DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-V010-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 18, 2024, from

3. Are dreams experiences?

Malcolm’s theory invites an account that loosens the dreaming process from experiencing, and ties it to dream-recall. The account asserts that a dream, though apparently long, might be condensed in a short time span, and be triggered upon awakening. Freud reports Maury’s ’guillotine dream’ (a complex series of events related to the French revolution and concluded by the dreamer’s own beheading) which was triggered by the fall of a small board on the dreamer’s neck. In order to avoid ascribing premonitory abilities to the mind, Freud suggested that in such a case the dream was already available in the form of a mental plot and that it was only recalled as a result of the accident. More recently, this view has been developed into the cassette theory of dreams (Dennett 1976). According to this theory, the composition of dreams would be temporally independent of the remembering or the performance of dreams; dream plots could be conscious for the first time upon recalling. Further evidence for this theory is provided by the fact that dreams often recur; it is plausible to think that such dreams are not composed each night, but that they are already available and simply played back once again.

Citing this article:
Casati, Roberto. Are dreams experiences?. Dreaming, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-V010-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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