Psychedelics and the Experience of the Sublime

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The connection between psychedelics and philosophy isn’t made too often, despite the fact that there are multitudinous ways in which the psychedelic experience can relate to, challenge, contextualise, and add weight to various philosophical ideas and theories. There is, however, a definite history to the philosophy of psychedelics, with writers such as William James and Aldous Huxley famously writing about the experience. More contemporary thinkers who have explored the role of psychedelics in philosophy include Nicolas Langlitz, Thomas Metzinger, Peter Sjöstedt-H, and Patrick Lundborg. Moreover, the world’s very first philosophy of psychedelics conference, organised and co-led by Sjöstedt-H and philosopher professor Christine Hauskeller, is set to take place this April at Exeter University in the UK, with 12 academics speaking on a range of topics, all with the aim of “exploring frameworks for exceptional experience”. The particular subject that I would like to focus in this essay — that I believe is a recurring feature of psychedelics deserving more attention — is the experience of the sublime.

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Originally published at https://www.samwoolfe.com on March 18, 2020.

I'm a freelance writer who is interested in philosophy, ethics, psychology, and mental health. Website: www.samwoolfe.com

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