Psychedelic Unselfing and Moral Perception : A Philosophical Account of the Change of Values Induced by Psychedelic Experiences

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dc.contributor Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitos fi
dc.contributor University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies (2010-2017) en
dc.contributor Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för politik och ekonomi sv
dc.contributor.author Kähönen, Juuso
dc.date.issued 2020
dc.identifier.uri URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202005282478
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10138/315556
dc.description.abstract Scientific and scholarly attention to psychedelics has recently faced a resurgence. Recent studies suggest that psychedelic experiences can change values and behavioral dispositions, for example increase appreciation of nature and increase prosocial behavior. For this reason psychedelics have been identified as a promising option for moral neuroenhancement. However, we still struggle to understand these changes in the valuations psychedelics induce, or why exactly they are morally enhancing. In this thesis I construct a philosophical framework to understand these changes. I combine Iris Murdoch and Abraham Maslow’s thinking with empirical studies on psychedelics and experiences of self-transcendence. Psychedelics induce experiences of self-transcendence which involve evaluative changes. I argue that these changes are not random but result from an intelligible process. I first claim that psychedelics in some cases induce unselfing, that is, perspectival and evaluative changes resulting from reduction of salience attributed to oneself. By reducing egoic centering, unselfing opens our attention to the world and can cause perspectival widening from egocentric into more allocentric (other-directed) or cosmocentric (universal) perspective. The second main claim is that the process of unselfing is often connected to sharpened perception of values. The increased attention to the world and reduced egocentric attributions of salience, resulting from unselfing, can widen our evaluative context and make it possible to perceive or grasp intrinsic values better, thus ‘tuning the moral compass’ away from instrumental egocentric mode of evaluation. This thesis makes an original contribution to current discussions on moral neuroenhancement by presenting a well-elaborated connection between the experiences of self-transcendence and the evaluative changes. At least some changes in values associated with psychedelic experiences are related to unselfing. Further the framework provided is relevant not only for understanding value changes in psychedelic experiences, but it can be used to understand and to conceptually and theoretically integrate various phenomena which involve unselfing and techniques that aim at spiritual, moral and existential changes. Another original contribution of this thesis is that psychedelic experiences and moral neuroenhancement are discussed with the conceptual means of Murdoch’s and Maslow’s thought. en
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Helsingin yliopisto fi
dc.publisher University of Helsinki en
dc.publisher Helsingfors universitet sv
dc.subject Psychedelics
dc.subject moral perception
dc.subject unselfing
dc.title Psychedelic Unselfing and Moral Perception : A Philosophical Account of the Change of Values Induced by Psychedelic Experiences en
dc.type.ontasot pro gradu -tutkielmat fi
dc.type.ontasot master's thesis en
dc.type.ontasot pro gradu-avhandlingar sv
dc.subject.discipline Käytännöllinen filosofia fi
dc.subject.discipline Social and Moral Philosophy en
dc.subject.discipline Praktisk filosofi sv
dct.identifier.urn URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202005282478

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