underestimates its contemporary relevance. In light of recent scholarship on 1930s positivism in philosophy, Robbins’s Essay is better interpreted as representing an attitude I call ‘broad positivism’, which remains a live option in contemporary philosophy of science. In consequence, the basis of Robbins’s preference for clear (...)
     
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  13. Don Ross, South Africa!S Fruit Processing Industry: Competitiveness Factors and the Case for Sector-Specific Industrial Policy Measures.
    The aim of this report is to consider feasible conditions under which South Africa!!" processed (e.g., canned and other packaged) fruit industry would be internationally competitive and a profitable site of investment, and therefore able to resume a pattern of growth from which it departed in the early part of the present decade. This is in service of the wider aim of identifying, in a subsequent phase of the project, appropriate industrial policy measures which Government might put in place to (...)
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  14. Don Ross, South African Road Surfacing Policy, International Oil Price Changes, and the Shadow Pricing of Costs and Benefits.
    Writing in the Business Day on 2 October 2007, economics journalist Hilary Joffe notes that “it was not long ago that there was a famine of infrastructure investment [in South Africa]; now there’s a feast, with each new week bringing reports of new projects and new, much higher estimates of the totals to be spent in years to come.” Joffe expresses enthusiasm about this, for reasons with which we agree: The infrastructure feast has already helped to raise SA’s investment ratio (...)
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  15. Don Ross, The Economic Agent: Not Human, but Important.
    Critics of mainstream economics typically rest important weight on the differences between people and the 'agents' that populate economic theory and economic models. Hollis and Nell (1975) is both representative of and ancestral to many more recent variations on the theme. Lately, the upgraded status of behavioral economics (BE) within the discipline's mainstream has encouraged a number of writers to use revolutionary rhetoric in promotion of a 'paradigm shift' that includes the rejection of 'rational economic man' (Ormerod 1994, Heilbroner and (...)
     
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  16. Don Ross, The Wto, Unfair Trade and Development.
    There may not be many points of consensus over what best promotes economic development, but here is one that has formed over the past decade: the institutional context matters a lot. This represents the single greatest shift in economic thinking about development since World War II, for there once was an almost equally clear consensus that institutions..
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  17. Don Ross (forthcoming). Critical Notice of Ron McClamrock "Existential Cognition". Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
    McClamrock argues for a thesis he calls radical externalism' in the behavioral and cognitive sciences. In my paper, I contend that McClamrock's thesis, though true, is not radical. This is because he urges externalism with respect to cognitive task-individuation and task-explanation, both of which are standard practice in the relevant disciplines. Semantic externalism may remain contentious, I argue; but the sense in which philosophers continue to argue about it has little bearing on the actual conduct of cognitive science. I conclude (...)
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  18. Don Ross (forthcoming). I Why Law Might Be About Efficiency: Philosophical Foundations. Jurisprudence:186.
     
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  19. Don Ross (forthcoming). Psychological Versus Economic Models of Bounded Rationality. Journal of Economic Methodology:1-17.
    That the rationality of individual people is ?bounded? ? that is, finite in scope and representational reach, and constrained by the opportunity cost of time ? cannot reasonably be controversial as an empirical matter. In this context, the paper addresses the question as to why, if economics is an empirical science, economists introduce bounds on the rationality of agents in their models only grudgingly and partially. The answer defended in the paper is that most economists are interested primarily in markets (...)
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  20. Donald L. Ross (forthcoming). The Text of Augustine's Confessions X 40.65. Hermes.
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  21. Don Ross (2014). Economics is All Over the Map. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (1):98-99.
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  22. Don Ross (2014). Theory of Conditional Games. Journal of Economic Methodology 21 (2):193-198.
  23. James Ladyman & Don Ross (2013). 1. Science and Fundamental Ontology. In Don Ross, James Ladyman & Harold Kincaid (eds.), Scientific Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. 108.
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  24. Don Ross (2013). Action-Oriented Predictive Processing and the Neuroeconomics of Sub-Cognitive Reward. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (3):225-226.
    Clark expresses reservations about Friston's reductive interpretation of action-oriented predictive processing (AOPP) models of cognition, but he doesn't link these reservations to specific alternatives. Neuroeconomic models of sub-cognitive reward valuation, which, like AOPP, integrate attention with action based on prediction error, are such an alternative. They interpret reward valuation as an input to neocortical processing instead of reducing it.
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  25. Don Ross (2013). Forgiveness is Institutionally Mediated, Not an Isolable Modular Output. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (1):35 - 36.
    McCullough et al. recognize that revenge and forgiveness jointly constitute a functional strategic complex. However, they model the halves of the complex as outputs of modules selected for regulating dyadic relationships. This is backwards. Forgiveness is a culturally evolved institution that can be exapted for use in dyadic contexts; it would be cheap talk among dyads were it not for the shadow of society.
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  26. Don Ross (2013). The Evolution of Individualistic Norms. In Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott & Ben Fraser (eds.), Cooperation and its Evolution. MIT Press. 17.
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  27. Don Ross & James Ladyman (2013). Quantum Probability, Choice in Large Worlds, and the Statistical Structure of Reality. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (3):305-306.
    Classical probability models of incentive response are inadequate in where the dimensions of relative risk and the dimensions of similarity in outcome comparisons typically differ. Quantum probability models for choice in large worlds may be motivated pragmatically or metaphysically: statistical processing in the brain adapts to the true scale-relative structure of the universe.
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  28. Don Ross, James Ladyman & Harold Kincaid (eds.) (2013). Scientific Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
    Original essays by leading philosophers of science explore the question of whether metaphysics can and should be naturalized--conducted as part of natural science.
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  29. Don Ross (2012). Coordination and the Foundations of Social Intelligence. In Harold Kincaid (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Social Science. Oxford University Press. 481.
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  30. Don Ross (2012). Getting Economics Exactly Backwards. Dialogue 51 (3):495-502.
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  31. Don Ross (2012). Individuals and Identity in Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (4):446-451.
    Journal of Economic Methodology, Volume 19, Issue 4, Page 446-451, December 2012.
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  32. Don Ross (2012). Notes on Coordination, Game Theory and the Evolutionary Basis of Language. Interaction Studies 13 (1):50-65.
    It is widely appreciated that establishment and maintenance of coordination are among the key evolutionary promoters and stabilizers of human language. In consequence, it is also generally recognized that game theory is an important tool for studying these phenomena. However, the best known game theoretic applications to date tend to assimilate linguistic communication with signaling. The individualistic philosophical bias in Western social ontology makes signaling seem more challenging than it really is, and thus focuses attention on theoretical problems - for (...)
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  33. Don Ross (2012). Special Human Vulnerability to Low-Cost Collective Punishment. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (1):37-38.
    Guala notes that low-cost punishment is the main mechanism that deters free-riding in small human communities. This mechanism is complemented by unusual human vulnerability to gossip. Defenders of an evolutionary discontinuity supporting human sociality might seize on this as an alternative to enjoyment of moralistic aggression as a special adaptation. However, the more basic adaptation of language likely suffices.
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  34. Don Ross (2012). What Can Economics Contribute to the Study of Human Evolution? Biology and Philosophy 27 (2):287-297.
    The revised edition of Paul Seabright’s The Company of Strangers is critically reviewed. Seabright aims to help non-economists participating in the cross-disciplinary study of the evolution of human sociality appreciate the potential value that can be added by economists. Though the book includes nicely constructed and vivid essays on a range of economic topics, in its main ambition it largely falls short. The most serious problem is endorsement of the so-called strong reciprocity hypothesis that has been promoted by several prominent (...)
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  35. Don Ross (2011). Estranged Parents and a Schizophrenic Child: Choice in Economics, Psychology and Neuroeconomics. Journal of Economic Methodology 18 (3):217-231.
    Gul and Pesendorfer provide the best-known and most strident of a set of recent backlashes by economists against methodological revolutions promoted by some behavioural economists and neuroeconomists. Philosophers are likely to read these responses as merely reactionary, especially as their rhetoric goes beyond what their explicit argumentation validly supports. The present paper identifies the accurate insight on Gul and Pesendorfer's part that explains the impact of their philosophically ragged polemic. This centers on importantly different concepts of choice in the psychological (...)
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  36. Don Ross (2011). Methodology for Experiments Should Be Determined Empirically, Not Philosophically. Journal of Economic Methodology 18 (2):189-193.
  37. Glenn Harrison & Don Ross (2010). The Methodologies of Neuroeconomics. Journal of Economic Methodology 17 (2):185-196.
    We critically review the methodological practices of two research programs which are jointly called ?neuroeconomics?. We defend the first of these, termed ?neurocellular economics? (NE) by Ross (2008), from an attack on its relevance by Gul and Pesendorfer (2008) (GP). This attack arbitrarily singles out some but not all processing variables as unimportant to economics, is insensitive to the realities of empirical theory testing, and ignores the central importance to economics of ?ecological rationality? (Smith 2007). GP ironically share this (...)
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  38. P. Kyle Stanford, Paul Humphreys, Katherine Hawley, James Ladyman & Don Ross (2010). Protecting Rainforest Realism. Metascience 19 (2):161-185.
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  39. Don Ross (2010). Daniel Dennett. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (2):295-299.
    Contemporary Philosophy in Focus will offer a series of introductory volumes to many of the dominant philosophical thinkers of the current age. Each volume will consist of newly commissioned essays that will cover all the major contributions of a preeminent philosopher in a systematic and accessible manner. Author of such groundbreaking and influential books as Consciousness Explained and Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Daniel C. Dennett has reached a huge general and professional audience that extends way beyond the confines of academic philosophy. (...)
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  40. Don Ross (2010). Economic Models of Pathological Gambling. In D. Ross, D. Kincaid, D. Spurrett & P. Collins (eds.), What is Addiction? Mit Press. 131--158.
    Pathological gambling (PG) is a kind of ‘ideal puzzle’ for the economic model of the consumer. The pathological gambler takes pains to engage in activity that transparently has negative expected returns if utility varies positively with money. She also, typically, spends further resources on commitment devices designed to interfere with her gambling. These properties together describe an agent that is a kind of perfect foil for the rationally maximizing consumer. Recently, aspects of the neuropathology underlying the strange economic agency of (...)
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  41. Don Ross (2010). Economic Models of Procrastination. In Chrisoula Andreou & Mark D. White (eds.), The Thief of Time. Oxford University Press. 28--50.
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  42. Don Ross (2010). Some Mental Disorders Are Based on Networks, Others on Latent Variables. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):166-167.
    Cramer et al. persuasively conceptualize major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) as network disorders, rejecting latent variable accounts. But how does their radical picture generalize across the suite of mental and personality disorders? Addictions are Axis I disorders that may be better characterized by latent variables. Their comorbidity relationships could be captured by inserting them as nodes in a super-network of Axis I conditions.
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  43. Don Ross (2010). Should the Financial Crisis Inspire Normative Revision? Journal of Economic Methodology 17 (4):399-418.
    The paper evaluates the claim, made by a range of commentators but most prominently by Akerlof and Shiller in Animal Spirits, that the recent financial crisis illustrates gaps in the normative picture incorporated into standard macroeconomics that are plugged by insights due to behavioral economics. It is argued that Akerlof and Shiller's contention that we cannot understand what happened unless we supplement macroeconomic theory with social-psychological theory is convincing only after being so heavily qualified that most of the (...)
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  44. Don Ross (2010). Why Economic Modelers Can't Exclude Psychological Processing Variables. Journal of Economic Methodology 17 (1):87-92.
  45. Don Ross, Harold Kincaid & David Spurrett (eds.) (2010). What Is Addiction? The MIT Press.
    Leading addiction researchers survey the latest findings in addiction science, countering the simplistic cultural stereotypes of the addict.
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  46. Don Ross & James Ladyman (2010). The Alleged Coupling-Constitution Fallacy and the Mature Sciences. In Richard Menary (ed.), The Extended Mind. Mit Press.
     
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  47. P. Kyle Stanford, Paul Humphreys, Katherine Hawley, James Ladyman & Don Ross (2010). Protecting Rainforest Realism. Metascience 19 (2):161-185.
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  48. Harold Kincaid & Don Ross (eds.) (2009). The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Oxford University Press.
    The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics is a cutting-edge reference work to philosophical issues in the practice of economics. It is motivated by the view that there is more to economics than general equilibrium theory, and that the philosophy of economics should reflect the diversity of activities and topics that currently occupy economists. Contributions in the Handbook are thus closely tied to ongoing theoretical and empirical concerns in economics. Contributors include both philosophers of science and economists. Chapters fall into (...)
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  49. Don Ross (2009). Philip Mirowski the Effortless Economy of Science? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):659-665.
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  50. Don Ross (2009). Rationality in Economics , Vernon L. Smith, Cambridge University Press, 2008, XX + 364 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 25 (3):403-410.
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