Schelling and Huxley

Exploring an Aesthetic Interpretation of the Psychedelic Experience


  • Darcy Lyle Forster The University of Sydney


Psychedelics, Schelling, Huxley, Speculative Philosophy, Ineffable, Experience,


A major problem associated with researching the psychedelic experience is that it is often described as ineffable. Scientific approaches have discovered that this ineffable component of the psychedelic experience is associated with positive therapeutic results and feelings of meaning and significance making it of central importance to psychedelic research. However, this paper argues that such scientific approaches are inadequate for providing any further account of the ineffable aspect of psychedelic experiences and that an alternative approach is needed. By returning to Aldous Huxley's experience as detailed in The Doors of Perception, it will be argued that an aesthetic approach is an adequate alternative. In establishing this aesthetic approach, the philosophy of Friedrich Schelling as presented in his two works System of Transcendental Idealism (1800) and The Philosophy of Art will be drawn from. In its application Schelling's philosophy will provide an example of how a philosophy of psychedelics might be successful.

Author Biography

Darcy Lyle Forster, The University of Sydney

PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, school of philosophical and historical enquiry.


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How to Cite

Forster, D. L. (2021). Schelling and Huxley : Exploring an Aesthetic Interpretation of the Psychedelic Experience. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 17(3), 283–298. Retrieved from