Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 263–280 | Cite as

The epistemics of ayahuasca visions



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.


Ayahuasca Altered states of consciousness Epistemology Hallucination Visionary experience 



I thank Yochanan Bigman for his comments and help in the preparation of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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