What Neuroimaging of the Psychedelic State Tells Us about the Mind-Body Problem

Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (2):1-9 (2016)
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Recent neuroimaging studies of the psychedelic state, which have commanded great media attention, are reviewed. They show that psychedelic trances are consistently accompanied by broad reductions in brain activity, despite their experiential richness. This result is at least counterintuitive from the perspective of mainstream physicalism, according to which subjective experience is entirely constituted by brain activity. In this brief analysis, the generic implications of physicalism regarding the relationship between the richness of experience and brain activity levels are rigorously examined from an informational perspective, and then made explicit and unambiguous. These implications are then found to be non-trivial to reconcile with the results of said neuroimaging studies, which highlights the significance of such studies for the mind-body problem and philosophy of mind in general.

Author's Profile

Bernardo Kastrup
Radboud University (PhD)


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