Why do we dream? An Introduction to the Psychology and Philosophy of Dreaming | Alex Abbott | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Why do we dream? An Introduction to the Psychology and Philosophy of Dreaming

teacher avatar Alex Abbott, I like to think!

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (1h 1m)
    • 1. Introduction to the Course

    • 2. Descartes' Dream Argument

    • 3. Problems with the Dream Argument

    • 4. Augustine and the Ethics of Dreaming

    • 5. More on the Ethics of Dreaming

    • 6. The Meaning of Dreams

    • 7. The Functions of Dreaming

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Have you ever wondered why we dream? How do you know you're not dreaming now? Should you be responsible for immoral actions you do in your dreams? These are all the kinds of Philosophical and Psychological questions that come up when we look at dreaming and the kinds of questions we're going to be exploring in this course. We're going to look at the Metaphysics, ethics and Psychology of dreaming and try to answer some of the basic questions around the nature of dreaming. 

We're going to be looking at the following questions throughout the course: 

1. How do you know you're not dreaming? 

2. Can you be immoral in my dreams? 

3. Can we derive meaning from dreams? 

4. What are the functions of dreams? 

We shall look at these questions in the following lessons: 

1. Descartes' dream argument

2. Critiques of Descartes' dream argument

3. Augustine and the Ethics of dreaming

4. More on the ethics of dreaming

5. The Meaning of Dreams 

6. The Functions of Dreams

We shall be exploring some very interesting philosophical ideas around the idea of dreaming but, more importantly, we shall be going into the Psychology of dreams in the last two lessons. Make sure you watch all the lessons in their entirety before you go to the project section and look at doing some of the projects. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Alex Abbott

I like to think!


Hello, I'm Alex. I have a BA in Philosophy from the University of Nottingham and am currently in the process of getting an LLM in Law. In the future I would love to pursue academic studies further and go on to do a PhD. I have a keen interest in teaching people what I have learned in fun and interesting ways. My primary expertise include Metaphysics, Logic, the Philosophy of Mind and Ethics. I shall be making courses on some fun and interesting areas of Philosophy. 

My Current Courses include: 


- Can Computers Think? Introduction to the Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence.

- Who am I? Introduction to Personal Identity

- A basic introduction to stoicism

- Introduction to Formal Logic

- Introduction to the P... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction to the Course: Hello everybody and welcome to this new course on the philosophy of dreaming. You know, why do we dream? What are the functions of dreaming? How do we know we're not dreaming? All these kind of things. We touched upon the sort of ideas around the philosophy of dreaming in the course on simulated reality. But now in this one we're going to look at the philosophy of dreams and a lot more detail, not just the philosophy of dreams as well. We're just gonna go beyond philosophy and look at the soft psychology. Does dreaming have any kind of function, any kind of purpose? How do we know we're not dreaming, you know, can we be immoral whilst we're dreaming? These are the kinds of things we are looking at in this new course. So in this video itself, we'll look a little bit more detailed dream and I'm going to outline the course contents. So what are dreams? According to the definition of a dream? A dream is just a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur in voluntary in the mind during stages of sleep. That's the basic definition of what dreams are. And there are a vast number of really, really interesting philosophical questions that come about from the existence of dreams. So one example, the philosopher Owen Flanagan in 2 thousand suggested that there were four main questions. When we want to look at the philosophy of dreams. The kind of things that we need to answer in order to properly understand dreams better. So these are the four kinds of questions. How can I be sure are not always dreaming. Okay? Can I be a moral in dreams? While the meaning of dreams and what are the functions of dreams? So these are the four questions that we're actually going to look at in more detail throughout this course. We're going to cover all of these four questions. And we're going to start by looking at the, how do I know I'm not dreaming? And look at an argument by Rene Descartes on the dream arguments, okay, on, he argues that you can't ever know that your dreaming or not dreaming. We'll look at some objections to Descartes GFC. If there are any problems with the argument that you presented. We're going to look at the work of Saint Augustine of Hippo and the ethics of dreaming. You can, if you dream something immoral, does that make you an immoral person? That kind of, that kind of thing? And we'll go into more detail other ethical theories. And then we're going to finish off by looking at a, the meaning of dreams and then be the functions of dreaming. So that is what we're gonna do in this course. These are going to be the six or seven main lessons. So the next lesson, like I mentioned, we're gonna look at cats dream argument. And then we're going to go into a little bit of two and throw with the objections to Descartes in the lesson after that. 2. Descartes' Dream Argument: Okay, so let's begin with the dream argument that was presented by this gentleman here who is Rene Descartes. Okay, and we're gonna start to look at some of the questions that we covered a little bit in the simulated reality course, but we're going to be covering a lot more detail here. So specifically, we're gonna take an Introduction to his argument and then we're going to give a more detailed interpretation of the argument. So we'll look at the solve on the face value of what, what he says and then go into more detail about how we can understand very well he means, okay. So as an introduction to the dream argument, Rene Descartes wrote his work Meditations on First Philosophy, and he engaged in what he called methodological and epistemological skepticism. Now these are two very interesting words. So methodological is just how you would define method, methodology, how you would define the word normally. But epistemology relates to knowledge and how we acquire knowledge and our understanding of knowledge. So he really was asking the question, what does he know? What Canny know, what can he not know? And it really did hinge on the question, how can I know I'm not dreaming? How can I know that any of this is real? If I'm sat in a room here, how do I know this desk is real or, or just a dream? How do I know I'm dreaming now, when I'm making this course, he wasn't the first to ask this kind of question. The ancient Chinese philosophers and, and, you know, ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato, who looked at these kind of questions about dreaming and, and how reality isn't actually real. But he was the first to systematically analyze and develop the argument into what became known as his dream argument. So the idea of dreaming is something that can be used to doubt our reality. I mentioned this in the computer simulation course because one of the questions was, you know, how can we know we're not just all dreaming right now. We might be in a computer simulation, but we could also just be dreaming. This is the, this is the, one of the fundamental questions that we asked. One of the main parts of Descartes's argument is that dreams are indistinguishable from real life. And that's what really hinges upon his argument. So he says that you cannot tell the difference between dreaming and being awake. So if you cannot tell the difference, then you don't know truly for sure whether or not you are dreaming or whether or not you are awake. Okay? So that's what he said. So as a more formal representation, they cost begins his dream arguments by saying that dreams are indeed indistinguishable from reality. I cannot tell when I'm in a dream. I do not know that I'm dreaming when I'm in reality. I do not know if I'm dreaming or not. Okay. So according to Descartes, nothing can rule out my being duped into believing having some kind of experience X when in reality I'm having I'm in the state. Why state? Dreaming or being awake, that kind of mental state. Hence, therefore, I cannot have knowledge of Zed, Zed being the thing that I am viewing. So if I am having a dream that I'm sad, there's desk, okay. I can be duped into believing that I'm having that this is in reality. If I'm in a dream, this could be completely fake and not very alone, okay? And in reality I'm dreaming. So duped into having an experience, eggs duped into believing this desk is real. And the experience of touching this desk is a real experience when in reality, I'm in the state. Why state Y being in a dream state? Okay. I'm not in reality, therefore, I cannot have any knowledge of anything effectively. You can't acquire knowledge if you, if the experience you are gaining the knowledge from is actually representation isn't real, is a dream. So this is the fundamental question that Descartes wants to know. How can we ever know anything? How can we have any knowledge of anything if there's no way of being able to tell if we're in a dream or if we're awake. That's the problem. So I don't know if I'm not dreaming. There's nothing to say that I'm not dreaming effectively. So as a discussion task for you, I want to just really look at what Descartes says. He effectively says, Premise one eye, there is, sorry, it's indistinguishable between dreaming and being awake. I cannot know the difference between dreaming and being awake, and therefore has a conclusion. There is nothing to suggest that I am not dreaming now. He doesn't actually make the argument that he is definitely dreaming now. He doesn't, he's improving, that he's in a dream. That's not what the dream argument is trying to say. What he's trying to say is there is nothing to suggest that are not in a dream. And if there's nothing to suggest that I am neither dream, I cannot be solidly confident in my knowledge in anything that I know. And that's what his argument really is about. So if you had room with Descartes, What would you say to try convincing that you are not treatment? Now that is a very interesting question. So if you were Descartes, he's convinced that he cannot know between, he cannot know whether or not he's in a dream or whether or not he's awake. So you're sat in a room with Descartes. What would you say to him to try convince him of the fact that he is not dreaming? All convinced him that he is dreaming. What we'll use, what would you say? And then more formally, are there any ways you can criticize this argument? Are there any ways you could attack this argument? Come to, come to some kind of counterexample. Because that's all we're gonna do the next lesson. In the next lesson we're going to look at the criticisms of descartes dream argument. And we're going to analyze what, you know, you know, the kind of things can we actually be sure whether or not we're dreaming? Some people argue that we can be a bit more sure than Descartes's. So that's what we're gonna do in the next lesson. 3. Problems with the Dream Argument: In this lesson, we're going to look at the critiques of the dream argument. In the last lesson, we looked at what the dream argument was. And in this lesson we're gonna look at three main people who criticized Descartes for his dream arguments suggested that there, it's a little bit more complicated than just simply, you cannot tell whether or not you're dreaming or you're awake. So more specifically, we're gonna look at a number of critiques of the dream argument. We'll go look at critiques from the likes of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke to Enlightenment philosophers. And then we're gonna look at the critiques from the likes of Norman Malcolm or more contemporary philosopher. And they all, you'll notice that they all seem to take a very similar route in their critique of, of Descartes. So general critiques to the dream argument. One of the main claims that has been made against the descartes dream argument is the idea that there are possibly ways to distinguish between being in a dream and being awake. So if you remember from the last video, Descartes affectively said that we cannot actually know for sure if we're dreaming or not, because there's no way of telling between something being a dream and something being you being awake. They are indistinguishable from each other. When you're in a dream, you do not know that you're dreaming. And when you're awake, you wouldn't know that you're dreaming because it's the same kind of mental state that you're in. And so therefore, the claim is, you cannot tell the difference. Therefore, you cannot really be sure if you're a dream, dream or if you're awake. And the criticism against Descartes tends to fall down the, well, maybe we can distinguish between being in a dream and being awake kind of argument. That's the kind of thing that people have attacked Descartes for. So they cos, argument primarily hinges on the notion that there is no way to tell between dreaming and being awake, being distinguishability premise. And Thomas Hobbes, the first philosopher gonna look, suggested that, well, no, we can't, we can actually tell the difference between being awake and being asleep. So Thomas Hobbes argued that there is a way to distinguish between the two. And this is because when you're asleep, there is an, is an absurdity to dreaming. That is what he argues. He argues in the absurdity of dreams. When you dream, absurd things happens. For example, when you wake up, you can clearly tell that you are dreaming because you were doing impossible things. For example, you are flying or you, this happened or that happened, or you are in a different country and something weird happens. So these are the kind of things that you, that happen in dreams, okay? And that is how you can distinguish between being in a dream and being awake. When you wake up, you can clearly tell that was definitely a dream because there's no logic to any of the things that just happened. Those note this completely absurd. One of the criticisms that you could. Push towards Thomas Hobbes here is to suggest that, okay, you can, when you wake up, you can clearly tell that things were absurd. But when you're in the middle of a dream, you cannot tell that anything observed is happening. Like this is an issue with, with Hobbes argument because there's no way of telling when you're in a dream, that you're in a dream purely on the basis of the certain level of absurdity. Because when you're in the dream, your brain, you accept the absurdity. And it seems completely reasonable. And it's only until you wake up that you realize that these things were absurd. So we could still be in a dream right now. Because we can still can't tell when we're in a dream. That is what Descartes would respond. You can't tell you're in a dream on the basis of absurdity until you are out of a dream. So what's to say that we're not out, we're still in a dream right now. That is the dies while counter, a counter point would be to Thomas Hobbes. John Locke also took a stab at the dream argument. He suggested again that there should be criticism with the dream arguments. And you also attacks on the premise that dreams and wakefulness are indistinguishable, the sort of indistinguishability premise. And Locke says that you can tell where dreaming, because we do not experience pain in dreams. That was John Locke's argument. You cannot tell, you cannot experience pain when you're in a dream, and you can experience pain when you're awake. This means that there is some distinguishing factor between dreaming and being awake. Therefore, the descartes dream argument is false. That is what John Locke would argue. Because you're unexperienced, unable to experience pain, you can tell the difference between the two. And so therefore, this really undermines the fundamental premise of Descartes's argument. But again, you could still make the claim less strongly than with Thomas Hobbes, but you could still make the claim with lock that whilst you might not be able to experience pain in dreams, the illusion of pain could still possibly be experienced when you're in a dream and you only realize that you're not in paid when you wake up, which is again, another very similar argument to hops. Locke tries to make this distinguishing feature of dreaming and being awake. And he might be right, correct in his analyses of experiencing pain when dreaming. However, it doesn't really say much if you're in a dream itself. Okay? And that is something that, that is something that is important to note here. Okay? This is a little bit weaker than the Thomas Hobbes is, responds the response to Thomas Hobbes argument. But it is still an argument that you could respond to lock with. However, this argument is stronger than Hobbes has. So what would you think of Hobbes? Isn't Locke's argument? Are they valid? Are their convincing? Are there any ways you could counter? Are there any other ways you could counter it, something that Hobbes and Locke didn't think of. And then finally we're going to look at Norman Malcolm from 1951 and his response to Descartes. So again, he is also somebody who attacks the premise of indistinguishability. It seems to be the easiest one to go for. Because if you attack the premise of indistinguishability when it comes to Descartes's argument, you can basically, you know, the whole thing collapses like a, it's like a house of cards. He argues that you can tell the difference between being awake and being asleep because of what he calls the principle of coherence. So when you're awake, we can connect our current experience to the overall course of our lives. So we can connect what happens here today to what happened yesterday and today before and what happened ten years ago. We can, there's, there's solve causal temporal flow of our lives effectively. We can trace our thoughts and experiences coherently when we're awake. Like I can remember very coherently that my 16th birthday was before my 18th birthday, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We can connect them in chronological order to poorly, and there's a certain coherence to being awake. The same cannot be said for when we're asleep. Memory asleep. Again, this all ties a little bit into Hobbes is absurdity argument. When we're asleep, there's no logic, there's no formality, there's no time, no sort of temporal flow when it comes to being asleep and being in a dream, things just seem to jump around and there's no way of connecting our actions at present time in a dream state to actions previously in a dream state. And that is why we can distinguish between the two. So when we're asleep, we can jump around and there's no sort of solid coherence of dreaming. And just that alone is enough to suggest that there is a way to distinguish between dreaming and being awake. And therefore, these attacks Descartes's main premise. So what do you think of Malcolm's argument? Do you think there are any rebuttal to the argument? You could suggest that in a similar way to Hobbes, that there might not be any coherence when dreaming. However, when we're in a dream, there's no way of knowing about coherence within dreaming. And things along that line. Is the argument convincing? Are there any things that you would add to the argument? Anything that you want to discuss about him leaving the Discussion section and we'll have a, and we'll have a discussion about the dream argument. So as a summary, we have looked at some of the attacks against Descartes stream argument and mainly the attacks against the premise of indistinguishability. We've looked, the idea is from Hobbes, we've looked to the critiques from Locke, and then we've looked at normal Malcolm's critique of the dream argument. And we've also suggested ways in which Descartes could respond to these arguments are then, in the next lesson, what we're gonna do is move on from the sort of metaphysics of dreaming. The idea that we might not be dreaming and we might be dreaming. And this is just a simulated reality within our own minds. And we're going to look at the ethics of dreaming and the work of the thinker St. Augustan. 4. Augustine and the Ethics of Dreaming: So now that we've explored the question of whether or not we are actually dreaming or whether or not we can even tell whether or not we're dreaming. What we're gonna do in this lesson is we're gonna move on and look at the second question that was proposed, which is, can I be immoral when I'm dreaming? And this really ties into the ethics of treatment. And we're going to start by looking at rare. The first person to come up with some kind of formalization of this, who was St. Augustan? So specifically, we're going to move away from the metaphysics dream and then go into the ethics of dreaming. Okay, look at one of the oldest views within the ethics of dream in the work of Saint Augustine of Hippo. So when it comes to the ethics of dreaming, what are we trying to accomplish? What we're trying to work out? Because there are some quite interesting ethical questions when it comes to dream. It. Can I be a moral within dreams? You know, this is one of the main questions within the ethics of dreaming. Like, if I dream, I murder somebody, does that make me a bad person? Things of that nature? Exactly. Which is why I put their rights. Essentially, if you do anything that you consider to be a moral In your dreams, do you have any kind of guilt or should you have any guilt or hold any kind of responsibility for those dreams where you are then awake. So let's assume that we can actually distinguish between being a dream, dream and being awake for a second. Let's just assume that Descartes was wrong. When I'm in a dream. If I do something immoral, if I dreamed something immoral, should I have any kind of ethical responsibility for those dreams, for those actions within the dreams. So this really hinges on the questions that are based on the work of St. Augustan. So Augustine of Hippo was a theologian between the years 354480 AD. So a very, very early church father, very early church thinker. And affectively, his writings are some of the most important within the doctrine of, of Western Christianity. And involve a, he developed a number of theological principles that are still recognized within Christianity today. It's one of the most important key thinkers of western thought. Regardless of what you think about religion and Christianity. He, his, his thinking shapes a lot of Western culture today. He also wrote about the ethics of Dreams, which is very good for our course because we're not going to be talking about Christian theology today. We're gonna be talking about the ethics of dreams. Some might say that's more interesting. You know, others might not. When we're going to look at the ethic that dream, we're going to start with the work of Augustan because he really, he really paved the way for asking ethical questions when it comes to what he did when he was dreaming. So Augustan was worried about the conduct of his actions within dreams. So he devoted his life to celibacy. And so he viewed any kind of sexual activity is immoral and was absolutely abstained from any kind of sexual activity. And he worried though, when it came to the sexually explicit nature of his dreams. Now I'm not sure he went into any detail of how the nature what went on in his dreams, but it was enough to worry him about whether or not he was doing anything wrong by having these dreams. And in his work and passions, he writes to God for answers. In Book Ten, chapter 30, he spoke about God, spoke to God about his lack of control over his dreams. And he says, firstly asked, God, am I not myself during sleep? So we really asks questions about the nature of personhood. Do you become a different person when you are asleep? Which is a very interesting question. And then a custom himself believed that he really was who he was in his dreams. So he asked him, he asked God himself, am I, Am I the same person? And Augustan did think, he did believe that he was the same person. Which put him a moral dilemma. Because if he is the person in his dreams than Augustan is the same post and in reality is the person who's committing what he would regard as immoral acts. You know, engaging in sexual activity in his dreams. And this was his solution. Augustan argued for that to be a distinction between what he called the happening of the action. So the happenings of the things that happen in your dreams, the things that happened to you on the action of the things that you have direct control over EI in waking life. And so when you use dreaming the things that happened to him or not his actions. So even though he is potentially doing immoral things, what he is doing is not immoral because he has no kind of responsibility over the actions that he is committed. And so because these things yeah. Again, because these things are happening to me has no control over these acts. When he's awake, however, he does have control over his actions. And so when he's awake, he must conduct himself morally and therefore be ethically liable for his actions and awake. And it cannot be ethically liable for his actions when he is asleep. And this is a little bit like the Kantian principle of ought implies can, which is the idea that if you, If you ought to do something morally, you ought to do X it. There's an implication there that you actually must be able to do that thing. So for example, I cannot be held morally responsible for not saving somebody from a burning building in, you know, in the Middle East, for example, because there's no way I actually can go save this burden person from the UK. Because if that makes sense, so I don't hold any kind of moral responsibility for doing something. You know, if I cannot actually be able to do it anyway. And this is what, and this applies to Augustan. Augustan doesn't actually have any kind of control over the actions in his dreams. So we can't be held morally responsible if he ought to do something, you know, ought to act moral within his dreams, it must imply that you can actually have any control over his dreams, which he cannot. So therefore, you cannot be morally liable for an action if you have no control whatsoever over it. And so therefore, he removes the any kind of notion of moral agency from dreaming. We cannot be responsible for what happens in our dreams. And that is his ethical theory. You might choose. You might notice that this can also have the metaphysical implications. Because in the last lesson we talked about ways in which you can distinguish between being in a dream and being awake. While Augustan seems to come up with his own solution, it inadvertently come up with his own solution. So if you remember from the last couple of lessons on the dream argument, Descartes has a lot of people arguing against his argument by suggesting that you can distinguish between being awake and being asleep. And they propose a number of different methods for trying to work out delineation between being awake and asleep. You can't experience pain when you're in a dream. And that's what Locke says. Dreams are absurd and reality is not as well. Hobbes said and Malcolm suggested this idea of a principle of coherency. Augustan also might have his argument here as well. Because he could suggest that you can distinguish between being awake and being asleep. Because when we're asleep, we have no control over our actions. So that's just a little, you know, interesting metaphysical implication that comes out from Augustine's, Augustine's ethical problem. So in summary then, really the question is, what do you think about the ethics of dreaming? And what Augustine says, okay, is it enough to explain the ethics of dreaming? Can we suggest that this is valid enough to just abstain ourselves from any kind of moral responsibility or doing the more, more complicated ethics to work it out. Because in the next lesson we're going to look at some scenarios in which main be our dreams. Our moral agency within dreams should be questioned. And that is by looking at more detail in the ethics dreaming and then looking at two other modern theories, the consequentialist and deontological theories, when it comes to dreaming. 5. More on the Ethics of Dreaming: In the last lesson, we looked at a Justin's solve ethical theory for how we can resolve problems about being immoral within dreams. And now in this lesson we're going to look at more on the ethics of dreaming. Like effectively, can we just reside purely in Augustine's theory of dreaming, or do we need a little bit more when it comes to the ethics of dreaming? So we're gonna look at some of the issues when it comes to the ethics of dreaming and little bit more detail. And then I'm gonna look at examined who main positions when it comes to the ethics of dreaming and ethics in general, really, we're going to look at the consequentialist theory of ethics and in the deal launch deontological theory of ethics. As an introduction. There's more to the ethics of dream and then the work of St. Augustan. There has to be because there are more ethical problems that have to be solved when it comes to our actions and conduct when we're dreaming. It is indeed true that Augustine was one of the first to introduce your ideas around ethics and dreaming. But he certainly wasn't the last. And we're gonna start by looking at the work of the general theories within consequentialism. So consequentialism is a broad family of ethical doctrines were to effectively assess an action in terms of the consequences it has. So essentially an action is moral and good if the consequences of set action yield a moral and good results. So effectively, you know, one of the big questions that, that comes out of ethics is something called the trolley problem. Which is if you have got a train or a trolley on a track, ok. And there are five people on the track. The trolley is coming towards them, it's going to kill five people. Is it ethical to flip the switch to change the direction of the trolley onto a different track. But on this different track there's one person. So you're risking one life for five, or you're just letting them five people get killed. And this is a very, very, very deep philosophical question. And generally theories of consequentialism would tend to argue that it's probably better to let one person die than to let five people die. And the idea there being that the consequences of killing one person, our better consequences than FU killed five people because they were, you know, there are five more people alive, five years, happy people as well, I assume, for being alive compared to one dead person. And that's generally one idea of consequentialism is it, it all depends on the consequences of what happens, which determines whether an action is moral. So how does this apply to the ethics of dreaming? Well, we're certainly going ask a number of questions when it comes. Death is a dreaming. When it comes, you know, if I dream something immoral, does that mean I have committed an immoral act? Okay, which is the question that we looked at in the last lesson. And then would dreaming something immoral be worse? So you'd be worse than doing a slightly less immoral act. This is very interesting question. So for example, wood dreaming about murdering someone, be more immoral than say, lying to someone in real life, there are both immoral acts, but objectively, you know, most people would agree that murdering someone is worse than just telling a white lie, lying to somebody. So would murdering somebody in a dream be more immoral than lied to somebody in real life? Which is a very interesting question. So the consequentialist does not make any claims regarding the existence of consequences in dreams. He doesn't say there are consequences from dreaming. All it does claim is if there are no consequences from dreaming, then there are no ethical problems, then Dreaming is ethically neutral. So if there are no dream something and there are no consequences than the things you dreamt about in that dream have no ethical value. So what if there are consequences? Which is the very interesting question. So for example, let's take the scenario files to dream that I murdered someone. And that dream inspires me to go out and murder said person. Does that mean that the dream was immoral? So I have a dream that I can now stab my friend, for example. And when I wake up, I remember that dream. And I think to myself, That's a good idea. And I, it's going to inspire me to grab a knife ago and stop my friend. Does that mean the dream itself was also immoral? Well, according to a consequentialist Nong, technically, yeah. Because the consequences of you dreaming that you're going to stop someone led to the death of that person, led to the murder of that person in real life. So therefore, you have dreams something immoral because the consequences lead to pain and suffering. So the dream you had directly lead to harmful and immoral consequence. Though is one side of the dies, one side of the coin. And it does fly in the face of Augustine's theory that we have no agency over our dream. So therefore we cannot, you know, there cannot be any kind of ethical problems with dreaming. The consequentialist would say, only if there are no consequences from lead to the, They've come from your dreaming. What about other theories? Well, there is another theory that deontological theories of ethics and really a deal on a deontological theory can trust sharply with consequentialist theories. Deontological theories already bothered about the consequences of an action when you are dealing Tang at deontologist. Okay. Do you have a direct duty to never entertain certain thoughts because they are wrong within themselves. Never do an act. You note murder something, someone, you don't murder someone because, not because of the consequences of murdering set person, but because the act of murder and some body is wrong within itself, there is some kind of moral value. To ethical problem to two different actions, some actions, regardless of their consequences. And one of the theories is that individuals are ends in themselves and should never be used as a means to an end. Okay? And the deontologist would argue that since dreams are about real people, I'm treating them as a means to an end by being immoral to them in dreams and altered depending on the ACT. So therefore, dreams might also be immoral according to the deontological theory. And more strongly, dreams are MRO accordance a deontological theory? Because regardless of the consequences of an action, if you dream that you murder somebody owes you dream that you lie, or Eugene that you'd do anything, you are committing a moral and immoral act. So there's ties a little bit into Augustine's theory. However, it also suggests that there might be some agency when it comes to the ethics of dreaming. So arguably the best way to approach the deontological view of dreams is that we can apply the thinking to enacting real life and then apply a similar reasoning to the dream world. So as you can see, there's much debate between the two. So if I was to, when it comes to, you know, if you think that act is immoral in reality, then it has to also be immoral in a dream. That's what some deontological theorists suggest. Others would take the Augustan view and talk about how, regardless of whether or not you have a duty to not be immoral in dreams. You also have no agency over your dreams. So therefore, you cannot possibly, you cannot possibly expect to be moral or immoral when you're dreaming. And like I said, there's much debate between consequentialist and deontological theories of ethics, okay, the consequentialist like a set again, relies on the consequences. Deontological theories suggest that there is such a thing as something that is immoral within itself. There's a duty to not do moral thing, immoral things. And this obviously debate does extend beyond the ethics of dreaming. So in summary, then, we've looked at a number of interesting scenarios. We've learned that there is a lot more to the ethics of dream and then just the work of Saint Augustine. We looked Jim more generally at the ethics of dreaming and the main ethical theories which are the consequentialist and deontological theories. We also looked at some interesting some scenarios regarding the ethics of dreaming. If I was to murder somebody in a dream and then I inspires me to murder them in real life, does it mean the dream? Why did in the dream was immoral? Or, you know, is dreaming something immoral, worse or better than more moral or more immoral than doing something in reality that is immoral. If they are, if it is significantly less immoral, like for example, murdered somebody in a dream, verses, say line to somebody in reality. What is more immoral there? And these are the questions that really playing the ethics of dreaming. And we've also applied the theory of consequentialism and deontology to specifically dreaming and whether or not we can be moral or immoral within dreams. And in the next lesson, we're going to look more at the meaning of dreams. Okay, we're gonna take a little bit of a step back from the philosophy of dreaming, the philosophy and the ethics of dreaming. And look at the, the psychology, you know, why do we dream? And then in the last lesson we're going to look at the functions of dreaming. Okay, what purpose does dreaming actually serve? The, you know, the brain, you as a person. 6. The Meaning of Dreams: Go into the penultimate lesson. What we're going to do in this video is look at the meaning of dreams. Can we derive any kind of meaning from the dreams that we have? And specifically, we're going to look more about the detail of dreams themselves. So look about, look into what dreams actually mean. Can we derive any kind of knowledge from dreams? Involves looking at the meaning of dreams. And in the next lesson we're gonna look finally at the functions of dreams. What functions do dreaming to dream, sorry, and does dreaming have on the body, on the blind, on the brain? Okay, so I want to begin by looking at the philosophical folks of dreaming just before we move on. So when we engage in the philosophy of dreaming, we tend to look at two main issues. These are the ideas of deception. You know, how do we know where dream in when we're not at et cetera, et cetera. Descartes and Thomas Hobbes and Locke and Malcolm. And then we'll look at the ontology of dreams. The ontology of dreaming includes again the nature of reality and also the morality of dreaming. Okay? And we looked at the morality of dreaming in the last two lessons with a Guston and then consequentialist and deontological theories. However, when we go, oops, it has a Halloween. We go beyond philosophy. We tend to look more about the meaning and the functions of dreaming. And that's what we're gonna do in the next and the last two lessons on this course. So what do we mean by the meaning of dreams? Our dreams, a source of knowledge and insight. For example, different dreams can different dreams to be distinguished by their epistemic value, their value to knowledge. So again, for example, some argue that dreams reflect sleepers bodily psychological state. Do dreams actually have any kind of impact and reflection on what we are, our human psychology. And therefore, we can derive meaning from that. And again, this takes us into the study of dream interpretation. Can we interpret the dreams that we have, the content of our dreams to derive some kind of maybe psychological and physiological conclusions from the dreams that we have. And I'm going to begin by looking at what Aristotle said about dream interpretation, because this is a very old, very old subject indeed. So he was against the idea of being able to interpret dreams. And to that dreams mean different things depending on who you are and your psychological state. He denied that dreams were, for example, of any kind of divine origin. Okay, he also believed such dreams or most likely occurred. It would occur in Dillard's whose mind resemble an empty desert, which is a very, a very, a quite mean thing to say. So thankfully, he said that the dreams that he has. Have the same kind of content and character as any, as any other human being. Even people whose minds resemble entity deserts. That's what he argued. So he argued the dreams. You know, the meaning of your dream. You cannot come to any conclusions about the meaning of dreams. And again, this is a similar view that was held by other early philosophers. I say early philosophers. Older flaws, philosophers of the Enlightenment kinda philosophers. So people like Hobbes in 1651, Emmanuel Kant in 1766, and Schopenhauer in 1847, they all came to similar conclusions that dreams don't really have any kind of extra meaning behind them. They're just, you know, representations and mental images in the brain that could occur regardless of your psychological states and regardless of whether or not your mind resembled an empty desert. However, when it comes to the interpretation of dreams, we can't, we can't go without talking about Sigmund Freud. So according to Freud, dream interpretations assumes a prominent role as the sort of Royal Road to the knowledge of the unconscious. So freud argued that there was a lot more to dreaming than just mental representations in images. He believed that it was a source of knowledge of our own consciousness state. So Dreaming was seen as the main way to open up the unconscious. To sink. Think about what we really believe in, what we're really, what psychology is really doing at. So psychotherapy is aimed at helping people with mental health issues, for example, or psychological problems. And this often involves the analysis of one's dreams. Freud believed that dreams reflect our psychological states or mental states. And so through our history, views on dreams and dream interpretation often changes with, in tandem with the views of the origin and sources of dreaming. So we had to go to the source, psychological and scientific sources of dreaming. For example, in 1988, hubs and famously argued that dreams are a product of just random brainstem driven activation of the brain during sleep, like a satirist, mental representations, images, neurons firing. This is what a dream is simply is. And he argued that dreams give us a bath as much insight into our psychological state as a Rorschach test. You know, famous, famous Rorschach tests being an image with a number of likes or black ink blobs. And apparently the way you are asked, sorry, you are asked what, what you see in this, in this image. And apparently your answer gives you some kind of insight into your psychological state. So as you can see, the meaning of dreams has really been quite contentious issue in philosophy and psychology. You've got people who suggest that dreams are no more than just mental representations. People like Aristotle and Hobson in. And then you have people who suggest that dreams are actually a lot more concerned with the, concerned with the understanding of our unconscious mind, of our unconscious psychological states. People like Freud and psychoanalysis theory. So as a summary then, we can also move, we've moved away from the philosophy of dream into more the psychological impact of dreaming and what, and what it really means within the realm of psychology. And in this lesson, we've looked at the sort of meaning of dreams and how we could interpret dreams to try and answer bigger questions about our psychology. And then we've explored the philosophers such as Aristotle and Canton Hobbs and Schopenhauer. Argued against trying to interpret dreams, argued that dream could be the same dream can be had by anybody. And then we looked at some more modern theories, the Freud in ideas of dreaming and the Hobson's idea of dreaming when it comes to, so just the idea that dreaming and the content of your dream on Locke's mysteries to your unconscious states. So on one side we have the Freudian Psychoanalysis Theory of dreaming. And on the other side, we have for people who advocate against The Interpretation of Dreams. In the final lesson, what we're gonna do is look at what the functions of dreaming are. What functions do dreaming, just dreaming half, you know, why do we dream effectively? What is the purpose? The point in dreaming? 7. The Functions of Dreaming: In this final lesson, we're going to go and have a look at what the functions of dreaming are. So basically, why do we dream? What's the point in having dreams? What kind of purpose does it, does it? Does it fulfill? So we're going to explore why we're dream. Wait, why we dream effectively? What purpose does it fulfill? Does dreaming fulfill? And What's important to note is that different between researching dreaming versus researching, that's it, say sleep stages. Because there's been a lot of very, there's been a lot of research on the functions of different sleep stages. And then there's been less research on the functions of dreaming itself. So for example, when it comes to the function of REM sleep, for example, which stands for rapid eye movement. They have basically been proven that it's includes things like regulation of body temperature, reconstruction of brain circuits, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. These are the functions of having REM sleep. However, when it comes to dreaming, it's harder to kind of link any functions of sleeping with the functions of dreaming. They don't seem to be connected phenomenon. So Hobson in 2009 suggested that there was a link with the functions of REM sleep and the functions of dreaming. So this is one theory that's all counteracts the idea that there isn't a link between the two. And he called this the soul theory of the sort of proto consciousness theory. And he suggested that REM sleep plays a very key role in fetal development by providing what he described as a virtual world before the emergence of full consciousness. So it almost as a, so almost REM sleep and dreaming during REM sleep provides the, provides the brain with virtual consciousness. Sort of simulated consciousness, which could exist before the emergence of real consciousness. Which is one theory. Okay, asleep is also suggested to contribute to the consolidation of memory. So this is one theory here. However, when it comes to the functions of sleep and relation to memory consolidation, there's very little to suggest that dreaming has an impact on the consolidation of memory during sleep. So we've got theories and, and arguments and research that suggests that sleep consolidates memory. That it helps create the connections within the brain that allows you to remember things. But there's not really much evidence to suggest that dreaming helps in any kind of way to the consolidation of memory. So we're starting to come up with a number of issues. We've got a we've got a number of problems that we're having here. Doesn't seem to be any kind of real function of dreaming. We found that there are reasons why we sleep. But it doesn't seem to be very many reasons for why we dream. For example, in research done by foss et al in 2003, there was all that dreams don't really rely on the recall of episodic memory. So there's not really much to suggest that it can be useful. And the consolidation of said memory when you dream, don't really dream about memories you have, you dream about, you know, a number of random things. So whilst the, there's not really any sense in suggesting that dreams can consolidate episodic memory if dreams of not really related to episodic memory. So thus one research that occurred here, and another interesting thing when it comes to the functions of dreaming, comes when we look at bad dreams and nightmares. And there's a little bit more research done in regarding the functions of bad dreams and nightmares. So there are prominent theories that suggest that dreaming and having bad dreams and having nightmares serves the function of potentially contributing to some kind of emotional processing. Evidence of this shown in more clearly when it comes to bad dreams and nightmares. So it's could be seen as a way to process one's emotions or trauma by having these bad dreams and having nightmares. You know, evidence of this could be seen with patients who have PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. And there's a heightened risk of having bad dreams and nightmares about Set experiences. And so some suggests that nightmares and dreams that all of that kind or ways in which the brain is able to try and process emotions. There's also a deeper theory known as threat simulation theory, which is really where we're going to begin when we start to look at the functions of dreaming. So threads simulation theory is the idea that dreams serve some kind of evolutionary function. The, by having dreams, the brain could act in a kind of simulation of threatening events so as to better prepare one for the survival of set events in reality. So if you have a dream and this could be seen as being quite useful. Evolutionary. If you're dreaming about threats and ways in which you can prepare yourself a set threats that might have given you an evolutionary advantage when it comes to dealing with those threats and reality. And so that could be a trait that is passed on. A similar alternative to threat simulation theory is the idea of social simulation theory, because right now threats don't seem to be the kind of a driving factor within our psychology. As they did, you know, tens of thousands of years ago, maybe now, dreams service. Function. And the idea that dreams simulate social environments to support some kind of social cognition and develop social skills that you dream about. Social environment, your brain almost simulates social environments and that equips you with the skills needed to deal with social scenarios in reality, which is another way in which we could argue about the functions of dreams. So just before we finish off by looking at the functions of dreams, we're gonna tackle probably the main problem with functional dream and the idea of dreaming having some kind of function. And we can work out what this function is. Whenever researchers do him into the function of dreaming, there will always be one problem that needs to be overcome. And that is how we explain why a majority of dreams have forgotten. Because if dreaming is meant to serve a particular purpose, if it's most our function, like threat simulation or social simulation theory, then why do we forget the vast majority of dreams? Surely it stands to reason that if, for example, if we to accept threat simulation theory, if dreams serve the function of simulating threats that we can be better prepared for. What's the point in doing that if we forget the dreams as soon as we wake up, which is the theory. Well, in 1983, Crick and Mitchison suggested that REM sleep could be a way for your brain to delete and to sort of erase surplus information. So to try and shift and saw information in your brain. And this actually overcomes the problem when we're looking at the function of dreams. Because in turn they suggest that when we remember dreams, this is actually a bug within the function. We're not supposed to remember dreams because we are supposed to forget Dreams because the purpose of REM sleep when dreams mainly occur is fused, deletes information and delete memories that you don't need. So that's possibly one way in which you can explain how dreaming might have some kind of function, but that they also become forgotten. You could also argue that dreams have no function and that's why they're forgotten, that the majority of the time dreams are just flashes of neural connections within the brain. And I would also explain why they are often so absurd or, you know, involve some leaps in logic. So these are the things that, these are the things that we have to look at when we're talking about the psychology of dreaming. In summary, then what we've done is explored a number of theories when it comes to the functions of dreaming. Okay, we've looked at the functions of sleep and how it's quite difficult to link the functions of sleeping to the functions of dreaming. Because we can be pretty, can rest assured me pretty safe with our suggestion that dreaming, sorry that sleeping has a number of functions that have been, you know, well-researched, but it's quite hard to link to suggest that those functions also apply and extend to dreaming. And then we looked at a number of theories regarding the functions of dreaming. So we looked at the threat simulation argument that sorry, the threat simulation theory and the social simulation theory. And we also looked at the theory that dreams might not even have a function. It could just be a part of REM sleep whereby you erase unwanted or needed memories on needed bits of information. And the dreaming is just a by-product of that. So in summary, for the whole course, we've covered dreams. I've covered on many dream, many Devis. Okay, so we've covered a number of different topics. We began by looking at the solvent metaphysical problems that dreaming provides. Specifically descartes dream arguments and the counter-examples today cost the dream argument whether or not we know we're dreaming or not. We've looked at the ethics of dreaming, which is very interesting problem. You know, the work of St. Augustine. You know, can we ever know? Because sorry, can we be a moral when we're dreaming? And then we finally went beyond philosophy into the psychology of dreaming by looking at the meaning of dreams and to also look at the functions of treatment. So I hope you've enjoyed this course and feel free to rate the course. Have a go at the project section and the bond is going to be some problem questions. There's going to be some research questions. Also, if you're interested more in the first topic, the idea of being in a simulated reality. I being draped, We are all dreaming. Take a look at my course on whether or not we are living in a computer simulation. And if you like that, I've got courses on logic, on perception, on the philosophy of Stoicism, the philosophy of personhood, and also on the philosophy of artificial intelligence. So feel free to take a look at any of those when you want to. Thank you very much for watching.