#129 | Suffused With Mind: Panpsychism, Psychedelics, & Philosophy w/ Peter Sjöstedt-H

In this episode, I speak with Anglo-Scandinavian philosopher of mind Peter Sjöstedt-H on psychedelics, panpsychism, and philosophy. Peter and I discuss the resurgence of interest in psychedelics in popular culture regarding the profound, and absolutely vital, therapeutic value these substances can provide for individuals suffering from trauma and addiction. The therapeutic value of these substances is only the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to the value these substances hold for humanity’s philosophical exploration into the nature of the mind and mind's relationship with reality.

Peter elaborates on the inherent value psychedelics hold in rigorous philosophical explorations into the nature of the mind, and through the proper use of these substances, we can perceive through the severe limitations of the materialist worldview, or as Peter defines it, physicalism - “the thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on the physical.”* We discuss the validity of the philosophical concept panpsychism - “the view that mentality is fundamental and ubiquitous in the natural world”** - and that through the use of psychedelics, one can begin to understand that, in fact, the mind is fundamentally ubiquitous in all things. In order to develop a deeper understanding of consciousness, we need to apply a psychedelic approach to philosophical explorations of these subjects.

We also get into Peter’s influences research interests, in particular philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead’s “Philosophy of Organism,” and how psychedelic explorations into the work of Whitehead, as well as works of Plato, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Arthur Schopenhauer, can yield important insights into the subjects mentioned above. Overall, this is a wide-ranging conversation that covers a variety of subjects that relate to the psychedelic experience and the philosophy of mind.
 
Peter Sjöstedt-H is an Anglo-Scandinavian philosopher of mind with a focus on psychedelics, panpsychism, who specializes in the thought of Whitehead, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. Peter received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in Continental Philosophy from the University of Warwick, where he was awarded a first-class distinction for his dissertation on Kant and Schelling in relation to ‘intellectual intuition’. He subsequently became a Philosophy Lecturer in London for six years but is now engaged in his PhD at Exeter University where he also teaches philosophy modules and writing skills. Peter is the author of ‘Noumenautics’ - a collection of essays on metaphysics, meta-ethics, and psychedelics. Peter is also an inspiration behind the inhuman philosopher Marvel Superhero, Karnak.

*Source: https://stanford.io/2KvdTWl
** Source: https://stanford.io/2KjuwVA

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Peter’s fascinating work - including his essays, interviews, and upcoming events - at his website: http://www.philosopher.eu

- Learn more and purchase Peter's book ‘Noumenautics’ - a collection of essays on metaphysics, meta-ethics, and psychedelics - at the Psychedelic Press website: http://bit.ly/2MKHwAy

- Follow Peter’s Facebook page ‘Ontologistics’ here: https://www.facebook.com/ontologistics

- Follow Peter on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PeterSjostedtH

- The song featured in this episode is “Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies from the album Surfer Rosa.

#104 | Wicked Problems: Lessons From The Ruins Of Maya; Machine Learning & Ethics w/ David O’Hara

This is my second episode with David O'Hara, and as with the first episode I recorded with him, conversing with David is always a delight and a great pleasure. In this episode we discuss his trip to Central America, and we also talk about the recent archaeological discovery of a vast Mayan metropolis that "at its peak some 1,500 years ago, covered an area about twice the size of medieval England, with an estimated population of around five million." David goes over the cutting edge technology that is now being used to discover these, until very recently, hidden ruins of an ancient Mayan civilization, and what we can learn from these discoveries in regards to our own civilization. 

We also get into the ethics of artificial intelligence and the corporate control of the development of computer technology, and the implications this has for how information is disseminated through our society. David discusses some of the underlying issues on relying on algoriths and computer learning making big desicions for us, and how the kind of thinking leads to unintended outcomes. 

David O'Hara is a professor of Philosophy and Classics at Augustana University, and the author of the book "Downstream: Reflections on Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, and the Waters of Appalachia." David teaches a variety of courses on philosophy, classics, religion, and environmental ethics, and not long before the recording of this episode, had just recently got back from a trip to Central America where he teaches an in-depth course on reef ecology. 

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about David's book "Downstream: Reflections on Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, and the Waters of Appalachia" here: https://wipfandstock.com/downstream.html

- Read David's writings and get to understand him more at his blog: http://slowperc.blogspot.com/

- Follow David on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Davoh

- Read the article cited in this episode on the "Sprawling Maya network discovered under Guatemala jungle" here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-42916261

- The song featured in this episode is "Sewee Sewee" by Mountain Man from the album Made The Harbor.
 

#92 | Spread Mind: Expanding Our View Of Consciousness w/ Riccardo Manzotti

Riccardo Manzotti is the author of "The Spread Mind: Why Consciousness and the World Are One." Riccardo teaches Psychology of Perception at IULM University, Milan (Italy), and has specialized in AI, artificial vision, perception, and the philosophy and science of consciousness. 

The discussion you will hear in this episode deals with a few different subjects brought up in Riccardo's work, namely what the "Spread Mind" hypothesis is,  and what its underlying premise means in regards to our understanding of what the "mind" really is, and how scientific exploration into the brain and neurological functioning will not lead to any answers regarding where our conscious experience comes from. Riccardo's new book "The Spread Mind" delves deeply into this fascinating subject and radically shifts our understanding of consciousness and points to another much needed and necessary way to frame our understanding of this subject.

"In The Spread Mind, Riccardo Manzotti convincingly argues that our bodies do not contain subjective experience. Yet consciousness is real, and, like any other real phenomenon, is physical. Where is it, then? Manzotti's radical hypothesis is that consciousness is one and the same as the physical world surrounding us.

Drawing on Einstein's theories of relativity, evidence about dreams and hallucination, and the geometry of light in perception, and using vivid, real-world examples to illustrate his ideas, Manzotti argues that consciousness is not a ''movie in the head.'' Experience is not in our head: it is the actual world we move in."


Episode Notes:

- Visit Riccardo's website to find out more about this work: http://www.consciousness.it

- Purchase "The Spread Mind: Why Consciousness and the World Are One" from the publisher's site: http://www.orbooks.com/catalog/the-spread-mind

- Or from Amazon (https://goo.gl/9yTmEH), or your local bookstore.

- Read Tim Parks and Riccardo's in-depth discussions on consciousness and the mind in The New York Review of Books: http://www.nybooks.com/contributors/riccardo-manzotti

- The song featured in this episode is "Come Down To Us" by Burial from the EP "Rival Dealer."
 

#81 | Downstream: Rivers Of Wonder & What Lies Beneath w/ David O'Hara

Just like David O'Hara's book "Downstream," this episode is about so much more than fly fishing. David imbues the conversation with great knowledge and wisdom, and speaking with him was a great pleasure in and of itself. 

The topics touched in this episode are broad: fishing the rivers of Appalachia; empathizing with other creatures; studying and observing reef ecology in Belize; enduring and recovering from a major head injury; the wonder of it all. 

A special thank you to Danielle Billing for introducing me to this wonderful human being.

David O'Hara is a professor of Philosophy and Classics at Augustana University. David is the co-author of "Downstream: Reflections on Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, and the Waters of Appalachia" and "Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis."

Episode Notes: 

- David's book recommendations: 

"Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants" by Robin Wall Kimmerer: https://milkweed.org/book/braiding-sweetgrass

"Riverwalking: Reflections on Moving Water" by Kathleen Dean Moore: http://www.riverwalking.com/riverwalking.html

"Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness" by Peter Godfrey-Smith: https://us.macmillan.com/otherminds/petergodfreysmith/9780374227760/

"For the Love of Rivers: A Scientist's Journey" by Kurt D. Fausch: http://osupress.oregonstate.edu/book/for-love-of-rivers

- Find out more and purchase David's book "Downstream: Reflections on Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, and the Waters of Appalachia": http://wipfandstock.com/downstream.html

- Also, David's book "Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis": http://www.kentuckypress.com/live/title_detail.php?titleid=2062#.WcUytL1MGEd

- David's Full Bio: 

"Dr. David O’Hara teaches a variety of courses, including ancient philosophy, American philosophy, environmental ethics, Asian philosophy, and philosophy of religion.  He regularly teaches a course on classics in Greece, and a course on tropical rainforest and reef ecology in Belize and Guatemala. His most recent book is Downstream, (Cascade Press, 2014) about brook trout and the ecology of the Appalachians.  He is also the author of Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C.S. Lewis (U. P. Kentucky, 2008). He is currently preparing an edited volume of the Religious Writings of American philosopher Charles S. Peirce. Dr. O'Hara is a graduate of Middlebury College (B.A., Spanish), St John's College (M.A., Liberal Arts), and The Pennsylvania State University (M.A., Ph.D., Philosophy)."

Source: http://www.augie.edu/faculty-20

- The song featured in this episode is "Animal Tracks" by Mountain Man.
 

#73 | The UNABOMBER, Post-Tech Society & Metaphysics of Technology w/ David Skrbina

David Skrbina is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan where he teaches a course on the Philosophy of Technology, and is the author of "Panpsychism In The West" and "The Metaphysics of Technology." David has become well-known for being the so-called "pen-pal" of Theodore Kaczynski (a.k.a. The UNABOMBER), having communicated with Kaczynski for some time. David eventually published Kaczynski's anti-tech philosophy elaborated in his letters, essays, and his famous manifesto in the book "Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore Kaczynski" published by Feral House.

In this episode, we discuss and critique the notion that "technological progress" is in and of itself inherently good and worthy of continuing. We need to step back and assess what our insatiable addiction to this form of progress is doing not only to our species, but our planet and all it's life forms as well.

Is a shiny techno-utopia just around the corner? We argue no, not so much.


Episode Notes:

- Opening reading of an excerpt from a "Letter to David Skrbina, September 18, 2004" from "Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore Kaczynski"

- Find out more about "Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore Kaczynski" here: feralhouse.com/technological-slavery

- Read Theodore Kaczynski's Manifesto "Industrial Society And It's Future": http://editions-hache.com/essais/pdf/kaczynski2.pdf

- "Panpsychism In The West" by David Skrbina: mitpress.mit.edu/books/panpsychism-west

- "The Metaphysics of Technology" by David Skrbina: routledge.com/The-Metaphysics-of-Technology/Skrbina/p/book/9781138240025

- Opening and closing tracks "Jorgy", "Bloop", and "Machines Pt. II" by Dabrye.