SotF – Stephan Matthiesen – The Science of Altered States of Consciousness

Sunday 15 August 2010, 6:00 am - 7:00 am
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG


Hypnosis and meditation are strange, mysterious techniques for many Westerners. But these are just two ways of changing our consciousness significantly; others include trance, visions and dreams as well as drugs and schizophrenia.

What does modern science have to say about these states? How are they produced, and what is happening in the brain? And, given that altered states of consciousness are more common than one might expect, what are their ethical implications? Are they beneficial or dangerous? And what do they tell us about the general philosophical problems of consciousness and rationality?

Stephan trained as a physicist, but as freelance publicist he has worked on making a wide range of scientific research topics accessible to an interesting audience. He is particularly interested in modern cognitive neuroscience and would really love to understand what cognition, perception and illusions tell us about rationality and our self-conception as humans.

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