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Aidan Lyon: What is Psychedelic Experience?

When:Th 14-06-2018 15:15 - 17:00
Where:Faculty of Philosophy, room Omega

Colloquium lecture by Aidan Lyon (University of Maryland), organized by the Department of Theoretical Philosophy

Recently, there has been an explosion of scientific research into the  effects of psychedelic substances. Initial results indicate that psychedelic experiences can treat psychological problems such as  depression, PTSD, and drug addiction. Initial results also seem to be  shedding new light on the structure of the mind and the functional  structure of the brain. For example, a common phenomenological component  of psychedelic experience is the dissolution of the ego, and recent  research suggests that this correlates with a reduction in the  orthogonality of the default mode network and the task positive networks.  The concept of psychedelic experience has thus now made its way out from  the wild 60’s counterculture and into serious contemporary scientific  research. This research is also leading to the development of new  theories. For example, it has lead some researchers to develop the  theory that different conscious states correspond to brain states with  different levels of entropy and that psychedelic experiences correspond  to brain states with higher-than-usual entropy.  Like any concept that has recently transitioned from folk theorising to scientific theorising, the concept of psychedelic experience needs to be  examined carefully. In this talk, I’ll do this by raising the question  "what is psychedelic experience?” and developing an answer to it.