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My work explores the origins of distinctively human cognitive abilities, using philosophical and psychological methods. What follows is a brief introduction to this research, divided under three main themes; you can find a more detailed overview here.


 

Origins of Cooperative Communication


 

Humans possess remarkable abilities to inform one another. Even simple pointing gestures are filled with meaning – and understood as early as 9mths of age. What is the origin of these abilities? Here my work explores the origin and semantics of some of the simplest referring tools we have: pointing gestures, labels, and demonstratives.



Left: illustration from the study "The Origin of Pointing: Evidence for the Touch Hypothesis"




Relevant papers:

O’Madagain, C., Kachel, G. and Strickland, B. The Origin of Pointing: Evidence for the Touch Hypothesis. (Revise and resubmit at Science Advances). poster version

O’Madagain, C. (2014). When Shapes and Sounds become Utterances: Indexicals and the Metaphysics of Semantic Tokens. Thought, 3(1): 71-79. pdf

O’Madagain, C. This is a Paper about Demonstratives (under review)  pdf

O’Madagain, C. Statues, Stones and Demonstratives (under review) pdf

O’Madagain, C. How do Labels Refer? (under review) pdf



Origins of Reasoning and Rationality

 



With the ability to inform one another, humans are placed in a position to not just to give each other new information, but to teach each other how to think. I have argued that our ability to reason is learned or culturally inherited, and explored the social and psychological structures underlying reasoning in humans and apes.





Left: Abeeku (Gorilla gorilla) and I explore metacognition in the study "Noticing Inconsistencies"



Relevant papers:

O’Madagain, C. (2018). Learning to Reason. Teorema (in press). pdf

O’Madagain, C. (2016). Davidson and Husserl on the Social Origin of our Concept of Objectivity. In Discovering the ‘We’: The Phenomenology of Sociality, ed. Dermot Moran and Thomas Szanto, Routledge. pdf (a nice review here)

O’Madagain, C. and Tomasello, M. Joint Attention to Mental Contents and the Social Origin of Reasoning (under review). pdf

Koymen, B. Domberg, A. O’Madagain, C. and Tomasello, M. Training in Discourse about Reasons Helps Children Identify Counter-Arguments. (under review at Child Development).

O’Madagain, C., Helming, K. Shupe, E. Call, J. and Tomasello, M. The Ontogeny of Objectivity (in progress experimental, with apes and children).

O’Madagain, C. Schmidt, M., Call, J and Tomasello, M. Noticing Inconsistencies: A New Paradigm for the Study of Metacognition (in progress, experimental with apes and children).

Helming, K. O’Madagain, C. and Tomasello, M. Young Children’s Understanding of Disagreement(in progress, experimental with children).



Origins of Concepts

 


A key component of thought is the concepts we use – such as PLANET or VIRUS. I argue that many of our concepts are acquired from others, and I have developed (with Paul Égré) a new framework for measuring the utility of different conceptual schemes.




Left: Artificial taxonomy illustrating measurement schema for concept utility (from Égré and O'Madagain "Concept Utility")


Relevant papers:


O’Madagain, C. (2018). Outsourcing Concepts: Deference, the Extended Mind, and Expanding our Epistemic Capacity. In J. Adam Carter, S. Orestis Palermos, Andy Clark, Duncan Pritchard and Jesper Kallestrup (eds). Socially Extended Knowledge, Oxford. pdf


O’Madagain, C. (2014). Can Groups have Concepts? Semantics for Collective Intentions. Philosophical Issues, 24(1): 347–363. pdf

O’Madagain, C. (2012). Group Agents: Persons, Mobs or Zombies? International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 20:2: 271-287. pdf

Égré, P. and O’Madagain, C. Concept Utility (under review). pdf





Complete Publications


1.    O’Madagain, C. (2018). Learning to Reason. Teorema (in press). pdf

 

2.     O’Madagain, C. (2018). Outsourcing Concepts: Deference, the Extended Mind, and Expanding our Epistemic Capacity. In J. Adam Carter, S. Orestis Palermos, Andy Clark, Duncan Pritchard and Jesper Kallestrup (eds). Socially Extended Knowledge, Oxford. pdf

 

3.    O’Madagain, C. (2015). Davidson and Husserl on the Social Origin of our Concept of Objectivity. In Discovering the ‘We’: The Phenomenology of Sociality, ed. Dermot Moran and Thomas Szanto, Routledge. pdf

 

4.    O’Madagain, C. (2014). When Shapes and Sounds become Utterances: Indexicals and the Metaphysics of Semantic Tokens. Thought, 3(1): 71-79. pdf

 

5.    O’Madagain, C. (2014). Can Groups have Concepts? Semantics for Collective Intentions. Philosophical Issues, 24(1): 347–363. pdf

 

6.    O’Madagain, C (2012). Group Agents: Persons, Mobs or Zombies? International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 20:2: 271-287. pdf

 

7.    O’Madagain, C. (2007). Is There an Intellectual Intuition in Kant’s Opus Postumum?, in Proceedings of the  10th International Kant Congress, de Gruyter, Berlin, 2007.

 

Enyclopedia entries and reviews:

 

8.    O’Madagain C. (2018) Experience Projection. In: Vonk J., Shackelford T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer, Cham. pdf

 

9.    O’Madagain, C. (2014) Mind and Machine, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 22(2): 291-295. pdf

 

10.  O’Madagain, C. (2013). Intentionality. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. James Fieser and Bradley Dowden, University of Tennessee at Martin. link

 

Under review:

 

11. O’Madagain, C., Kachel, G. and Strickland, B. The Origin of Pointing: Evidence for the Touch Hypothesis. (Revise and resubmit at Science Advances). poster


12.  Koymen, B. Domberg, A. O’Madagain, C and Tomasello, M. Young children recognize counter-arguments at age 5 but not 3. (R and R at Child Development).


13.  Egre, P. and O’Madagain, C. Concept Utility (under review). pdf

 

14.  O’Madagain, C. and Tomasello, M. Joint Attention to Mental Contents and the Social Origin of Reasoning (under review). pdf


15.  O’Madagain, C. How do Labels Refer? (under review) pdf

 

16.  O’Madagain, C. This is a Paper about Demonstratives (under review)  pdf

 

17.  O’Madagain, C. Statues, Stones and Demonstratives (under review) pdf

 



In progress:


18.  O’Madagain, C., Helming, K. Shupe, E. Call, J. and Tomasello, M. The Ontogeny of Objectivity (in progress experimental, with apes and children).

 

19.  O’Madagain, C. Schmidt, M., Call, J and Tomasello, M. A New Paradigm for the Study of Metacognition (in progress, experimental with apes and children).

 

20.  Helming, K. O’Madagain, C. and Tomasello, M. Young Children’s Understanding of Disagreement(in progress, experimental with children).

 

21.  O’Madagain, C. and Haun, D. Ten Million People Can’t be Wrong: What the Folk Think of Majorities (experimental, adults) poster

 

22.  Walmsley, J. and O’Madagain, C. The Worst Motive Fallacy (experimental, adults)


ć
Cathal O'Madagain,
Feb 21, 2017, 8:44 AM
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