Writers on Drugs presents The Hard Problem of Psychedelic Consciousness: Hallucinations ∧/∨ Revelations by Dr Peter Sjöstedt-H

‘The Hard Problem of Psychedelic Consciousness: Hallucinations ∧/∨ Revelations’ by Dr Peter Sjöstedt-H. This presentation was given Writers on Drugs (London, 8 December 2019). Keep up-to-date with all Writers on Drugs events, by signing up to their infrequent newsletter here.


How do we determine whether the phenomena of psychedelic states are revelations, hallucinations, or otherwise? Philosopher of mind Dr Peter Sjöstedt-H will explore this question by considering the idea that the concept “hallucination” is relative to the concept “reality” – i.e. relative to a cosmology or ideology.

By way of the so-called “hard problem of consciousness” (that we do not know the relation between mind and matter), it will be shown that all such cosmologies are problematic. There is no default view of reality. Therefore there is no default view of hallucination, notwithstanding the reality of hallucination as such.

Via such logical analysis will be considered complementary questions pertaining to the veridical status of such psychedelic phenomena as unio mystica, subject-becoming-object, panpsychological intuitions, otherworldly entities, aesthetic and empathic revaluation, n-dimensional space, and distorted or destructed time.

Dr Peter Sjöstedt-H is a philosopher of mind and of metaphysics working as a research fellow at the University of Exeter where he will be organising the first Philosophy of Psychedelics conference in April 2020. Peter’s doctoral thesis was on ‘pansentient monism’, he has given a TEDx Talk on Psychedelics and Consciousness, he is author of the book Noumenautics: Metaphysics – Meta-ethics – Psychedelics, he typesets for Psychedelic Press and now Breaking Convention. His work inspired the recreation of the Marvel superhero, Karnak. Peter has a penchant for A. N. Whitehead, Nietzsche, Spinoza, and psilocybin.

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