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The Free Energy Principle, Consciousness, & Psychedelics with Dr. Adam Safron

Show Notes

This episode is a bit of a wild one. It's a three hour discussion bringing together a unifying principle for life, the free energy principle (a topic I explored in greater detail in my conversation with Maxwell Ramstead), with several pernicious problems that have plagued us for years, like consciousness, free will, intelligence, and what the hell is going on when we take psychdelic substances.  

Leading us on a tour of these awe-inspiring, interconnected, mind-bending topics is the scientist Dr. Adam Safron. Adam is has recently finished a postdoc the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and has moved on to the John's Hopkins Centre for Psychdelics and Consciuosness Research.

His work brings together neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy from a complex systems perspective and is truly fascinating.  His ultimate aim is is providing a multi-level account of the factors that help people to be adaptive, creative, and free in all aspects of their lives.

One of his more recent projects has been developing a theory of consciousness, Integrated World Modeling Theory, which in the context of the free energy principle and integrated information theory, proposes that conscious experiences are what it is like to model an embodied self and world with coherent organization by space, time, and cause.

In our conversation we cover:

  • The Free Energy Principle
  • The Big 5 Personality trait model, and it's recent cybernetifaction
  • Intelligence and why the artificial intelligence of the future might have to be embodied in order to reach its purported potential
  • Adam then takes us through his theory of consciousness, Integrated World Modeling Theory,
  • Free will
  • Psychedelics and the brain



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