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Sep 1, 2017

We welcome French cultural anthropologist and philosopher Martin Fortier on the show for this episode to discuss his research into how culture influences cognition. His current PhD research project consists of exploring the interplay between neurobiological processes and culture in hallucinogenic experiences. His main fieldwork is located in Shipibo communities of the Middle Ucayali, in the Peruvian Amazon.

Martin Fortier, Ph.D. Candidate, is currently a doctoral student at Institut Jean Nicod (a lab hosted by the Department of Cognitive Studies of ENS-Paris) and at the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences of EHESS-Paris. He is also a visiting student researcher at the Department of Anthropology of Stanford University.

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Full Show Notes at

Episode Breakdown

  • Martin's educational history and experience.
  • The Sense of Reality; how we build models of the world and how/why we believe it to be real.
  • Feeling "reality" vs. judging "reality".
  • The experiential differences between serotonergic/psychedelic drugs (psilocybin, mescaline, LSD, etc) and anticholinergics/deliriants (datura).
  • Experiential qualities: waking state vs serotonergic psychedelics vs. cholinergic psychedelics vs. dreaming vs. psychosis.
  • .Ayahuasca/hallucinogenic visions as metaphorical perceptions
  • Unpacking how the most valuable things in life are fiction / the hard problem of consciousness.
  • Rationally exploring the hallucinogenic entities/spirits phenomenon.
  • The role of the shaman.
  • Honouring the indigenous cosmology while researching it from a western scientific framework / mitigating cultural appropriation within anthropological research.
  • Scientific framework vs. indigenous cosmology.
  • The nature of schizophrenia and psychopathologies and the potentials of ayahuasca shamanism as a potential treatment.
  • Will psychedelics be important to philosophy? Should philosophers take psychedelics?