Phil/Psych 447, Phil 673

Seminar in Cognitive Science

Week 9: Altered states

Key Ideas



Out of body experiences


caffeine adenosine down alertness, edginess
alcohol dopamine up, GABA up, endorphins up relaxation, drowsiness
nicotine dopamine up, acetylcholine receptors stimulating, relaxing
cocaine dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine up euphoria
MDMA (ecstasy) dopamine up, serotonim up energy, happiness
heroin, morphine endorphin receptors euphoria
LSD serotonin hallucinations
cannabis cannabinoid receptors relaxation
ketamine NMDA antagonist dissociation
mescaline serotonin hallucinations

Discussion Questions

  1. How do drugs affect consciousness?
  2. How are these effects explained by dualism, functionalism, and the identity theory?
  3. What is it like to feel stoned?
  4. What do sleeping and dreaming tell us about the nature of consciousness?
  5. Are dreams adaptations, side effects, or culturual constructions?
  6. Can materialism explain out of body experiences and near death experiences?


Effects of drugs on the nervous system

Dreams and culture

Phil/Psych 447

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated Nov. 4, 2013