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Dreams

Last updated April 27, 2022

Threefold model of consciousness1

Different brain-body processes

  1. Awareness: specific to global levels of awareness
  2. Contents of awareness: specific to consciousness of an object in a given sense field
  3. Identification: sense of the Self

# Hypnagogic State1

State of leading into sleep

# Dream State1

Immersion in a dream

Dreams Here we are all, by day; by night, we’re hurled By dreams, each one into a several [separate] world – Robert Herrick (1591 - 1674)

# Different views (Simulation Models of Dreaming)

  1. Orthodox View
    • Precepts: dreaming involves senses that we experience when we are waking, except the experiences of things that are not there or have weak correlation with what is there
    • Beliefs: when we dream $p$ we believe $p$ to be true. In most cases, these are false so dreaming involves mainly false beliefs
  2. Hallucination model
    • Dreaming is immersive spatiotemporal hallucination
    • Immersive: full immersion in the dream world
    • Spatiotemporal: full immersion in a here and now
    • Hallucination: experience that seems exactly like a perception but has weak stimulus correlation with the environment
  3. Imagination model
    • Dreaming involves experiences of the sort we have when we imagine (mental images)
    • When we dream that $p$, we imagine that $p$ (however, imagining that $p$ does not entail believing that $p$)
    • Dreams can be indeterminate in their sensory features (e.g. indeterminate in colour)
    • Object: what about emotions? Some emotions can only arise from belief
      1. When I dream that $p$, I experience fear, elation, etc.
      2. Such emotions arising from an attitude that $p$ can only arise from a belief that $p$
      3. So when I dream that $p$, I believe that $p$
    • Counterargument: contradiction, you still feel these emotion reading fiction
      • Same premises as above, but final conclusion is that: when I read in a fiction that $p$, I do NOT believe that $p$.
      • Way out of this contradiction is to deny premise 2)
    • Eye movements during lucid-REM sleep resemble waking perception more than they resemble waking imagination
    • Upshot: to dream is to imagine a dream world and to identify with the dream ego immersed in that world

# Mind-wandering and Dreaming1

# Lucid Dreaming1

# Sleep Maps1

Are sleep states conscious?

  1. Yes: Yoga, Advaita Dedānta, Buddhism
    1. Dreamless sleep is a kind of consciousness without an object
    2. Invoked to explain the continuity of consciousness and sense of self across waking and sleeping
    3. Invoked to explain the waking knowledge of having been asleep
  2. No: Nyāya
    1. Concept of sleep is based off of inference

  1. This content is sourced from Professor Evan Thompson’s course materials for PHIL451A at UBC. All rights to this content is retained by Evan Thompson. ↩︎


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