Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Philosophical Psychology

For a Special Issue on

Mystical Experiences and Entropy

Manuscript deadline
30 April 2024

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Michiel van Elk, Leiden University, The Netherlands
[email protected]

Aidan Lyon, Leiden University, The Netherlands
[email protected]

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Mystical Experiences and Entropy

Mystical experiences (MEs) are profound experiences that appear to transcend our standard conceptual frameworks for understanding (such as naturalism). In the past decade, the revival of psychedelic science has sparked a new interest in MEs, as these experiences appear to underly the therapeutic benefits associated with psychedelic-assisted therapy. Neuroscientific research on psychedelic-induced MEs has also indicated that these experiences are characterized by an increase in the ‘entropy’ (uncertainty / complexity) of the brain.

This suggests that we can build mathematical models of MEs in terms of brain entropy and its ‘mental entropy’ analogue. The notion of ‘entropy’ (of the brain/mind) could also act as a kind of conceptual bridge to connect central ideas of different mystical wisdom traditions (e.g., within Sufism; Hasidic spirituality; Buddhism; Vedanta) with recent findings from the science of meditation and psychedelics.

To do this, we first need to address several key philosophical questions, such as:

  • What are mystical experiences?
  • What is brain/mental entropy?
  • Is the notion of ‘entropy’ useful for characterizing mystical experiences across different traditions?
  • How can we measure the entropy of an experience?

This special issue aims to bring together experts from different disciplines, including but not limited to philosophy, religious studies, psychology, physics, and neuroscience. We invite scholars to contribute theoretical papers that are aimed at addressing the key questions outlined above.

Submission Instructions

  • Contributions can consist of empirical or conceptual papers that demonstrate a clear potential to bridge philosophy with empirical science, including the psychological sciences. Expected word count per contribution is between 5000-8000 words.
  • The guest editors will evaluate manuscripts before sending them for external peer review. Only the manuscripts judged as suitable for publication by two independent reviewers will be accepted for publication. Please note that potential contributions to this special issue should meet the methodological standards and the publishing guidelines of Philosophical Psychology.
  • Authors can send an email enquiry to the guest editors if they are interested in submitting a paper or if they have questions about the suitability of their publication for this issue.
  • Submissions should be uploaded on ScholarOne. Please select Special issue: Mystical Entropy from the special issue drop down menu.
  • We warmly encourage submissions by authors who belong to traditionally underrepresented groups in academia.

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