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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

PHL3117: Philosophy and Psychedelics

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

(Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics.)

We begin with a couple of sessions introducing the History and Philosophy of Psychedelics

The Philosophy of Psychedelics is a new field, yet concerns a long history. We begin with an overview of the multifarious philosophic facets of this subject, to gain a comprehensive perspective on the current psychedelic renaissance.

We then discuss in more detail, over the following eight weeks:

-       Philosophy of mind, consciousness, and psychedelics

-       The biopolitics and bioeconomy of psychedelics

-       Creativity and aesthetics vis-à-vis psychedelics

-       Perennialism and Contextualism: Western mysticism and Non-Western Indigenous approaches

-       Metaphysics and psychedelics: Interpreting psychedelic experience through metaphysical systems

-       Transpersonal and environmental ethics and psychedelics

The module will close with an overall discussion about the cross-cutting nature of the topic across philosophical sub-disciplines and how a comprehensive philosophy of psychedelics might be possible.

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22Weekly 2-hour lectures/seminars or 1 hour lecture + 1 hour seminar
Guided independent studies48Reading and Research
Guided independent study20Preparation and recording of presentation
Guided independent study38Preparation and Writing of Essay

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

TEDx Talk 'Psychedelics and Consciousness' by Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes:

Erowid: 60 000 pages of online information about psychoactive drugs, plants, chemicals, etc.:

Philosophy and Psychedelics conference (Exeter):

Breaking Convention, conference videos: