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Journal Club #23 Psychedelic Entropy: Revealing the mind by dissolving the mind

31/05/2022, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

by Aidan Lyon

1 min

Our next Journal Club is just around the corner!
Join us for this in-person event in which Aiden Lyon, a Philosopher and good friend of APRA, will guide us through the concept of psychedelic entropy (full abstract below).
Also, we are happy to announce that this event will not only happen in person, but we are also planning to go for drinks after. So a great opportunity to come together with your APRA community and of course to continue the discussion beyond the event!

About our guest:
Aidan Lyon is a philosopher at the University of Amsterdam and the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, and has held academic appointments at several universities worldwide. He completed his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 2009 at the Australian National University and has Bachelor's degrees in Science (Mathematics) and Arts (Philosophy) from the University of Queensland. His research is at the intersection of philosophy and psychology, focusing on wisdom, uncertainty, meditation, and psychedelics. Aidan also works as a philosophical consultant across various domains, including biosecurity intelligence, geopolitical forecasting, institutional investing, environmental decision making, and psychedelic therapy.

One leading idea concerning the effects and benefits of psychedelics is that they increase the brain's entropy (Carhart-Harris et al. 2014). Since its introduction, which focused on psilocybin, confirmation of this hypothesis has been replicated and extended to cover other substances, including LSD (Schartner et al. 2017), ayahuasca (Viol et al. 2017), and DMT (Timmermann et al. 2019). As such, the hypothesis looks like a promising account of the effects of psychedelics on the brain. However, in order to explain the psychological and phenomenological effects of psychedelics, we need some account of what the mental correlates of increased brain entropy may be. Some proposals have been given in the literature, including increased subjective uncertainty (Carhart-Harris et al. 2014) and increased conscious information (Carhart-Harris 2018), but I will argue that they suffer from inherent conceptual difficulties. After making this argument, I will present an alternative proposal based on the idea that psychedelics dissolve mental structures and argue that it does a better job of accounting for the known psychological and phenomenological effects of psychedelics.

This is a free event for APRA members.
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