Are we witnessing a revolution in methodology of economics?
About Don Ross's recent book on microexplanation
Keywords:methodology, intentional, stance, consciousness, selfhood, individualism, rationality
The paper aims to assess whether the ideas developed by Don Ross in his recent book Economic theory and cognitive science: microexplanation, which relates neoclassical economics to recent developments in cognitive science, might revolutionize the methodology of economics. Since Ross challenges a conception of economics associated with what is pejoratively called 'Folk psychology', the paper discusses ideas of the philosopher Daniel Dennett on which this challenge is largely based. This discussion could not avoid bearing on questions such as the nature of consciousness, the interpretation of ontological realism, the relations between agency and selfhood, and the nature and scope of economics. The paper attempts to rehabilitate the two pieces of the traditional conception of economics that were most radically contested by Ross, namely methodological individualism and the foundational role of (human) rationality in economics. A relatively nuanced judgment on Ross's bold enterprise is proposed in conclusion.