Corinne Bloch Picture

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Marquette University (2013-Present)

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Chicago (2011-2013)
PhD, Philosophy, Tel Aviv University (2013)
PhD, Animal Science (Neuroscience), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2013)

Areas of Specialization
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Cognitive Science
History and Philosophy of Biology

My research program is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on my training both in philosophy and in neuroscience. My main research interest is the study of concepts – the mental categories that enable us to integrate and generalize our knowledge. My current work falls into two interrelated projects: (I) the development of an empirically informed theory of concepts, and (II) the development of a normative account of scientific concepts, explicating the various roles concepts play in investigative practice. Since I hold that facts about our cognition are highly relevant to a proper normative account of concept formation and application, these two projects inform one another. 

I. An Empirically-informed Theory of Concepts 
I am currently working on the development of a theory of concepts, which aims at explaining various empirical phenomena related to categorization. The theory is highly informed by data from cognitive science -- both with respect to the empirical phenomena to be explained (e.g., selection of properties in categorization tasks), and to the possible underlying mechanisms that might give rise to the phenomena (e.g., the mechanisms involved in categorical perception).

II. A Normative Account of Scientific Concepts
My work addresses the questions: how are scientific concepts formed and used, how are they modified as scientific knowledge expands, and what are their various roles in scientific research. To answer these questions, I examine case-studies from the history of biology, and analyze the formation, application and modification throughout periods of theoretical and conceptual changes. This analysis is performed in light of data from cognitive science about the structure and functions of concepts. I examine the implications for central issues in epistemology, philosophy of science, and metaphysics, such as foundationalism, rationality in theory choice, and natural kinds.