Rotman Institute of Philosophy
Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, 7148
London, Ontario, Canada
Department of Philosophy, Western University
I have a background in both science and philosophy. My research focuses on psychedelics, neuroscience, and psychiatry. I am interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how psychedelics affect the molecular and cellular level of the brain. The focus of my research centers on the question: How should scientists carry out psychedelic experimentation in a way that facilitates research, drug development, and therapeutic discoveries, in the growing interdisciplinary field of psychedelic science? I also have interests in philosophy of science, epistemology, natural kinds, and scientific experimentation.
After decades of world-wide prohibition and growing frustrations towards conventional mental healthcare and psychiatric practice, there is a renewed interest in understanding the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. Recently, psilocybin—the main chemical compound found in ‘magic mushrooms’ that causes mind-altering effects—has received favorable media coverage, is on its way to legalization, and commercial success. Despite this renewed interest, scientists know little about how psilocybin works in the brain. As a result, research on psilocybin is rapidly emerging as an important area of translational research, in which experimental findings from rodent studies are translated to humans. My research question asks: how should rodent translational research be constructed in order to facilitate translation of findings to the human brain and to this end, gain a deeper understanding of how psilocybin affects the cellular and molecular level of the brain? To this end, I analyze conceptual tools in philosophy of science that can be paired with empirical findings from rodent translational research and psilocybin. I aim to develop an experimental framework that can facilitate research and the discovery of novel drugs and therapies. In order to develop practical knowledge, I partake as a participant-observer in the Translational Cognitive Neuroscience Lab (http://www.tcnlab.uwo.ca) at Western University. This methodology, dubbed ‘neuroscience in practice’ will shed light on the inner workings of the emerging interdisciplinary field of psychedelic science.
Mattu, J. & Sullivan, J. (2020). Classification, Kinds, Taxonomic Stability, and Conceptual Change. Aggression and Violent Behavior.
Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: A Pluralistic Framework Based on Mechanistic Explanation (MA Thesis)
– Fall 2018, PHIL 353: Philosophies of India, University of the Fraser Valley (Guest Lecturer)
– Winter 2013, PHIL 353: Philosophies of India, University of the Fraser Valley (Guest Lecturer)
– Fall 2012, University of the Fraser Valley, PHIL 240: Faith and Reason: Philosophy of Religion (Guest Lecturer)