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)
This metatheoretical paper develops a list of new research targets by exploring particularly promising interdisciplinary contact points between empirical dream research and philosophy of mind. The central example is the MPS-problem. It is constituted by the epistemic goal of conceptually isolating and empirically grounding the phenomenal property of “minimal phenomenal selfhood”, which refers to the simplest form of self-consciousness. In order to precisely describe MPS, one must focus on those conditions that are not only causally enabling, but strictly necessary to (...) bring it into existence. This contribution argues that research on bodiless dreams, asomatic out-of-body experiences, and full-body illusions has the potential to make decisive future contributions. Further items on the proposed list of novel research targets include differentiating the concept of a “first-person perspective” on the subcognitive level; investigating relevant phenomenological and neurofunctional commonalities between mind-wandering and dreaming; comparing the functional depth of embodiment across dream and wake states; and demonstrating that the conceptual consequences of cognitive corruption and systematic rationality deficits in the dream state are much more serious for philosophical epistemology (and, perhaps, the methodology of dream research itself) than commonly assumed. The paper closes by specifying a list of potentially innovative research goals that could serve to establish a stronger connection between dream research and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Several theories claim that dreaming is a random by-product of REM sleep physiology and that it does not serve any natural function. Phenomenal dream content, however, is not as disorganized as such views imply. The form and content of dreams is not random but organized and selective: during dreaming, the brain constructs a complex model of the world in which certain types of elements, when compared to waking life, are underrepresented whereas others are over represented. Furthermore, dream content is (...) consistently and powerfully modulated by certain types of waking experiences. On the basis of this evidence, I put forward the hypothesis that the biological function of dreaming is to simulate threatening events, and to rehearse threat perception and threat avoidance. To evaluate this hypothesis, we need to consider the original evolutionary context of dreaming and the possible traces it has left in the dream content of the present human population. In the ancestral environment human life was short and full of threats. Any behavioral advantage in dealing with highly dangerous events would have increased the probability of reproductive success. A dream-production mechanism that tends to select threatening waking events and simulate them over and over again in various combinations would have been valuable for the development and maintenance of threat-avoidance skills. Empirical evidence from normative dream content, children's dreams, recurrent dreams, nightmares, post traumatic dreams, and the dreams of hunter-gatherers indicates that our dream-production mechanisms are in fact specialized in the simulation of threatening events, and thus provides support to the threat simulation hypothesis of the function of dreaming. Key Words: dream content; dream function; evolution of consciousness; evolutionary psychology; fear; implicit learning; nightmares; rehearsal; REM; sleep; threat perception. (shrink)
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)
Two aspects of consciousness are first considered: consciousness as awareness (phenomenological meaning) and consciousness as strategic control (functional meaning). As to awareness, three types can be distinguished: first, awareness as the phenomenal experiences of objects and events; second, awareness as meta-awareness, i.e., the awareness of mental life itself; third, awareness as self-awareness, i.e., the awareness of being oneself. While phenomenal experience and self-awareness are usually present during dreaming (even if many modifications are possible), meta-awareness is usually absent (apart from some (...) particular experiences of self-reflectiveness) with the major exception of lucid dreaming. Consciousness as strategic control may also be present in dreams. The functioning of consciousness is then analyzed, following a cognitive model of dream production. In such a model, the dream is supposed to be the product of the interaction of three components: (a) the bottom-up activation of mnemonic elements coming from LTM systems, (b) interpretative and elaborative top-down processes, and (c) monitoring of phenomenal experience. A feedback circulation is activated among the components, where the top-down interpretative organization and the conscious monitoring of the oneiric scene elicitates other mnemonic contents, according to the requirements of the dream plot. This dream productive activity is submitted to unconscious and conscious processes. (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)
The aim of this article is to show that statistical analysis and hermeneutics are not mutually exclusive. Although statistical analysis may capture some patterns and regularities, statistical methods may themselves generate different types of interpretation and, in turn, give rise to even more interpretations. The discussion is lodged within the context of a quantitative analysis of dream content. I attempted to examine the dialogical texts of reported dreams monologically, but soon found myself returning to dialogic contexts to make sense (...) of statistical patterns. One could cogently argue that the reported statistical relationships in this study, rather than pointing to any interaction among the "signifieds," speak only to the relationships among the "signifiers" that were being played out through various actors on the analytic or scientific stage, since all of the constructs used in theorizing about, interpreting, and telling dreams come from the same discursive system. (shrink)
differences between dreaming and waking consciousness as well. In this chapter, we will argue that these differences mainly concern the subjective quality of the dreaming experience. The interesting question, from a philosophical point of view, is not so much whether or not dreams are conscious experiences at all. Rather, one must ask in what sense dreams can be considered as conscious experiences, and what happens to the experiential subject during the dream state. Finally, in order to arrive at (...) a more differentiated understanding of dream consciousness, we will contrast our analysis of ordinary dreams with lucid dreams, as well as with the varying degrees of lucidity and cognitive clarity seen in semi-lucid and prelucid dreams. (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.
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.
Although Foucault's early writings were strongly influenced by the discourse of existential phenomenology, he later considered it an obstacle to a better understanding of social and political power. This essay seeks to understand some of the reasons for his shift, specifically with respect to Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. I argue that Foucault diverges from existential phenomenology according to an alternative tendency within the Kantian inheritance they both share: one which stresses the world-disruptive rather than the unifying or world-disclosive power of transcendental (...) imagination. Examining the role played by dreams and death in Foucault's early introduction to Binswanger's Dream and Existence allows us to situate his later analysis of the historical and political (rather than existential) meaning of death with respect to larger philosophical currents. (shrink)
In The interpretation of dreams Freud famously claimed to have finally solved the riddle of dreams. Yet amidst all the heated debates and intense controversies that ensued in the wake of this groundbreaking work, one fundamental question has been entirely overlooked, namely: in what sense, exactly, are dreams analogous to riddles? It will be the burden of this paper to show that a critical investigation of this seemingly simple question reveals a fundamental and hereto unnoticed discrepancy between (...) Freud's rhetoric on his method of dream interpretation and its application in practice. More specifically, whereas Freud argues that the psychoanalytic method can effectively solve the riddles of dreams by uncovering their pre-existing solutions, careful examination reveals that dream interpretations of this kind are the product of a very different solving technique, one that proceeds along a retroactive timeline rather than a linear one. Drawing on Wittgenstein's distinction between two kinds of riddles and the manner in which they are solved, I expound on the nature of retroactive riddle-solving, thus generating a distinctly different picture of psychoanalytic dream interpretation than the one envisioned and advocated by Freud. (shrink)
The advent of functional imaging has reinforced the attempts to define dreaming as a sleep state-dependent phenomenon. PET scans revealed major differences between nonREM sleep and REM sleep. However, because dreaming occurs throughout sleep, the common features of the two sleep states, rather than the differences, could help define the prerequisite for the occurrence of dreams. [Hobson et al.; Nielsen; Solms; Revonsuo; Vertes & Eastman].
Several Buddhist schools in India, China and Japan concentrate on the interrelationships between waking and dreaming consciousness. In Eastern philosophy, reality can be seen as a dream and an obscure 'reality beyond' can be considered as real. In spite of the overwhelming Platonic-Aristotelian-Freudian influence existent in Western culture, some Western thinkers and artists - Valéry, Baudelaire, and Schnitzler, for example - have been fascinated by a kind of 'simple presence' contained in dreams. I show that this has consequences for (...) a philosophy of space. According to the authors discussed, the dreamer and the player recognize that human space always means the entire cosmos. (shrink)
Solms shows the cortical basis for why dreams reflect waking concerns and goals, but with deficient volition. I argue the latter relates to Hobson et al.'s process I as well as M. A memory function for REM sleep is possible, but may be irrelevant to dream characteristics, which, contrary to Revonsuo, mirror the range of waking emotions, positive and negative. [Hobson et al.; Nielsen; Solms; Revonsuo; Vertes & Eastman].
Ervin Laszlo has used the ancient concept of the Akashic Records for the basis of his "Akashic Field" (A-field) model, one that has obvious implications for parapsychology, the scientific study of anomalous human-human and human-environment interactions, that is, "psi." Experiments with "telepathic" and "precognitive" dreams are one example of parapsychological research that may fit the A-field model because of its information-carrying potential. Psi appears to be a complex system, one that may reflect the connective "web" posited by the A-field (...) model. In other words, the "universal knowledge" implicit in the old descriptions of the Akashic Records may have a modern-day counterpart. (shrink)
: Lucretius' Epicurean account of dreams in Book IV of De Rerum Natura indicates that they are wholly void of prophetic significance and of little practical significance. Dreams, rightly apprehended, do little more than mirror our daily preoccupations. For Lucretius, all dreams pass through the gate of ivory and all are reducible to psychophysical phenomena.In this paper, I examine Lucretius' account of sleep and the formation of dreams in light of the Epicurean aims of the poem (...) as a whole. In doing so, I give what I take to be a plausible sketch of the formation of dreams through what I call Lucretius' "selection model" of dreams. The selection model forbids, strictly speaking, the phenomenon of genuine prophecy through dreams, while at the same time it allows for a surprisingly rich psychophysical explanation of the genesis of seemingly prophetic dreams in sleepers. Thus, I argue, a proper grasp of the Lucretian account of oneiric formation is itself a significant part of the Epicurean cure for superstitions and religiously based ills of his day. (shrink)
Revonsuo argues that the biological function of dreaming is to simulate threatening events and to rehearse threat avoidance behaviors. He views recurrent dreams as an example of this function. We present data and clinical observations suggesting that (1) many types of recurrent dreams do not include threat perceptions; (2) the nature of the threat perceptions that do occur in recurrent dreams are not always realistic; and (3) successful avoidance responses are absent from most recurrent dreams and (...) possibly nightmares. [Hobson et al.; Revonsuo]. (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)
This paper suggests that The Interpretation of Dreams contains some of Freud's most provocative, far-reaching, and powerful psychoanalytic insights regarding futurity, intersubjective communication, and the relationship between the dream, the dreamer, and the world. By focusing on the specific status and function of the dream (as opposed to all other psychic actions), this paper explores how and why the singular language of dreams—and the very possibility of dream interpretation—provide a specifically psychoanalytic model of translation. The essay examines the (...) specific status of the dream by appealing to a selection of important and influential philosophical readings of Freud's text by Slavoj Žižek, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Jean Laplanche, and Jean-François Lyotard. Building upon the differences in their respective approaches to the question of dream, the essay argues that because the language of every dream is radically singular, and because dreams trouble all temporal boundaries so that they cannot be located in a particular space or time, they open up the pathway to the future. Furthermore, by showing that dreams produce effects over time and that they leave material traces, the essay also argues that dreams produce real events in the real world. Close attention to Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams reveals that Freud's “dreambook” combines elements of an ethics, a politics, and a poetics. This paper concludes by suggesting that the dream is the fragile bridge that joins the subject to the social world through a form of language that has no presence, and that belongs to no one. (shrink)
The Interpretation of Dreams is often thought to be Freud's best book-length work. It was, indeed, Freud's first lengthy statement of a substantially original psychological theory. Freud wrote the book in the late 1890's and published it in 1900; it had a second edition in 1909, and thereafter many subsequent editions. By Freud's own account it was not well received by the scientific..
Introduction: conversing with traditions : ancients and moderns in nineteenth-century practical science -- Aristotle on the constitution of social justice and classical democracy -- Aristotle and classical social theory : social justice and moral economy in Marx, Weber, and Durkheim -- Kant on the critique of reason and science -- Kant and classical social theory : epistemology, logic, and methods in Marx, Weber, and Durkheim -- Conclusion: dreams of classical reason : historical science between existentialism and antiquity.
Are some mental activities rational but unconscious? Psychopathological symptoms, it is said, have a sense — they are seen as compromise-formations which express the intentions of agents even though the agents are totally unaware of bringing about such symptoms. Philosophers, who often claim that such a conception is simply contradictory or incoherent, have shed little light on the puzzles and apparent paradoxes that surround the issue. It is argued here that Freud's two models of explanation — the mechanistic and the (...) intentionalistic — each fail to provide a basis for an explanatory account of the phenomenon of unconscious defense. An examination of the problem of dream composition helps explain why Freud's dependence upon rational homunculi is inappropriate and misleading. Finally, an alternative model which depends neither upon Freud's version of mechanism nor upon his lavish anthropormorphism is suggested.Ladies and Gentlemen, — It was discovered one day that the pathological symptoms of certain neurotic patients have a sense. On this discovery the psychoanalytic method of treatment was founded. It happened in the course of the treament that patients, instead of bringing forward their symptoms, brought forward dreams. A suspicion thus arose that the dreams too had a sense. (shrink)
I discuss how the work in Walker's article adds to the considerable body of research on dreaming, sleep, and memory that appeared in the early days of modern sleep research. I also consider the issue of REM-independent and REM-dependent kinds of learning. This requires including emotional issues in our discussion, and therefore emphasizes the importance of studying and understanding dreams.
The pharmacological literature on negative dream experiences is reviewed with respect to Revonsuo's threat rehearsal theory of dreaming. Moderate support for the theory is found, although much more work is needed. Significant questions that remain include the precise role of acetylcholine in the generation of negative dream experiences and dissociations between the pharmacology of waking fear and anxiety and threatening dreams. [Revonsuo].
Dreams of chase or pursuit, falling, sex, flying, nudity, failing an examination, one's own and other's death, fire, teeth falling out and some other themes experienced, even if only rarely, by many people all over the world have been labelled 'typical dreams'. This essay argues that typical dreaming, rather a syndrome of themes than monothematic, reflects an extraordinary state of mind and brain. Odd and particularly memorable perceptions, as well as emerging awareness of sleep and dreaming -- i.e. (...) parallels to lucid dreaming, sleep paralysis, complex partial seizure, epileptic and migraine auras, and aspects of dreaming after trauma -- can be traced with some plausibility in all prominent variants of typical dreaming. When viewed from this perspective, for example, dream pursuers are much more a shadow of the bodily self than a metaphor for the psycho- biographical situation or evolutionarily implemented sparring partners who make dreamers fit for the struggle for survival during waking hours. (shrink)
Threat themes are clearly over-represented in dreams. Threat is, however, not the only theme with potential evolutionary significance. Even for hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations during sleep paralysis, for which threat themes are far commoner than for ordinary dreaming, consistent non-threat themes have been reported. Revonsuo's simulation hypothesis represents an encouraging initiative to develop an evolutionary functional approach to dream-related experiences but it could be broadened to include evolutionarily relevant themes beyond threat. It is also suggested that Revonsuo's evolutionary re-interpretation (...) of dreams might profitably be compared to arguments for, and models of, evolutionary functions of play. [Revonsuo]. (shrink)
Patterns of dream content indicating a predominance of themes relating to threat are likely to reflect biases in dream recall and dream scoring techniques. Even if this pattern is not artifactual, it is yet reflective of threat-related biases in our conscious and nonconscious waking cognition, and is not special to dreams. [Revonsuo].
According to Revonsuo, dreams are the output of a evolved “threat simulation mechanism.” The author marshals a diverse and comprehensive array of empirical and theoretical support for this hypothesis. We propose that the hypothesized threat simulation mechanism might be more domain-specific in design than the author implies. To illustrate, we discuss the possible sex-differentiated design of the hypothesized threat simulation mechanism. [Revonsuo].
continues to receive many reviews. Judging by recent reviews, this is a very controversial book. The question considered here is, how can one fairly review a controversial bookparticularly when the book is widely popular and, for a history of economic thought book, a best seller? This essay uses Mirowskis book as a case study to propose one answer for this question. In the process, it will examine how others seem to have answered this question. Key Words: methodology reviews (...) Mirowski Machine Dreams. (shrink)
At times of general malaise and social breakdown, it is not uncommon for millenarian movements to arise to replace lost hopes by idle dreams: dreams of a savior who will lead us from bondage, or of the return of the great ships with their bounty, as in the cargo cults of South Sea islanders. Some may yearn for a lost golden age, or succumb to the blandishments of the new Messiahs who come to the fore at such moments. (...) Those more cognizant of the institutional causes of discontent may be attracted to an image of hope destroyed by dark and powerful forces that stole from us the leader who sought a better future. The temptation to seek solace, or salvation, is particularly strong when the means to become engaged in a constructive way in determining one's fate have largely dissolved and disappeared. (shrink)
Genie nanotech, space colonies, Turing-test A.I., a local singularity, crypto credentials, and private law are all dreams of a future where some parts of the world economy and society have an unusually low level of dependence on the rest of the world. But it is the worldwide division of labor that has made us humans rich, and I suspect we won't let it go for a long time to come.
Even though various investigations found a preponderance of negative emotions in dreams, the conclusion that human dream life is, in general, negatively toned is limited by several methodological issues. The present study made use of three different approaches to measure dream emotions: dream intensity rated by the dreamer, intensity rated by a judge, and scoring of explicitly mentioned emotions (Hall & Van de Castle, 1966). Results indicate that only in the case of external raters' estimates do negative emotions outweigh (...) the positive ones; but in the case of self-ratings (i.e., those made by the dreamer himself/herself), the ratio was balanced. Analyses showed that this is mainly due to the underestimation of positive emotions in the external ratings. Additionally, a positive correlation was found between the intensity of dream emotions and dream recall frequency, whereas gender differences were nonsignificant as regards the emotional tone of diary dreams. (shrink)
Higher-Order Thought (HOT) theories of consciousness maintain that the kind of awareness necessary for phenomenal consciousness depends on the cognitive accessibility that underlies reporting. -/- There is empirical evidence strongly suggesting that the cognitive accessibility that underlies the ability to report visual experiences depends on the activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC). This area, however, is highly deactivated during the conscious experiences we have during sleep: dreams. HOT theories are jeopardized, as I will argue. I will briefly present (...) HOT theories in the first section. Section 2 offers empirical evidence to the effect that the cognitive accessibility that underlies the ability to report depends on the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex: dlPFC is the neural correlate of HOTs. Section 3 shows the evidence we have of the deactivation of this brain area during dreams and, in section 4, I present my argument. Finally, I consider and rejoin two possible replies that my opponent can offer: the possibility of an alternative neural correlate of HOTs during dreams and the denial that we have phenomenally conscious experiences during sleep. (shrink)
I agree with Revonsuo that dreaming, particularly about risky scenes, has a great selective advantage. Although the paleoamygdala system generally facilitates stress and alarm, the system which inhibits stress and alarm, initiates bold actions, and mediates learning in risky scenes is the arche, hippocampal system (Papez circuit). Because all thalamic nuclei are inhibited during sleep except arche, Papez probably also dreams in risky scenes. [Revonsuo].
The virtual annuls all suspension of time that could, through its tragic or stylistic character, confer to time an existential value. This condition is contrasted with time as it functions in dreams. On the grounds of these observations it is shown that there are resemblances between “autistic” symptoms and the virtual world.
During sleep, humans experience the offline images and sensations that we call dreams, which are typically emotional and lacking in rational judgment of their bizarreness. However, during lucid dreaming (LD), subjects know that they are dreaming, and may control oneiric content. Dreaming and LD features have been studied in North Americans, Europeans and Asians, but not among Brazilians, the largest population in Latin America. Here we investigated dreams and LD characteristics in a Brazilian sample (n=3,427; median age=25 years) (...) through an online survey. The subjects reported recalling dreams at least once a week (76%). Dreams typically depicted actions (93%), known people (92%), sounds/voices (78%), and colored images (76%). The oneiric content was associated with plans for the upcoming days (37%), memories of the previous day (13%), or unrelated to the dreamer (30%). Nightmares usually depicted anxiety/fear (65%), being stalked (48%), or other unpleasant sensations (47%). These data corroborate Freudian notion of day residue, and suggest that dreams are simulations of life situations that are related to our psychobiological integrity. Regarding LD, we observed that 77% of the subjects experienced LD at least once in life (44% up to 10 episodes ever), and for 48% LD subjectively lasted less than 1 minute. LD frequency correlated weakly with dream recall frequency (r=0.20, p<0.01), and LD control was rare (29%). LD occurrence was facilitated when subjects did not need to wake up early (38%), a situation that increases REMS duration, or when subjects were under stress (30%), which increases REMS transitions into waking. These results indicate that LD is a relatively ubiquitous but not frequent state, being unstable, difficult to control, and facilitated by increases in REMS duration and transitions to wake state. Together with LD incidence in USA, Europe and Asia, our data from Latin America strengthen the notion that LD is a general phenomenon of the human species. (shrink)
Dreams are used figuratively throughout Greek literature to refer to something fleeting and/or unreal. In Plato, this metaphorical language is specifically used to describe an epistemological distinction: the one who has false knowledge or opinion is said to be dreaming while the one who has true knowledge is said to be awake. These figures are also central to Philo of Alexandria's philosophical language in De somniis 1-2 and De Iosepho . Although scholars have documented these epistemological metaphors in Plato (...) and related treatments of the concept of sleep in Heraclitus, it has not been discussed in any detail in relation to Philo's treatment of Joseph in these two treatises. In De somniis 1-2, Philo primarily emphasizes his role as a dreamer and thus one incapable of true knowledge. In De Iosepho , Joseph is a dream interpreter who is not only awake but also capable of interpreting the figurative dream of life to which most people are subject. Although some scholars have considered these treatises contradictory in terms of their treatments of Joseph, an analysis of Philo's figurative use of sleep and dreaming reveals that they are a part of a coherent exegetical framework. (shrink)
Conventional wisdom and commonsense morality tend to take the integrity of persons for granted. But for people in systematically unjust societies, self-respect and human dignity may prove to be impossible dreams.Susan Babbitt explores the implications of this insight, arguing that in the face of systemic injustice, individual and social rationality may require the transformation rather than the realization of deep-seated aims, interests, and values. In particular, under such conditions, she argues, the cultivation and ongoing exercise of moral imagination is (...) necessary to discover and defend a more humane social vision. Impossible Dreams is one of those rare books that fruitfully combines discourses that were previously largely separate: feminist and antiracist political theory, analytic ethics and philosophy of mind, and a wide range of non-philosophical literature on the lives of oppressed peoples around the world. It is both an object lesson in reaching across academic barriers and a demonstration of how the best of feminist philosophy can be in conversation with the best of “mainstream” philosophy—as well as affect the lives of real people. (shrink)
Sante De Sanctis (1862—1935), a pioneer of psychology in Rome at the end of the 19th century, applied methods from the expanding field of experimental psychology to the study of dreams, which was considered one of the leading ways to gain an understanding of normal and pathological psychic life. Taking inspiration from several traditions, De Sanctis proposed a study that anticipated a scientific program that also differentiated between contemporary psychoanalytical interpretations according to which previous dream psychology was considered a (...) 'dark forest'. On the contrary, the multi-faceted methodology that he adopted for the study of an, until then, marginal phenomenon of the 'new' psychology, represented an element of originality that also included the elaboration of a psycho-physiological theory of dreams. Although the Italian psychologist's work on dreams was characterized by these important methodological changes, it disappeared from the references of those who contributed to the foundation of modern dreaming psychology after the Second World War. The present article places De Sanctis' psychology of dreams in its scientific context and singles out its originality while also analyzing the reasons for its marginalization. (shrink)
Integrative and naturalistic philosophy of mind can both learn from and contribute to the contemporary cognitive sciences of dreaming. Two related phenomena concerning self-representation in dreams demonstrate the need to bring disparate fields together. In most dreams, the protagonist or dream self who experiences and actively participates in dream events is or represents the dreamer: but in an intriguing minority of cases, self-representation in dreams is displaced, disrupted, or even absent. Working from dream reports in established databanks, (...) we examine two key forms of polymorphism of self-representation: dreams (or dream episodes) in which I take an external visuospatial perspective on myself, and those in which I take someone else's perspective on events. In remembering my past experiences or imagining future or possible experiences when awake, I sometimes see myself from an external or ‘observer’ perspective. By relating the issue of perspective in dreams to established research traditions in the study of memory and imagery, and noting the flexibility of perspective in dreams, we identify new lines of enquiry. In other dreams, the dreamer does not appear to figure at all, and the first person perspective on dream events is occupied by someone else, some other person or character. We call these puzzling cases ‘vicarious dreams’ and assess some potential ways to make sense of them. Questions about self-representation and perspectives in dreams are intriguing in their own right and pose empirical and conceptual problems about the nature of self-representation with implications beyond the case of dreaming. (shrink)