Highlights from the Royal College of Psychiatrists conference on philosophy and psychedelics

Last week I participated, and gave a talk, at a conference organized by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London. The theme of the conference was Philosophical Issues in Psychedelic Drug Use. The theme was just narrow enough to make this a perfectly focused conference.

The keynote addresses were given by Robin Carhart-Harris and Roland Griffiths, who brought everyone up to speed on their respective work on psychedelics at Imperial College and Johns Hopkins.

obligatoryApart from the keynotes, these were the conference highlights for me: One was a talk by philosopher Chris Letheby (Univ of Adelaide) who has written a remarkable paper, “The Philosophy of Psychedelic Transformation,” published in Journal of Consciousness Studies. In the talk he elaborated on the arguments that he makes in the paper. You should follow him on Twitter.

The other highlight was a refreshingly provocative talk by philosopher Maura Priest (Radford Univ/Columbia Univ) titled “Obligatory Drug Use” (see picture), in which she discussed whether there are cases where not using psychedelics (or other drugs) is morally wrong. She has not yet published on this issue, but I really recommend having a look at her other work. 

I also gave a talk at the conference, titled “The Epistemic Argument Against Psychedelics.” Below you can see my flip chart from the talk and the abstract. As some of you know, I´m currently writing a more extensive paper on psychedelics (and MDMA) that I hope to finish soon. I will keep my readers posted.