“The Matrix is a computer-generated dreamworld built to keep us under control” Morpheus, early in The Matrix. “ In dreaming, you are not only out of control, you don’t even know it…I was completely duped again and again the minute my pons, my amygdala, my perihippocampal cortex, my anterior cingulate, my visual association and parietal opercular cortices were revved up and my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was muffled” ” J. Allan Hobson, The Dream Drugstore, p.64 The Matrix is an exercise (...) in ambivalence, and at the very heart of that ambivalence lies the Dream. In our dreams, we are not in control. Real dreaming, unlike many popular philosophers’ fictions, is an altered state, closely related to the states induced by chemical manipulations such as the use of (certain) medical or recreational drugs. The dreaming brain is not like the wakeful brain. Normal sensory input is blocked, attentional capacities are impaired or lost, memory is distorted, reasoning and logic are weakened, narratives run wild, self-reflection is dampened or destroyed, emotion and instinct are hyperstimulated, and forms of ‘top-down’ willed control and decision-making diluted and easily overwhelmed. (shrink)
Freud's account of dreams can be understood via interpretive patterns that span language and action, enabling an extension of common sense psychology that is potentially cogent, cumulative, and radical.
This paper attempts to recast Zhuangzi's Butterfly Dream within the larger normative context of the 'Inner Chapters' and early Daoism in terms of its moral significance, particularly in the way that it prescribes how a Daoist should live through the 'significant symbol' of the butterfly. This normative reading of the passage will be contrasted with two recent interpretations of the passage - one by Robert Allinson and the other by Harold Roth - that tend to focus more on the (...) epistemological and mystical concerns of the text. As will be argued, the undue emphasis on the epistemological and mystical significance of the passage not only comes to grief when considered in light of philosophical and textual concerns but also obscures the moral dimensions of the passage that are more congruent with the 'Inner Chapters' as a whole. (shrink)
Recently, Ernest Sosa (2007) has proposed two novel solutions to the problem of dream skepticism. In the present paper, I argue that Sosa’s first solution falls prey to what I will refer to as the conditionality problem, i.e., the problem of only establishing a conditional—in this case, if x, then I am awake, x being a placeholder for a condition incompatible with dreaming—in a context where it also needs to be established that we can know that the antecedent holds, (...) and as such can infer the consequent, i.e., I am awake. Sosa’s second solution, in terms of so-called reflective knowledge, is shown to land him in the dilemma of either facing yet another conditionality problem, or violating an internalist constraint that he explicitly grants the skeptic with respect to what kind of factors can be legitimately invoked in our account of how we may know the relevant antecedent. For these reasons, I conclude that Sosa has not solved the problem of dream skepticism. (shrink)
In this paper I develop the thesis that dreams are essential to an understanding of waking consciousness. In the first part I argue in opposition to the philosophers Malcolm and Dennett that empirical evidence now shows dreams to be real conscious experiences. In the second part, three questions concerning consciousness research are addressed. (1) How do we isolate the system to be explained (consciousness) from other systems? (2) How do we describe the system thus isolated? (3) How do we reveal (...) the mechanisms on which this system is based? I suggest that empirical dream research combined with other empirical approaches can help us to sketch answers to all of these questions. I argue that the subjective form of dreams reveals the subjective, macro-level form of consciousness in general and that both dreams and the everyday phenomenal world may be thought of as constructed “virtual realities”. A major task for empirical consciousness research is to find out the mechanisms which bind this experienced world into a coherent whole. (shrink)
Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream story can be read as a skeptical response to the Cartesian Cogito, ergo sum solution, for it presents I exist as fundamentally unprovable, on the grounds that the notion about “I” that it is guaranteed to refer to something existing, which Descartes seems to assume, is unwarranted. The modern anti-skepticism of Hilary Putnam employs a different strategy, which seeks to derive the existence of the world not from some “indubitable” truth such as the existence of myself (...) , but from the meaning of some particular assertion I make. In this paper, I argue, however, that Putnam’s argument fails to deliver on the promise of showing the self-refuting nature of the skeptical hypothesis, as it relies on a double use of “I”, a fallacy of equivocation, reflecting an unsolved tension between the argument’s general premise, which is rather Zhuangzian in spirit, and his unwitting adoption of that unwarranted notion about “I”. I try to show further that the skepticism in Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream not only can be used to refute the proofs of the existence of the empirical I , but also is effective against accounts concerning the existence of the transcendental I. (shrink)
Recent neuropsychological data indicating that an absence of dreaming follows lesions of frontal subcortical white matter have been interpreted by Solms as supportive of Freud's wish-fulfillment, disguise-censorship dream theory. The purpose of this commentary is to call attention to Solms's commitment to Freud and to challenge and contrast his specific arguments with the simpler and more complete tenets of the activation-synthesis hypothesis. [Hobson et al.; Nielsen; Solms].
The most challenging objections to the Threat Simulation Theory (TST) of the function of dreaming include such issues as whether the competing Random Activation Theory can explain dreaming, whether TST can accommodate the apparently dysfunctional nature of post-traumatic nightmares, whether dreams are too bizarre and disorganized to constitute proper simulations, and whether dream recall is too biased to reveal the true nature of dreams. I show how these and many other objections can be accommodated by TST, and how several (...) lines of new supporting evidence are provided by the commentators. Accordingly TST offers a promising new approach to the function of dreaming, covering a wide range of evidence and theoretically integrating psychological and biological levels of explanation. (shrink)
This paper follows the tradition of treating Zhuangzi's Butterfly Dream episode as presenting a version of skepticism. However, unlike the prevalent interpretations within that tradition, it attempts to show that the skepticism conveyed in the episode is more radical than it has been conceived, such that the episode can be read as a skeptical response to Descartes' refutation of skepticism based on the _Cogito, ergo sum_ proof. The paper explains how the lack of commitment in Zhuangzi to the dubious (...) assumption about 'I' that it necessarily refers to something existing to which Descartes seems to uncritically adhere allows Zhuangzi to doubt what for Descartes is absolutely indubitable: _I exist_. (shrink)
This paper focuses on an underappreciated issue that dreams raise for moral evaluation: is immorality possible in dreams? The evaluatiotial internalist is committed to answering ‘yes.’ This is because the internalist account of moral evaluation holds that the moral quality of a person's actions, what a person does, her agency in any given case is completely determined by factors that are internal to that agency, such as the person's motives and/or intentions. Actual production of either good or bad effects is (...) completely irrelevant to the moral evaluation of that agency. Since agency can be expressed in a dream, the internalist is committed to dream immorality. Some may take this as a reductio of evaluational internalism, but whether or not this is the case the issue reveals what such a theory is committed to. In this paper I explore the significance of dreams to morality, and argue that the absurdity of dream immorality supports an account of moral evaluation with an externalist component, rather than a purely internalist account of moral evaluation. (shrink)
The evolutionary theory of threat simulation during dreaming indicates that themes appropriate to ancestral survival concerns (threats) should be disproportionately represented in dreams. Our studies of typical dream themes in students and sleep-disordered patients indicate that threatening dreams involving chase and pursuit are indeed among the three most prevalent themes, thus supporting Revonsuo's theory. However, many of the most prevalent themes are of positive, not negative, events (e.g., sex, flying) and of current, not ancestral, threat scenarios (e.g., schoolwork). Moreover, (...) many clearly ancestral themes (e.g., snakes, earthquakes) are not prevalent at all in dreams. Thus, these findings challenge the specificity of the threat simulation theory. [Revonsuo]. (shrink)
Dream interpretation is a common practice in psychotherapy. In the research presented in this article, each participant saw a clinician who interpreted a recent dream report to be a sign that the participant had had a mildly traumatic experience before age 3 years, such as being lost for an extended time or feeling abandoned by his or her parents. This dream intervention caused a majority of participants to become more confident that they had had such an experience, (...) even though they had previously denied it. These findings have implications for the use of dream material in clinical settings. In particular, the findings point to the possibility that dream interpretation may have unexpected side effects if it leads to beliefs about the past that may, in fact, be false. (shrink)
Guo Xiang's (252-312) reading of the famous "Butterfly Dream" passage from the Zhuangzi differs significantly from modern readings, particularly those that follow the Giles translation. Guo Xiang's view is based on the assumption that the character of Zhuang Zhou has no recollection of his dream after awakening and therefore does not entertain doubts about what or who he really is. This leads to a specific understanding of the allegorical and philosophical meaning of the text that stands in contradistinction (...) to most modern interpretations. A translation of the Butterfly passage and commentary are appended. (shrink)
All five target articles are of high quality and very stimulating for the field. Several factors such as dream report length and NREM/REM differences, may be affected by the waking process (transition from sleep to wakefulness) and the recall process. It is helpful to distinguish between a model for REM sleep regulation and a physiological model for dreaming. A third model accounting for cognitive activity (thought-like dreaming) can also be of value. The postulated adaptive function of dreaming in avoidance (...) learning does not seem very plausible because the two major basic assumptions (specificity of dream content and benefit of negative dreams) are not clearly supported by modern dream research: The critique of studies investigating memory consolidation in REM sleep is justified. Future studies integrating the knowledge of memory processes and sleep research will shed more light on the role of sleep, especially REM sleep in memory consolidation. [Hobson et al.; Nielsen; Revonsuo; Solms; Vertes & Eastman]. (shrink)
As highlighted by Solms, and to a lesser extent by Hobson et al. and Nielsen, dreaming and REM sleep can be dissociated. Meanwhile Vertes & Eastman and Revonsuo provide distinct views on the functions of REM sleep and dreaming. A resolution of such divergent views may clarify the fundamental nature of these processes. As dream commentators have long noted, with Revonsuo taking the lead among the present authors, emotionality is a central and consistent aspect of REM dreams. A deeper (...) consideration of emotions in REM dreams may serve as the conceptual salve to help heal the emerging rifts in this field of inquiry. [Hobson et al.; Nielsen; Revonsuo; Solms; Vertes & Eastman]. (shrink)
This essay discusses Walter Benjamin's development of 'dream' as a model for understanding 19th- and 20th-century urban culture. Following Bergson and surrealist poetics, Benjamin used 'dream' in the 1920s as an heuristic analogy for investigating child hood memories, kitsch art and literature; during the early 1930s, he also developed it into an historiographic concept for studying 19th- century Parisian culture. Benjamin's interpretative use of the dream cuts across Ricoeur's distinction between the hermeneutics of 'recol lection' and the (...) hermeneutics of 'suspicion'. The political dream analyst seeks to discharge the 'fatal powers' of the ideological dream, while at the same time fostering the experience of waking in which dream elements may recollectively be grasped. Benjamin extends this dialectic of dreaming, interpreting and waking to the relation between historical epochs and the tasks of the materialist historian. Puzzling out the recent past's dreamlike rebuses may serve in the task of a present historical awakening. Key Words: Walter Benjamin city dream hermeneutics surrealism. (shrink)
Little sociological attention is directed to dreams and dreaming, and none at all is directed to how people tell one another about dreams. Ordinary settings in which dreams are told mimic the conditions of “breaching” experiments and should produce anomie, but dream telling proceeds without trouble. Foundational orientations of ordinary dream talk assimilate into professional dream studies, where dream narratives are “data” and the analysis of narratives is “dream analysis.” That such practices proceed without trouble (...) poses some interesting problems for sociology in terms of how anyone experiences “constraint” in the telling and hearing of dreams. (shrink)
Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream shows ethical conflicts to be resolved relationally. Quarreling lovers divide Duke Theseus's Athenian court in advance of his own nuptial celebration, forcing the Duke to decide moral questions based on their ethical consequences. King Oberon's conflicted fairy world meddles in human affairs, adding to the ethical confusion. Athenian workmen vie for roles in a court performance that becomes both a theatrical travesty and a triumph of relational ethics owing to Bottom, the character most within (...) relation itself. Paradoxically, the “dream” elevates relating per se to self-consciousness. Hegel's dialectical, Jean-Luc Nancy's transfiguring, and Martin Buber's relational perspectives take up Shakespeare's premise of treating ontology and ethics as facets of the same movement. Just as the play enacts Hegel's assertion that all (inevitable) alienation must be overcome, so it also shows Nancy's and Buber's symbolic consecration of ethical being as mutuality. (shrink)
Definitions of dreaming are not required to map formal features of mental activity onto brain measures. While dreaming occurs during all stages of sleep, intense dreaming is largely confined to REM. Forebrain structures and many neurotransmitters can contribute to sleep and dreaming without negating brainstem and aminergic-cholinergic control mechanisms. Reductionism is essential to science and AIM has considerable heuristic value. Recent findings support sleep's role in learning and memory. Emerging technologies may address long-standing issues in sleep and dream research.
Drawing on the Second Discourse and the Social Contract and Notes from Underground and “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,” this essay examines the striking similarities and fundamental differences between Dostoevskij’s and Rousseau’s treatment of the problem of individual vs. society and their notions of ideal social relations. The essay investigates Rousseau’s attempt to absorb morality into politics and “to concretize” Diderot’s universal moral man into citizen. It also suggests that Dostoevskij takes Rousseau’s attempt at concretization a step further (...) by exposing humanist conceptions of man and society in general as fiction and creating a model of ideal society that absorbs morality, not into politics (as does Rousseau’s model), but into the sanctity of the Word. (shrink)
There are numerous traces of Nietzsche's influence in Wang Guowei's "On the Dream of the Red Chamber" even though there is not a single mention of Nietzsche's name in that seminal essay. Nietzschean thought looms large where Wang openly disagrees with or quietly departs from the views of Schopenhauer and, to a lesser extent, those of Kant and Aristotle. His questioning of Schopenhauer's "no-life-ism" harks back to Nietzsche's challenge to Schopenhauer's life-negating ethics. His portrayal of Bao Yu reveals three (...) distinctive character traits of the Nietzschean overman. In particular, the praise of Bao Yu's rebellious character reveals Wang's preference for the iconoclastic Nietzschean overman over the passive Schopenhauerian saint. A strong influence of Nietzsche's views of tragedy may also be observed in Wang's discussion of the tragic form. His modification of Aristotle's catharsis seems to have been made in the spirit of Nietzsche's criticism of its "pathological discharge." His stress on the ultimate salvational function of the Dream strongly reminds us of what Nietzsche has said about the life-saving role of the Dionysian tragedy in the Birth. Finally, in his conditional endorsement of "live-life-ism" we can see a thinly disguised repudiation of the extreme Darwinian tendency he mistakenly reads into Nietzsche's works. It should not be surprising that there are so many echoes of Nietzschean thought in "On the Dream." While writing this essay Wang was deeply occupied with the study of Nietzsche's aesthetic and ethical theories through comparisons with Schopenhauer's. If this influence of Nietzsche can be established on the basis of the evidence given above, there is then a need to reassess Nietzschean thought as a catalyst more important than hitherto thought for the rethinking of traditional Chinese literary and cultural traditions--a broad twentieth-century critical and intellectual trend initiated by none other than Wang's "On the Dream.". (shrink)
Revonsuo's evolutionary theory of dream function is extremely interesting. However, although threat avoidance theory is well grounded in experimental data, it does not take other significant dream research data into account. The theory can be integrated into a more general hypothesis which takes these data into consideration. [Revonsuo].
Two meta-analyses of pharmacological research are presented, demonstrating that psychoactive drugs have consistent effects on EEG and sleep outside of their effects on REM sleep, and demonstrating that drugs other than those affecting sleep neurotransmitter systems and REM sleep can also alter reported nightmare occurrence. These data suggest that the neurobiology data terrain outside activation-synthesis may include sleep and dream electrophysiology, cognitive reports of dreaming, effects of alterations in consciousness on dreaming, immunology and host defense, and clinical therapies for (...) sleep disorders. (shrink)
In his De Natura et Origine Animae, an answer to a work by Vincentius Victor, Augustine was drawn into attempting to answer some questions about what kind of reality dream-bodies, dream-worlds and dream-pains have. In this paper I concentrate on Augustine's attempts to show that none of Victor's arguments for the corporeality of the soul are any good, and that Victor's inflated claims about the extent of the soul's self-knowledge are the result of mistaking self-awareness for self-knowledge. (...) Augustine takes the position that the feelings we have in dreams and the feelings of the dead, although they are real feelings, are not always the feelings they seem to be. This position is consistent with Augustine's later works, though it departs from his understanding of these issues in his earliest works. (shrink)
The coefficients of internal consistency and retest reliability had been rarely investigated within the methodology of dream content analysis. Analyzing a dream series of elderly, healthy persons obtained from weekly telephone interviews, the internal consistency of a series of 20 dreams and retests after 4 or 22 weeks, respectively, had been computed. The findings indicate that dream recall and dream length are quite stable, but dream characteristics such as bizarreness and emotional tone underlie large intraindividual (...) fluctuations. In order to obtain reliable measures for these variables which will be important for correlational studies, including waking-life trait measures, one has to obtain as many dreams as possible (about 20) in a very short time period. Further research is needed to extend the present findings to diary dreams and laboratory dreams. (shrink)
The “problem” of dreaming in NREM sleep continues to challenge models that propose a causal relationship between REM mechanisms and the psychological features of dreaming. I suggest that, ultimately, efforts to identify correspondences among multiple levels of analysis will be more productive for dream theory than attempts to reduce dreaming to any one level of analysis. [Hobson et al. ; Nielsen].
The target articles on sleep and dreaming are discussed in terms of the concept of search activity integrating different types of behavior, body resistance, REM sleep/dream functions, and the brain catecholamine system. REM sleep may be functionally sufficient or insufficient, depending on the dream scenario, the latter being more important than the physiological manifestation of REM sleep. REM sleep contributes to memory consolidation in the indirect way. [Nielsen; Revonsuo; Solms; Vertes & Eastman].
The consummate Soto Zen master, Dogen (1200?1253), expressed himself in creative ways that reflected fundamental insights of Chan/Zen Buddhism while responding to the needs of his time and place, i.e., Kamakura era Japan. His early training in Tendai and Rinzai Zen lent rigor and force to his Soto Zen experiences and expressions. This paper explores Dogen's new light on causality and morality purity, vis-à-vis Song dynasty Chan approaches by examining (1) his comments, early (1244) and late (ca. 1252), on the (...) Fox Koan, and (2) his discussions about Dream and ?veridical? experience. By showing the inexorability of causality, Dogen revealed the need for moral purity in achieving enlightenment qua freedom. Even in the vertigo of emptiness, the purified Soto Zen Buddhist adept discerns and effects equilibrium and, by extension, fairness, in experience, practice and affairs, as ongoing endeavors, as skilful means to impact and transform, not just Buddhist adepts, but one's world. (shrink)
��People spent 5 min before sleep at home writing their stream of thought as they suppressed thoughts of a target person, thought of the person, or wrote freely after mentioning the person. These presleep references generally prompted people to report increased dreaming about the person. However, suppression instructions were particularly likely to have this in- ﬂuence, increasing dreaming about the person as measured both by participants’ self-ratings of their dreams and by raters’ coding of mentions of the person in written (...)dream reports. This effect was observed regardless of emotional attraction to the person. (shrink)
The revolution has not yet succeeded. Comrades, carry on! On February 17, 1904, one month after the Russo-Japanese War broke out in northeastern China (Manchuria), Cai Yuanpei,1 a prominent Chinese intellectual, began to publish his short story “Xinnian meng” (New Year’s dream) in Eshi jingwen (Alarming news about Russia), a daily based in Shanghai.2 In this piece, Cai depicts his dream of a future world where humans ultimately achieve universal freedom and affluence. The contemporary scholar Arif Dirlik praised (...) Cai Yuanpei’s creativity, regarding “New Year’s Dream” as worthy of inclusion in an “anarchist canon.”3 Cai Yuanpei, although a prestigious scholar and educator and the most famous chancellor of .. (shrink)
Waking hallucinations suggest mechanisms of dream initiation and maintenance. Visual association cortex activation, yielding poorly attended-to, visually ambiguous dream environments, suggests conditions favoring hallucinosis. Attentional and visual systems, coactivated during sleep, may generate imagery that is inserted into virtual environments. Internally consistent dreaming may evolve from successive, contextually evoked images. Fluctuating arousal and context-evoked imagery may help explain dream features.
This study compares employee attitudes to their reports of whether they consider their socio-economic status to be higher, the same, or lower than that of their parents. The premise of the research was based on the apparent deterioration of the expectation that each generation will live in greater economic comfort than their parents, referred to as a vital component of the American dream. Where this pattern of socio-economic progress has been interrupted, it may relate to certain attitudes. These attitudes, (...) in turn, are likely to influence behavior. Here the focus is on whether employees' survey responses indicate they are honest, trustworthy, and tolerant. Differences in these characteristics that relate to self-reported socio- economic progress, may serve to explain the occurrence of certain behaviors among people who otherwise seem highly ethical. This information may also help create organizational awareness of the potential for unethical behavior, when employees have been blocked from their own expectations for betterment. (shrink)
Our goal is to develop an English version of the Dream Property Scale (DPS-E) based on the original normed scale in Japan (DPS-J). Factor analyses extracted four factors (Emotionality, Rationality, Activity, and Impression) and its factor structure was apparently similar to the DPS-J. The DPS-E was also shown to be related to EEG power spectral values. These results indicate that the DPS-E may provide an exploratory basis for a reliable and valid tool for capturing and quantifying the properties of (...)dream experiences that could reflect physiological activities without the intervention of experimenters. We suggest that the DPS-E will develop into a useful tool to help clarify dream production mechanisms by further investigation. (shrink)
There are many links between Kuki Shūzō and the French philosophy of the 1920s that treated the phenomenon of contingency. Examined are (1) the problem of time as it presented itself to French philosophers at the beginning of the twentieth century and its reception by Kuki as an Oriental philosopher and a Buddhist; (2) the problem of liberty and of existence in these French philosophers and in Buddhism; and (3) the phenomenon of the dream as a psychic and aesthetic (...) phenomenon for Kuki and for the French philosophers in question. (shrink)
Philosopher Rene Descartes visualized a world unified by mathematics, in which all intellectual issues could be resolved rationally by local computation. This series of provocative essays takes a modern look at the seventeenth-century thinker’s dream, examining the physical and intellectual influences of mathematics on society, particularly in light of technological advances. They survey the conditions that elicit the application of mathematic principles; the effectiveness of these applications; and how applied mathematics constrain lives and transform perceptions of reality. Highly suitable (...) for browsing, the essays require different levels of mathematical knowledge that range from popular to professional. 1987 ed. (shrink)
According to one fairly standard reconstruction Descartes' Dream Argument has two crucial premises. The paper starts by analysing two important failed attempts, discussed by Barry Stroud and Mark Steiner, at justifying one of these premises. On this basis then an alternative is suggested to the line of interpretation assumed by these attempts which easily resolves the problems they face. It is shown that this alternative and its rivals are on a par with respect to the other crucial premise of (...) the Dream Argument and that it is superior to the others in avoiding scepticism or infinite regress. (shrink)
The publication of his Apologia pro Vita Sua (1864) brought Newman back into contact with many of his Anglican friends—two of whom gifted him with a violin. In his letter of appreciation, Newman mused: “Perhaps thought is music.” Such would seem to be the case with his poem, The Dream of Gerontius (1865), which was set to music by Sir Edward Elgar (1900). This essay explores the relationship between Newman’s Apologia and The Dream of Gerontius and then analyzes (...) the latter’s structure and content and compares it with other Christian classics. (shrink)
Newman’s dramatic poem, “The Dream of Gerontius” (1865), was set to music by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) in 1900. This essay brings out the sympathy of mind and heart between poet and composer, and perhaps between them both and the listener of today, as well as the universality and depth of the human stake in some kind of personal and peopled life after death.
That conception is orthodox in today’s common sense and also historically. Presupposed by Plato, Augustine, and Descartes, it underlies familiar skeptical paradoxes. Similar orthodoxy is also found in our developing science of sleep and dreaming. Despite such confluence.
What, if anything, do dreams tell us about ourselves? What is the relationship between types of sleep and types of dreams? Does dreaming serve any purpose? Or are dreams simply meaningless mental noise--"unmusical fingers wandering over the piano keys"? With expertise in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, Owen Flanagan is uniquely qualified to answer these questions. In this groundbreaking work, he provides both an accessible survey of the latest research on sleep and dreams and a compelling new theory about the nature (...) and function of dreaming. Flanagan argues that while sleep has a clear biological function and adaptive value, dreams are merely side effects, "free riders," irrelevant from an evolutionary point of view. But dreams are hardly unimportant. Flanagan argues that dreams are self-expressive, the result of our need to find or to create meaning, even when we're sleeping. Written with remarkable insight, Dreaming Souls offers a fascinating new way of apprehending one of the oldest mysteries of mental life. (shrink)
If people never dreamed, would it make a difference to how they picture reality? Or themselves? Philosophers would certainly lose the most natural way of introducing skepticism. The Chinese Taoist, Chuang Tzu (369 B. C. - ?), dreamt he was a butterfly. When he awoke he wondered whether he was a man who dreamt he was butterfly or a butterfly now dreaming he is a man. Any experience can be explained as either a faithful representation of the world or as (...) a mere figment of a sleeper's imagination. (shrink)
Dreams were a topic of study even in ancient times, and they are a special spiritual phenomenon. Generations of literati have defined the meaning of dreams in their own way, while Zhu Xi was perhaps the most outstanding one among them. He made profound explanations of dreams from aspects such as the relationship between dreams and the principles li and qi , the relationship between dreams and the state of the heart, and the relationship (...) between dreams and an individual’s moral improvement. He summarized previous generations’ understanding of dreams and infused a new dimension from the School of Principles, pointing out a direction for individuals’ moral cultivation and spiritual pursuit. Zhu Xi also examined the opinions of Zhang Zai, Cheng Yi, Hu Hong and other thinkers on Confucius not dreaming of Duke Zhou in his later years, revealing differences between thinkers in the School of Principles. An analysis of Zhu Xi’s thoughts on dreams will provide deeper insight into the research on the School of Principles. (shrink)
The AIM model proposed by Hobson et al. is interesting: We know the neurophysiological aspects of the activation process (A) and the external input (I), but very little about the internal input and neurocognitive process (M). Internal input could be an expression of unconscious experiences memorised by the subject containing his emotional and cognitive history. Therefore internal input could not be chaotic but might have an emotional and affective sense bound to the unconscious. The fact that dreams are present in (...) the absence of REM sleep means that they may originate from other structures besides the pons. These structures may represent the archives of dreamer's affective history. [Hobson et al.; Solms]. (shrink)
In this commentary I discuss the importance of considering the isomorphism between the full richness of dreams and the great body of information about REM sleep that is amply documented in the five target articles. With this inclusive mode I point out the importance of looking at REM sleep as involving both pontine and cortical activity in an integrated network. We cannot have a full appreciation of sleep and dreaming (view of the forest) without taking both physiology and mental activity (...) seriously. [Hobson et al., Nielsen, Revonsuo, Solms, Vertes & Eastman]. (shrink)
Dreaming in sleep must depend on the activity of the brain as does cognition and memory in wakefulness. Yet our understanding of the physiological subtleties of state differences may still be too primitive to guide theories adequately in these areas. One can state nonetheless unequivocally that the brain in REM is poorly equipped to practice for eventualities of wakefulness through dreaming, or for consolidating into memory the complex experiences of that state. [Hobson et al., Nielsen, Solms, Vertes & Eastman, Revonsuo].
Scepticism about external world knowledge is frequently claimed to emerge from Descartes’s dreaming argument. That argument supposedly challenges one to have some further knowledge — the knowledge that one is not dreaming that p — if one is to have even one given piece of external world knowledge that p. The possession of that further knowledge can seem espe-cially important when the dreaming possibility is genuinely Cartesian (with one’s dreaming that p being incompatible with the truth of one’s accompany-ing belief (...) that p). But this paper shows why that Cartesian use of that possi-bility is not at all challenging. It is because that putative sceptical challenge reduces to a triviality which is incompatible with the sceptic’s having de-scribed some further piece of knowledge which is needed, if one is to have the knowledge that p. (shrink)
In Carnap’s autobiography, he tells the story how one night in January 1931, “the whole theory of language structure” in all its ramifications “came to [him] like a vision”. The shorthand manuscript he produced immediately thereafter, he says, “was the first version” of Logical Syntax of Language. This document, which has never been examined since Carnap’s death, turns out not to resemble Logical Syntax at all, at least on the surface. Wherein, then, did the momentous insight of 21 January 1931 (...) consist? We seek to answer this question by placing Carnap’s shorthand manuscript in the context of his previous efforts to accommodate scientific theories and meta- linguistic claims within Wittgenstein’s Tractatus theory of meaning. The breakthrough of January 1931 consists, from this viewpoint, in the rejection of the Tractatus theory in favor of the meta-mathematical perspective of Hilbert, Gödel, and Tarski. This was not yet the standpoint of the published Logical Syntax, as we show, but led naturally to the “principle of tolerance” and thus to Carnap’s mature philosophy, in which the inconsistencies between this first view and the principle of tolerance, which survived into the published Syntax, were overcome. (shrink)
The paper deals with Wittgenstein’s treatment of radical skepticism. He holds from his earliest work to his last that skepticism is senseless and therefore no rebuttal, such as G.E. Moore offered, is necessary.
In the 1950s, dream researchers commonly thought that dreams were predominantly a black and white phenomenon, although both earlier and later treatments of dreaming assume or assert that dreams have color. The first half of the twentieth century saw the rise of black and white film media, and it is likely that the emergence of the view that dreams are black and white was connected to this change in film technology. If our opinions about basic features of our dreams (...) can change with changes in technology, it seems to follow that our knowledge of the experience of dreaming is much less secure than we might at first have thought it to be. (shrink)
Economic progress in the United States has been attributed to the successful combination of two social structures – capitalism as an economic system and democracy as a political system. At the heart of this interaction is a particular work ethic in which hard work is considered the path to both immediate and future rewards. This article examines the evolution of work ethic in the United States, as well as the returns experienced through various adaptations in the country’s history. From this (...) grounding, the information is structured into a proposal that key messages contained in the current, accepted work ethic are subject to distortions that may contribute to unethical decision making. These distortions result from two potentials: (1) efforts to reconcile the work ethic with contradictory messages and (2) exaggerations of the work ethic that become dysfunctional. The intent is to provide a framework that may explain to organizational leaders how people with the same basic work ethic can behave differently in terms of ethical work. Along with this understanding comes the potential to offset possible distortions and to encourage more ethical behavior. (shrink)
One question that has created controversy among interpreters is just how much is in doubt at the end of the Dream Argument in Meditation I. I argue that there is doubt about the existence of composite bodies not yet about the existence of a physical world. I also caution against using later parts of the Meditations to interpret the First Meditation on account of the order of reasons in this work. I connect the Omnipotent God argument to Descartes's views (...) about innate ideas and analyze the First Meditation in relation to Descartes's anti-aristotelian purposes. (shrink)
In Carnap’s autobiography, he tells the story how one night in January 1931, “the whole theory of language structure” in all its ramiﬁcations “came to [him] like a vision”. The shorthand manuscript he produced immediately thereafter, he says, “was the ﬁrst version” of Logical Syntax of Language. This document, which has never been examined since Carnap’s death, turns out not to resemble Logical Syntax at all, at least on the surface. Wherein, then, did the momentous insight of 21 January 1931 (...) consist? We seek to answer this question by placing Carnap’s shorthand manuscript in the context of his previous efforts to accommodate scientiﬁc theories and metalinguistic claims within Wittgenstein’s Tractatus theory of meaning. The breakthrough of January 1931 consists, from this viewpoint, in the rejection of the Tractatus theory in favor of the meta-mathematical perspective of Hilbert, Gödel, and Tarski. This was not yet the standpoint of the published Logical Syntax, as we show, but led naturally to the “principle of tolerance” and thus to Carnap’s mature philosophy, in which the inconsistencies between this ﬁrst view and the principle of tolerance, which survived into the published Syntax, were overcome. (shrink)
Cosmopolitans share the moral assumption that we have obligations and responsibilities to other people, near or distant. Today, those obligations and responsibilities are often connected with communication, but what is considered important for cosmopolitan communication differs between different thinkers. Given the centrality of communication in recent cosmopolitan theory and debate the purpose of this article is to examine assumptions about communication that are often taken for granted, and particularly the commonly held assumption that linguistic communication depends on shared or common (...) languages. It is primarily Donald Davidson's philosophy of language that provides the framework for my examination. I argue that there are several reasons for reconstructing our understanding of the nature of language and communication, and that shared languages play a much more limited role in communication than many communication theorists, cosmopolitans and educators have imagined. (shrink)
: This essay provides an analysis of the terms by which the question of extending civil marriage to same-sex couples has been posed, advanced, and resisted in Canada and the United States in the past few years. Denike draws on feminist theories of justice to evaluate the strategies and approaches of initiatives to reform the laws governing the state's recognition—and lack thereof—of personal relationships of dependency and care. She also examines the political opposition to such reforms and the challenges posed (...) for advancing human rights for gays and lesbians in the face of social and political prejudice against same-sex marriage. (shrink)
"The eye that gathers impressions is no longer the eye that sees a depiction on a surface it becomes a hand, the ray of light becomes a finger, and the imagination becomes a form of immediate touching."-Johann Gottfried Herder Long recognized as one of the most important eighteenth-century works on aesthetics and the visual arts, Johann Gottfried Herder's Plastik (Sculpture, 1778) has never before appeared in a complete English translation. In this landmark essay, Herder combines rationalist and empiricist thought with (...) a wide range of sources-from the classics to Norse legend, Shakespeare to the Bible-to illuminate the ways we experience sculpture. Standing on the fault line between classicism and romanticism, Herder draws most of his examples from classical sculpture, while nevertheless insisting on the historicity of art and of the senses themselves. Through a detailed analysis of the differences between painting and sculpture, he develops a powerful critique of the dominance of vision both in the appreciation of art and in our everyday apprehension of the world around us. One of the key articulations of the aesthetics of Sturm und Drang, Sculpture is also important as an anticipation of subsequent developments in art theory. Jason Gaiger's translation of Sculpture includes an extensive introduction to Herder's thought, explanatory notes, and illustrations of all the sculptures discussed in the text. (shrink)
As I preliminary to treating the topic of this paper, I offer two observations about the practice of interpreting Nietzsche. My first observation is that this practice is sometimes carried out at an unusually high level of generality. I think that much of what we concern ourselves with, both in our private musings and in our disputes with others, is not merely the analysis of positions or the reconstruction of arguments, but what kind of philosopher Nietzsche was, and thus what (...) sort of a philosophical enterprise we might attribute to him at all. What I have claimed so far, that different philosophers – never mind the nonphilosophers for a moment – read Nietzsche in radically different ways, will probably not shock anyone. Nevertheless, here are three examples of different ways of reading Nietzsche. To produce these examples I have culled details from more comprehensive readings. I cannot do justice to those readings or their authors here, but what should remain are a few genuine points of difference. On Gianni Vattimo’s reading, Nietzsche gradually develops from an Enlightenment cultural critic to an antihumanist. In the process that Vattimo describes, Nietzsche begins his philosophical career as a moralist who sheds light on the “spiritual tradition of humanity”1 by revealing its hidden origins, its basis in lies, and its groundlessness. Nietzsche breaks with Enlightenment, however, in dismissing the very availability of truth behind the “masks” of culture. Vattimo writes that Nietzsche’s project is only accomplished “… when you understand that even the notion of truth, belief in its value in preference to error, the very idea that there may.. (shrink)
Despite the United States' economic abundance, "the good life" has proved elusive. Millions long for more time for friends and family, for reading or walking or relaxing. Instead our lives are frantic, hectic, and harried. In Graceful Simplicity, Jerome M. Segal, philosopher, political activist, and former staff member of the House Budget Committee, expands and deepens the contemporary discourse on simple living. He articulates his conception of a politics of simplicity--one rooted in beauty, peace of mind, appreciativeness, and generosity of (...) spirit. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore connections between two disciplines not typically linked: argumentation theory and urban design. I first trace historical ties between the art of reasoned discourse and the idea of civic virtue. I next analyze discourse norms implicit in three theories of urban design: Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (1977), and Peter Katz's The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community (1994). I then propose (...) a set of âsettlementâ issues of potential interest to both urban designers and argumentation theorists: size, density, heterogeneity, publicity, security, and identity. I conclude by suggesting that the âgood cityâ be seen as both a spatial and a discursive entity. From such a perspective, good public discourse is dependent, at least in part, on good public space; and good public space is defined, at least in part, as a context conducive to good public discourse. (shrink)