Dreams, Hallucination, and Imagination conference

February 23, 2019 - February 24, 2019
Department of Philosophy, Glasgow University

Hutcheson Room
69, Oakfield Avenue
Glasgow G206AW
United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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  • Analysis trust
  • Scots Philosophical Association
  • Mind Association
  • Graduate School, College of Arts, University of Glasgow

Keynote speakers:

King's College London


University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow

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This two-day conference aims at bringing together both graduate students and early career researchers working on the nature of dreams, hallucinations and illusions, and provide them with a forum for discussing most recent findings and novel directions of research.

Recently, the study of dream experiences has attracted renewed interest from both philosophers and psychologists. In particular, the two disciplines have been focusing on the phenomenal nature of dream experiences by highlighting the commonalities that dreams share with other similar mental states, such as hallucinations and imaginative states. However, this commonality-based approach leaves several key questions unanswered. In general, what kind of mental state best describes the nature of dreams? Are dreams essentially like hallucinations, or are they rather a type of imaginative state/mental imagery? If so, how do dreams differ from hallucinations and imagination? If not, what other models can provide a useful framework for thinking about the phenomenal nature of dreams?

While different theories on the nature of dreams have been proposed, three main accounts ultimately stand out:

(1) An orthodox view, which has traditionally conceived of dreams as hallucinatory experiences, on a par with delusive phenomena such as delirium (Hobson, 1999)

(2) An imagination model of dreams, most notably defended by Sosa (2007) and Ichikawa (2015). In this model, dreams are exercises of imagination, and, crucially, dream beliefs aren’t genuine beliefs, but imagined beliefs

(3) A view in which dreams are defended as sui generis experiences, essentially different from both hallucinations and imagination (Windt, 2015; Andy Eagan, 2008).

As a result, a significant amount of philosophical and empirical research has been carried out for investigating these three different strands. From a philosophical perspective, both the phenomenological character of dreams and the epistemological implications of their experience have been considered. Regarding the former, recent work in the in the Philosophy of Mind has attempted to clarify what experiences of dreams consists of by comparing them with different kinds of wakeful experiences. An example of this is the recent work by Voss and Windt (2018) who have investigated whether dreams can be understood as a form of spontaneous thought. Regarding the latter, Epistemological research has also been taken, considering the implications of accepting that dreams are a sort of imagination (Soteriou, 2016). Finally, on the empirical side, recent research on the phenomenological differences between dreams and hallucinations would seem to suggest that there is a substantial difference between these two types of experiences (Speth & Speth, 2018; Waters et al., 2016).

We believe that promising future results on the question about the nature of dreams, hallucination and imagination can be made by comparing and contrasting these states and by following an interdisciplinary approach. For this, the conference aims at gathering together researchers from different disciplines to address questions concerning the nature of dreams, hallucinations and imagination

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This is a student event (e.g. a graduate conference).




February 10, 2019, 9:00am BST

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Sujoy Debnath
adriana alcaraz

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