Uehiro Internal Research Seminar: Dr David Yaden

Ethical Issues Regarding Non-Subjective Psychedelics as Standard of Care

Substantial resources are being devoted to creating psychedelic substances that produce many of the same biological changes as psychedelics, but without their characteristic subjective effects (i.e., "trip-less psychedelics"). In this talk, I consider ethical issues arising from this possibility. I am broadly supportive of efforts to create such substances for both scientific and clinical reasons, but I argue that such non-subjective psychedelics should be reserved for those special cases in which the subjective effects of psychedelics are specifically contraindicated. I argue that psychedelics that include the subjective experience should be the default and standard of care. I raise ethical concerns around the prospect of withholding such typically positive and profoundly meaningful experiences from patients.

Speaker: David B. Yaden, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
David Bryce Yaden, PhD is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins Medicine working in The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. His research focus is on the psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and psychopharmacology of spiritual, self-transcendent, and positively transformative experiences triggered with psychedelic substances and through other means. Specifically, he is interested in understanding how these experiences can result in long-term changes to well-being and how they temporarily alter fundamental faculties of consciousness such as the sense of time, space, and self. He is the editor of Rituals and Practices in World Religions: Cross-Cultural Scholarship to Inform Research and Clinical Contexts. He is currently writing a book called The Varieties of Spiritual Experiences: A Twenty-First Century Update for Oxford University Press. His scientific and scholarly work has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and NPR.

This internal talk is for Oxford Uehiro Centre members and associates.


Zoom Meeting: Email rachel.gaminiratne@philosophy.ox.ac.uk to request the meeting link and passcode