Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Steven M. Vose

First Advisor's Committee Title

Major Professor

Second Advisor's Name

Lesley A. Northup

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Albert Kafui Wuaku

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Date of Defense



The term entheogen refers to drugs—including the artificial substances and active principles drawn from them—which are known to produce ecstasy and have been used traditionally in certain religious and shamanic contexts. The entheogenic experiences provoked by entheogens are described by users in myriad ways, including in spiritual, religious, philosophical, and secular contexts. Entheogenic experiences have shown that they can create opportunities for individuals to generate meaning, including novel philosophical insights, which users claim to gain by way of experience. As such, entheogenic experiences exhibit the ability to influence a change in a user’s fundamental philosophical commitments, or live options, including their ethical dispositions. Given that these new live options are rooted in experience, their veracity gains further credence for users than those commitments they have come to hold by way of abstraction. By philosophically investigating the phenomenology of entheogenic experiences, this work argues that entheogens have ethical import





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