ISBN: 9780262327466 | 824 pp. | July 2015


A Conceptual Framework for Philosophy of Mind and Empirical Research

Dreams, conceived as conscious experience or phenomenal states during sleep, offer an important contrast condition for theories of consciousness and the self. Yet, although there is a wealth of empirical research on sleep and dreaming, its potential contribution to consciousness research and philosophy of mind is largely overlooked. This might be due, in part, to a lack of conceptual clarity and an underlying disagreement about the nature of the phenomenon of dreaming itself. In Dreaming, Jennifer Windt lays the groundwork for solving this problem. She develops a conceptual framework describing not only what it means to say that dreams are conscious experiences but also how to locate dreams relative to such concepts as perception, hallucination, and imagination, as well as thinking, knowledge, belief, deception, and self-consciousness.

Arguing that a conceptual framework must be not only conceptually sound but also phenomenologically plausible and carefully informed by neuroscientific research, Windt integrates her review of philosophical work on dreaming, both historical and contemporary, with a survey of the most important empirical findings. This allows her to work toward a systematic and comprehensive new theoretical understanding of dreaming informed by a critical reading of contemporary research findings. Windt’s account demonstrates that a philosophical analysis of the concept of dreaming can provide an important enrichment and extension to the conceptual repertoire of discussions of consciousness and the self and raises new questions for future research.

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. General Introduction: The Conceptualization Problem of Dreaming
  3. 1. Dream Skepticism, Skepticism about Dreaming, and the Problem of Dream Experience
  4. 2. A Short Introduction to Empirical Dream Research: History, Methodology, and Changing Theoretical Conceptions
  5. 3. The Methodological Background Assumptions of Scientific Dream Research
  6. 4. Antiskepticism about Dreaming and Dream Reporting: From Default Assumption to Theoretical Justification
  7. 5. Dreaming as Quasi-Perceptual Experience: The Traditional View
  8. 6. Dreaming as Imaginative Experience: The Rival View
  9. 7. Are Dreams Subjective Experiences (I)? Phenomenal Selfhood and Bodily Experiences in Dreams
  10. 8. Are Dreams Disembodied Experiences? The Role of the Body and of the Brain in Shaping Bodily Experience in Dreams
  11. 9. Are Dreams Subjective Experiences (II)? The Phenomenology of Thinking and the Problem of Dream Belief
  12. 10. Are Dreams Deceptive Experiences? Deception, Delusion, and Insight
  13. 11. From Oneiragogia to Full-Fledged Dreaming: The Immersive-Spatiotemporal-Hallucination Model of Dreaming
  14. 12. Relocating Dreams on the Conceptual Map: Consequences and Perspectives for Future Research
  15. Notes
  16. References
  17. Index