Philosophy of Dreaming 

rsz_a1-5-740x555Author: Emily Korkowski

We all have had dreams, whether they were good dreams or nightmares. But what are these natural phenomena? Are these dreams our unconscious thoughts? Are they visions we have for the future? What is their value? Are dreams superior to reality? Is dream-us superior to reality-us? 

According to Owen Flanagan, there are four major questions to be asked about dreaming.  

The first is, “how can I be sure that I’m not always dreaming? We wouldn’t be able to tell if our “reality” is actually our reality. How can we be sure that we are even awake while we read this article, or while we are discussing in philosophy club? This would change how we see the world in which we live in. It would affect whether we could even differentiate between dreaming and “reality”. 

The second question is, “Can I be immoral in my dreams, but still be a moral person all together?” This would depend on if we see our dream-selves are us, or if we are conscious in the dream. If we were, it could possible that we aren’t the perfectly moral being that some may think they are. The qualifications were surely differentiate based on what you view “dream-you” as.  

 The third question is, “Are dreams conscious experiences that occur during sleep?” Defining consciousness is what we have been discussing for a while in philosophy club. Your definition of consciousness will skew your answer to this question. After you identify your consciousness definition, then you can move onto how that would affect what a conscious experience is and if it is what you think a dream is. 

Finally, the fourth question is, “Does dreaming have an evolutionary function?” What is the point of dreaming? Do our dreams mean something? If so, what could SpongeBob SquarePants serving me a burger in my dream mean? If dreaming has a meaning and a function in our world, know what that is could help us in our reality, possibly to further strengthen the reality in which we are in. If we dream to see the future, we could work to prevent the future event or encourage the event, depending on the dream, I guess. 

 All-in-all, dreams are a mystery, and everyone has a different view on them. I’ve attached some links below that hopefully will get you thinking about dreams and how other people see them.  

 Descartes believes that our entire existence is based off of our dreams, so if that’s true, are we all just in a poorly shot version of Inception?   

Am I myself when I sleep? A philosophical look at dreams:  

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