Don Ross

Don Ross is Professor of Economics and Dean of Commerce at the University of Cape Town, and Research Fellow in the Center for Economic Analysis of Risk at Georgia State University. He is the author of Economic Theory and Cognitive Science: Microexplanation (MIT Press, 2005), companion volume to Midbrain Mutiny.

  • What Is Addiction?

    What Is Addiction?

    Don Ross, Harold Kincaid, David Spurrett, and Peter Collins

    Leading addiction researchers survey the latest findings in addiction science, countering the simplistic cultural stereotypes of the addict.

    The image of the addict in popular culture combines victimhood and moral failure; we sympathize with addicts in films and novels because of their suffering and their hard-won knowledge. And yet actual scientific knowledge about addiction tends to undermine this cultural construct. In What Is Addiction?, leading addiction researchers from neuroscience, psychology, genetics, philosophy, economics, and other fields survey the latest findings in addiction science. They discuss such questions as whether addiction is one kind of condition, or several; if addiction is neurophysiological, psychological, or social, or incorporates aspects of all of these; to what extent addicts are responsible for their problems, and how this affects health and regulatory policies; and whether addiction is determined by inheritance or environment or both. The chapter authors discuss the possibility of a unifying basis for different addictions (considering both substance addiction and pathological gambling), offering both neurally and neuroscientifically grounded accounts as well as discussions of the social context of addiction. There can be no definitive answer yet to the question posed by the title of this book; but these essays demonstrate a sweeping advance over the simplistic conception embedded in popular culture.

    Contributors George Ainslie, Jennifer D. Bellegarde, Warren K. Bickel, Jennifer Bramen, Karen O. Brandon, Arthur Brody, Peter Collins, Jack Darkes, Mark S. Goldman, Gene M. Heyman, Harold Kincaid, Edythe D. London, James MacKillop, Traci Man, Neil Manson, John E. McGeary, John R. Monterosso, Ben Murrell, Nancy M. Petry, Marc N. Potenza, Howard Rachlin, Lara A. Ray, A. David Redish, Richard R. Reich, Don Ross, Timothy Schroeder, David Spurrett, Jackie Sullivan, Golnaz Tabibni, Andrew Ward, Richard Yi

    • Paperback $50.00 £40.00
  • Midbrain Mutiny

    Midbrain Mutiny

    The Picoeconomics and Neuroeconomics of Disordered Gambling: Economic Theory and Cognitive Science

    Don Ross, Carla Sharp, Rudy E. Vuchinich, and David Spurrett

    An analysis of how economic theories can be used to understand disordered and pathological gambling that calls on empirical evidence about behavior and the brain and argues that addictive gambling is the basic form of all addiction.

    The explanatory power of economic theory is tested by the phenomenon of irrational consumption, examples of which include such addictive behaviors as disordered and pathological gambling. Midbrain Mutiny examines different economic models of disordered gambling, using the frameworks of neuroeconomics (which analyzes decision making in the brain) and picoeconomics (which analyzes patterns of consumption behavior), and drawing on empirical evidence about behavior and the brain.

    The book describes addiction in neuroeconomic terms as chronic disruption of the balance between the midbrain dopamine system and the prefrontal and frontal serotonergic system, and reviews recent evidence from trials testing the effectiveness of antiaddiction drugs. The authors argue that the best way to understand disordered and addictive gambling is with a hybrid picoeconomic-neuroeconomic model.

    • Hardcover $9.75 £7.99
    • Paperback $5.75 £4.99
  • Distributed Cognition and the Will

    Distributed Cognition and the Will

    Individual Volition and Social Context

    Don Ross, David Spurrett, Harold Kincaid, and G. Lynn Stephens

    Philosophers and behavioral scientists discuss what, if anything, of the traditional concept of individual conscious will can survive recent scientific discoveries that human decision-making is distributed across different brain processes and through the social environment.

    Recent scientific findings about human decision making would seem to threaten the traditional concept of the individual conscious will. The will is threatened from “below” by the discovery that our apparently spontaneous actions are actually controlled and initiated from below the level of our conscious awareness, and from “above” by the recognition that we adapt our actions according to social dynamics of which we are seldom aware. In Distributed Cognition and the Will, leading philosophers and behavioral scientists consider how much, if anything, of the traditional concept of the individual conscious will survives these discoveries, and they assess the implications for our sense of freedom and responsibility. The contributors all take science seriously, and they are inspired by the idea that apparent threats to the cogency of the idea of will might instead become the basis of its reemergence as a scientific subject. They consider macro-scale issues of society and culture, the micro-scale dynamics of the mind/brain, and connections between macro-scale and micro-scale phenomena in the self-guidance and self-regulation of personal behavior.

    Contributors George Ainslie, Wayne Christensen, Andy Clark, Paul Sheldon Davies, Daniel C. Dennett, Lawrence A. Lengbeyer, Dan Lloyd, Philip Pettit, Don Ross, Tamler Sommers, Betsy Sparrow, Mariam Thalos, Jeffrey B. Vancouver, Daniel M. Wegner, Tadeusz W. Zawidzki

    • Hardcover $15.75 £12.99
    • Paperback $8.75 £6.99
  • Economic Theory and Cognitive Science

    Economic Theory and Cognitive Science

    Microexplanation

    Don Ross

    In this study, Don Ross explores the relationship of economics to other branches of behavioral science, asking, in the course of his analysis, under what interpretation economics is a sound empirical science. The book explores the relationships between economic theory and the theoretical foundations of related disciplines that are relevant to the day-to-day work of economics—the cognitive and behavioral sciences. It asks whether the increasingly sophisticated techniques of microeconomic analysis have revealed any deep empirical regularities—whether technical improvement represents improvement in any other sense. Casting Daniel Dennett and Kenneth Binmore as its intellectual heroes, the book proposes a comprehensive model of economic theory that, Ross argues, does not supplant, but recovers the core neoclassical insights, and counters the caricaturish conception of neoclassicism so derided by advocates of behavioral or evolutionary economics.

    Because he approaches his topic from the viewpoint of the philosophy of science, Ross devotes one chapter to the philosophical theory and terminology on which his argument depends and another to related philosophical issues. Two chapters provide the theoretical background in economics, one covering developments in neoclassical microeconomics and the other treating behavioral and experimental economics and evolutionary game theory. The three chapters at the heart of the argument then apply theses from the philosophy of cognitive science to foundational problems for economic theory. In these chapters, economists will find a genuinely new way of thinking about the implications of cognitive science for economics, and cognitive scientists will find in economic behavior, a new testing site for the explanations of cognitive science.

    • Hardcover $45.00 £38.00
    • Paperback $35.00 £28.00
  • Dennett's Philosophy

    Dennett's Philosophy

    A Comprehensive Assessment

    Don Ross, Andrew Brook, and David L. Thompson

    The influential philosopher Daniel Dennett is best known for his distinctive theory of mental content, his elucidation of how the complex components of mental processing seem to come together in the relatively coherent narratives that we tell ourselves about ourselves and in his vivid accounts of how to think about minds in their evolutionary setting. The essays in this collection step back to ask: Do the complex components of Dennett's work on intentionality, consciousness, evolution, and ethics themselves come together into a coherent philosophical system?

    The essays, which grew out of a conference attended by Dennett, consider evolution, intentionality, consciousness, ontology, and ethics and free will. Unusually, for a collection of this kind, the authors were able to take account of Dennett's comments on their views. In the concluding essay, "With a Little Help from My Friends," Dennett offers his own thoughts on the comprehensiveness of his philosophy.

    Contributors Andrew Brook, Timothy Crowe, Daniel C. Dennett, Paul Dumouchel, Timothy Kenyon, Dan Lloyd, Ruth Garrett Millikan, T. Brian Mooney, Thomas Polger, David Rosenthal, Don Ross, William Seager, David Thompson, Christopher Viger

    • Hardcover $16.75 £13.99
    • Paperback $35.00 £28.00

Contributor

  • Classifying Psychopathology

    Classifying Psychopathology

    Mental Kinds and Natural Kinds

    Harold Kincaid and Jacqueline A. Sullivan

    Scholars question the extent to which current psychiatric classification systems are inadequate for diagnosis, treatment, and research of mental disorders and offer suggestions for improvement.

    In this volume, leading philosophers of psychiatry examine psychiatric classification systems, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), asking whether current systems are sufficient for effective diagnosis, treatment, and research. Doing so, they take up the question of whether mental disorders are natural kinds, grounded in something in the outside world. Psychiatric categories based on natural kinds should group phenomena in such a way that they are subject to the same type of causal explanations and respond similarly to the same type of causal interventions. When these categories do not evince such groupings, there is reason to revise existing classifications.

    The contributors all question current psychiatric classifications systems and the assumptions on which they are based. They differ, however, as to why and to what extent the categories are inadequate and how to address the problem. Topics discussed include taxometric methods for identifying natural kinds, the error and bias inherent in DSM categories, and the complexities involved in classifying such specific mental disorders as “oppositional defiance disorder” and pathological gambling.

    Contributors George Graham, Nick Haslam, Allan Horwitz, Harold Kincaid, Dominic Murphy, Jeffrey Poland, Nancy Nyquist Potter, Don Ross, Dan Stein, Jacqueline Sullivan, Serife Tekin, Peter Zachar

    • Hardcover $45.00 £38.00
  • Cooperation and Its Evolution

    Cooperation and Its Evolution

    Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott, and Ben Fraser

    Essays from a range of disciplinary perspectives show the central role that cooperation plays in structuring our world.

    This collection reports on the latest research on an increasingly pivotal issue for evolutionary biology: cooperation. The chapters are written from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and utilize research tools that range from empirical survey to conceptual modeling, reflecting the rich diversity of work in the field. They explore a wide taxonomic range, concentrating on bacteria, social insects, and, especially, humans.

    Part I ("Agents and Environments") investigates the connections of social cooperation in social organizations to the conditions that make cooperation profitable and stable, focusing on the interactions of agent, population, and environment. Part II ("Agents and Mechanisms") focuses on how proximate mechanisms emerge and operate in the evolutionary process and how they shape evolutionary trajectories. Throughout the book, certain themes emerge that demonstrate the ubiquity of questions regarding cooperation in evolutionary biology: the generation and division of the profits of cooperation; transitions in individuality; levels of selection, from gene to organism; and the "human cooperation explosion" that makes our own social behavior particularly puzzling from an evolutionary perspective.

    • Hardcover $70.00 £58.00
  • Grounding Social Sciences in Cognitive Sciences

    Grounding Social Sciences in Cognitive Sciences

    Ron Sun

    Exploration of a new integrative intellectual enterprise: the cognitive social sciences.

    Research in the cognitive sciences has advanced significantly in recent decades. Computational cognitive modeling has profoundly changed the ways in which we understand cognition. Empirical research has progressed as well, offering new insights into many psychological phenomena. This book investigates the possibility of exploiting the successes of the cognitive sciences to establish a better foundation for the social sciences, including the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science. The result may be a new, powerful, integrative intellectual enterprise: the cognitive social sciences.

    The book treats a range of topics selected to capture issues that arise across the social sciences, covering computational, empirical, and theoretical approaches. The chapters, by leading scholars in both the cognitive and the social sciences, explore the relationship between cognition and society, including such issues as methodologies of studying cultural differences; the psychological basis of politics (for instance, the role of emotion and the psychology of moral choices); cognitive dimensions of religion; cognitive approaches to economics; meta-theoretical questions on the possibility of the unification of social and cognitive sciences. Combining depth and breadth, the book encourages fruitful interdisciplinary interaction across many fields.

    • Hardcover $19.75 £15.99
  • The Extended Mind

    The Extended Mind

    Richard Menary

    Leading scholars respond to the famous proposition by Andy Clark and David Chalmers that cognition and mind are not located exclusively in the head.

    Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? In their famous 1998 paper "The Extended Mind," philosophers Andy Clark and David J. Chalmers posed this question and answered it provocatively: cognitive processes "ain't all in the head." The environment has an active role in driving cognition; cognition is sometimes made up of neural, bodily, and environmental processes. Their argument excited a vigorous debate among philosophers, both supporters and detractors. This volume brings together for the first time the best responses to Clark and Chalmers's bold proposal. These responses, together with the original paper by Clark and Chalmers, offer a valuable overview of the latest research on the extended mind thesis.

    The contributors first discuss (and answer) objections raised to Clark and Chalmers's thesis. Clark himself responds to critics in an essay that uses the movie Memento's amnesia-aiding notes and tattoos to illustrate the workings of the extended mind. Contributors then consider the different directions in which the extended mind project might be taken, including the need for an approach that focuses on cognitive activity and practice.

    • Hardcover $9.75 £7.99
    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00