Psychedelic Philosophy: Psychedelic Moral Enhancement

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.

► 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 new Psychedelic Society HQ, in Homerton (8 Mackintosh Lane, London E9 6AB)

Week 1 - 8th November 2018 - Psychedelic Moral Enhancement

This week’s session will be on Psychedelic Moral Enhancement. We will be working with the following questions:

What do we mean by morality? What is its purpose?

Is moral enhancement about strengthening our capacity to act on good motives, or is it about improving the motives themselves?

Is a motive morally good because of its consequences, or because it arises from virtue?

Why do we want to be more moral? Are there any bad reasons?

What do we mean by psychedelic moral enhancement (PME)?

Is PME a biomedical process or an educational one?

Is PME ‘natural’? Does that matter?

Can psychedelics be used to enhance self-interestedness or immorality? How do we weigh up the good uses and the bad ones?

The preparatory reading for this session is an article from the Journal of Applied Philosophy. Message Lindsay for a scan:

Douglas, T. 2008. Moral Enhancement. Journal of Applied Philosophy. 25 (3), pp.230-245

This is a good, general outline of the philosophical issues around moral enhancement. There are more recent articles on the topic, some that refer directly to psychedelics (e.g. Brian Earp’s paper on Psychedelic Moral Enhancement:, but we think it would be fun to go a bit deeper into the philosophical issues, and really question our assumptions about morality (and psychedelics!). A possible outcome of this session might be a critique of more recent literature on PME that we collaboratively submit for publication.

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