International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Journal | Volume | Article


The epistemics of ayahuasca visions

Benny Shanon

pp. 263-280


In this paper, I discuss substance-induced visions and consider their epistemic status, meaning, and modes of proper interpretation. I focus on the visions induced by ayahuasca, a powerful psychoactive plant-made brew that has had a central status and role in the indigenous tribal cultures of the upper Amazonian region. The brew is especially famous for the visions seen with it. These are often coupled with personal psychological insights, mentations concerning topics of special significance to one, intellectual (notably, philosophical and metaphysical) ideations, as well as powerful religious and spiritual sentiments. Thus, under the intoxication, people often feel that they gain significant knowledge and understanding. The present discussion takes a cognitive-phenomenological perspective coupled with a philosophical analysis of the various epistemological questions at hand.

Publication details

Published in:

González Juan C. (2010). Hallucinations. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (2).

Pages: 263-280

DOI: 10.1007/s11097-010-9161-3

Full citation:

Shanon Benny (2010). The epistemics of ayahuasca visions. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (2), pp. 263-280.