Psychedelic Philosophy: Psychedelic Experience as Education

Psychedelics have been touted as a means to various ends: healing, moral enhancement, recreation, social engineering and political change to name a few. Two decades before Humphry Osmond gave him 400mg of mescaline, still of the mind that drugs were ‘toxic shortcuts to self-transcendence’, Aldous Huxley wrote that ‘experience is not what happens to you. It's what you do with what happens to you’. Thirty years later, Huxley published his final novel Island; a blueprint for a utopian society that with a particular educational philosophy that emphasises attentiveness... and the conscious use of psychedelics.

Philosophers of education spend their careers contemplating the aims and purpose of educational experience, and on what criteria they should be evaluated. Many (e.g. Hogan 2010), argue that education is intrinsically valuable – an end in itself. This view frames learning as less about the having of knowledge, skills and values, than about being. It recognises education as an open system of human flourishing and fulfilment.

In this seminar we’ll interrogate the claim that psychedelic experience is educational. There’s absolutely no requirement to read anything in advance as I will run through the basics. But if you do want some homework, I’d really recommend Huxley’s Island. For a shorter read, check out the Stanford Encyclopedia entry on the Philosophy of Education (, and/or any short introduction to Nietzsche, or Aristotle’s virtue ethics (there are some good ones on Youtube).


Psychedelic Philosophy is a discussion group for people with an interest in exploring the philosophical issues related to the use of psychedelics. It is a lively, fun space to engage with ideas, have our preconceptions challenged, and connect with others interested in questioning what IS, and what it MEANS.

Sessions run every few weeks and include a short presentation by a facilitator, followed by structured discussion activities. Preparatory reading will be provided for those who want to do it, but homework is always optional!

Who will be facilitating these sessions?

Lindsay Jordan is a senior lecturer at the University of the Arts London, where she teaches philosophy and theory of education. She is currently researching the purpose of universities, the role of psychoactive substances as educational tools, and moral enhancement. She won the student prize at Breaking Convention 2017 for a doctoral assignment on psychedelic enquiry (, and spoke at Beyond Psychedelics 2018 on ‘What Are Psychedelics For?’ (

Mark Juhan graduated in Theology & Religious Studies from Pembroke College, Oxford and has just completed a masters Religion and Society at St John’s, Durham. He has been a lay chaplain and is currently applying for a doctorate in psychedelic theology. He is interested in the relationship between drugs and culture, specifically the potential of augmenting religion with ritual entheogenesis. Mark has spoken at Breaking Convention 2017 on Christicisms of mystical thrill-seeking ( and at Beyond Psychedelics 2018 on a social study he has conducted (

► Please arrive early for a 7pm start

► It involves a bring-and-share supper: bring culinary goodies if you can.

► The event will take place at the Psychedelic Society HQ, in Homerton, 8 Mackintosh Lane, London E9 6AB

For any enquiries please contact:
Please note that we can not offer refunds or exchanges. We do welcome swapping or reselling your tickets with people you know or on TicketSwap

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