Department of Philosophy, Western University
Dr. Sullivan received her Ph.D. from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) in 2007 and an M.S. from Pitt’s Department of Neuroscience in 2003. Her research interests are in philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of neuroscience. Her current research focuses on epistemological problems that arise in the contexts of experimentation on learning and memory in cellular and molecular neurobiology.
My research is situated at the intersection of philosophy of neuroscience, philosophy of mind and philosophy of science and has its origin in a single basic question: What light does contemporary neuroscience shed on the relationship between mind and brain? My approach to this question is unique insofar as I contend that answering it requires directing analytical scrutiny at the investigative strategies neuroscientists use to probe this relationship. To this end, the project at the heart of my research program is to develop and refine a conceptual framework for analyzing experiments and experimental practice in the neurosciences of cognition (e.g., Sullivan 2009). By applying elements of this framework to cognitive neurobiological case studies, my work has illuminated an interesting set of epistemological problems that requires solutions (e.g., Sullivan 2009, 2010a, 2010b). Characterizing the nature and sources of these problems, identifying their implications for the explanatory goals of neuroscience, and developing viable strategies for coming to them, are the primary aims of my current research.
(2017) Coordinated Pluralism as a Means to Facilitate Integrative Taxonomies of Cognition. Philosophical Explorations Issue 2: 129-145.
(2016) Construct Stabilization and the Unity of the Mind-Brain Sciences. Philosophy of Science 83: 662-673.
(2016) Response to Commentary on Stabilizing constructs through collaboration across different research fields as a way to foster the integrative approach of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Project. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.