Jackie Sullivan


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, a Member of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy and an Associate Member of the Brain and Mind Institute at the University of Western Ontario. I work primarily in the areas of philosophy of neuroscience and empirically informed philosophy of mind.

During my first years as a graduate student in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, I became interested in the relationships between psychology and neuroscience, mind and brain. A two-and-a-half year stint as an MS student in a cognitive neurobiology laboratory prompted me to recognize that in order to truly understand how these areas of science and their objects of study are related, analytical scrutiny needs to be directed at the investigative strategies that scientists use to probe the mind-brain relationship. To this end, the aim of my doctoral dissertation in HPS was to put forward a conceptual framework for analyzing experiments and experimental practice in cognitive neurobiology, with an eye towards extending the application of that framework to other areas of neuroscience. By applying elements of this framework to cognitive neurobiological case studies, my work has illuminated what I consider an interesting set of epistemological problems that require solutions. Characterizing the nature and sources of these problems, identifying their implications for the explanatory goals of neuroscience, and developing viable strategies for overcoming them, are the primary aims of my current research.

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