We are happy to announce the first Spring Symposium on Hallucinations in Philosophy and Cognitive Science, from March the 26th to the 29th 2008, in Paris, France. This highly multi-disciplinary program, featuring renowned international speakers, will include full talks with discussions, roundtables and more. This is a free event, made possible by a collective and non-funded effort, and will take place thanks to the generous work from various volunteers and institutions. Latest program and further informations can be found at http://hallucinations.risc.cnrs.fr/ Pre-registration is mandatory to access the Symposium and we only have a limited number of seats; you can register by filling the registration form found in our website.

This event is supported by Doc’ Up and RISC (in France) and MAPS (in the USA).

Scientific Statement

Altered states of consciousness, and more particularly perceptual hallucinations, have puzzled philosophers and scientists interested in cognition for a long time. These so-called “abnormal” states of consciousness have often been evoked in order to, among other things : support philosophical skepticism, provide foundations for the idea of veridical perception, support indirect theories of perception, study the nature and processes of consciousness, set the boundaries for our mental-health conceptions, explore therapies in clinical psychology, inspire the work of artists and, last but not least, understand what William James called “the Varieties of Religious Experience”. Nevertheless, as of today, the precise phenomenology of these states remains widely unknown to the philosophical and scientific communities. Given this, the current theories of hallucinatory experience seem to be unsuited or outdated, starting with the definition given by Esquirol in the 19th century –and still widely used– according to which a hallucination is “a false perception or a perception without an object”. Furthermore, relevant data about hallucinations are spread out across a rich variety of disciplines such as litterature, history, ethnobotany, psychiatry, anthropology, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy and art.

Our goal is to approach the hallucinatory experience within a transdisciplinary framework in order to :

1) better understand its precise phenomenology,
2) test the validity of epistemological arguments and of specific stances within Theory of Perception,
3) review existing empirical studies on the topic,
4) inquire about the nature of knowledge and of consciousness in (post)modern philosophy and cognitive science.

Since we are interested in the nature and mechanisms of perception and, specifically, in the distinction between ‘veridical’ and ‘hallucinatory’ experiences (and because of certain methodological problems), we shall specially focus on the accounts of those who have experimented with psychoactive substances and on the empirical studies concerning the use of those substances.



Sebastien Baud, Phd – Anthropology
(Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires en Anthropologie, Université Marc Bloch, Strasbourg)

A propos de l’ivresse, et de ses différences, engendrée par la prise de quatre plantes psychotropes parmi les Awajún (groupe Jivaro, Pérou) – About inebriation and its differences, produced by taking four psychotropic plants, among the Awajùn indians (Jivaro, Pérou)

Laurence Caruana – Art
(Visionary Artist) www.lcaruana.com

Entheogens and Visionary Art

Rick Doblin, MD – Psychedelic Research / Society
(President of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) www.maps.org

Overview of psychedelic research projects and strategy

Nicolas Franck, Phd – Psychiatry
(Univ. Lyon 1, Centre de Neuroscience Cognitive (UMR 5229 CNRS) & Centre Hospitalier Le Vinatier) www.isc.cnrs.fr/jea/nfranck.html

Abord neurocognitif des hallucinations verbales – Neurocognitive approach of verbal hallucinations

Juan Gonzalez, Phd – Philosophy
(University of Mexico, Cuernavaca)

Synthèse des travaux précédents – Synthesis of previous works

Jan Kounen – Shamanism
(Film Director / Writer) www.jankounen.com

Discussion sur l’ayahuasca et autres plantes maîtres de la medecine traditionnelle Shipibo-Conibo – Discussion on Ayahuasca and other master plants of Traditional Shipibo-Conibo Medicine

Alexandre Lehmann, Phd – Cognitive Science
(Université Pierre et Marie Curie / Paris Hallucinations)

Presentation of the Colloquim

Valerie Mojeiko – Therapy/Society
(Multidisciplinary Association for psychedelic studies) www.maps.org

Ibogaine addiction-therapy: outcome research, and psychedelic emergency services at Burning Man

Claire Petitmengin, Phd – Phenomenology
(ENST, CREA) http://claire.petitmengin.free.fr

La microdynamique de l’experience perceptive – The microdynamics of the perceptual experience

Jean Petitot, Phd – Phenomenology & Neuroscience
(Centre de recherche en épistémologie appliquée)

Les modèles d’activations neuronales spontanées – Models of spontaneous neural activations

Benny Shanon, Phd – Psychology
Department of Psychology Hebrew University

Ayahuasca visions : a program for cognitive research

Markus Werning, Phd – Philosophy
(Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf) http://thphil.phil-fak.uni-duesseldorf.de/index.php/article/archive/8

The Problem of Hallucination and What It Tells About Representation

Dennis Wier, MD – Hypnosis / Meditation / Society
(Executive Director of The Trance Research Fundation) www.tranceresearch.org

Hallucinations in Trance: a point of view


Three roundtables will be held on March 29th :

Empirical Sciences & Subjectivity
Philosophy & Hallucinations
Practical use of altered states of consciousness

In addition to some talk speakers, the following guests will take part to the roundtables

Alain Berthoz – Cognitive Neuroscience (to be confirmed)
Chaire de Physiologie de la Perception et de l’Action, College de France

Frederick Bois Mariage – Psychedelic Research

Jerôme Dokic – Philosphy
Institut Jean Nicod

Alexandre Quaranta – Dream Research

Jean Michel Roy – Philosophy
Centre de recherche en épistémologie appliquée

Manuel Villaescusa – Psychology – NEIP

Michel le Van Quyen – Neuroscience
LENA, Hopital Salpetriere

Colloquim Program: 26 mars to 29 mars

Practical Information

Both venus are located in the Quartier Latin, a short walking distance from the Panthéon :

::On 26th, 28th & 29th of March, the event will be held at “Le Couvent des Cordeliers”, 15 rue de l’école de Medecine, Paris 6ème ( map ), Subway Odéon or Saint-Michel
::On March 27th, the event will be held at the “Ministère de la Recherche”, salle JA012 + attention sécu ( map ), Subway Cardinal Lemoine or Maubert-Mutualité.

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