According to some eastern teachings (Tantric, Buddhist, etc) it's a good thing to ponder and meditate on dreams:

Dream 1

A person dreams of finding money or gold or any other luxuries. This person keeps gathering all that frenetically until waking up. When that person wakes up realizes that it was impossible to keep that wealth from the dream.

Dream 2

A person has a nightmare and fear all his dream. Instead of facing what causes fear decides to wake up from the dream.

Dream 3

A person spend all his efforts struggling to get on top of a mountain. The higher this person gets the harder it becomes. This mountain is surrounded by beautiful fruit trees and brooks but the only thought this person has is to climb on the top of the mountain. The person wakes up exhausted and disappointed because there was no way he could have gotten on the top.

Dream 4

A person has an ordinary dream but all the sudden realizes that a dream is happening. As this person realizes this decides to take different paths and change things that were meant to happen.

Some of these philosophies compare dreams with real life and death to waking up. Are there any other authors or philosophies (western if possible) that emphasize on dreams and how we could learn from them in order to evolve philosophically in life? (Not interested in interpretation of dreams or similar).

"What is life? A madness. What is life? An illusion, a shadow, a story. And the greatest good is little enough; for all life is a dream, and dreams themselves are only dreams."

Pedro Calderon de la Barca

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    You can see Colin McGinn, Mindsight : Image Dream Meaning, Harvard UP (2004) Jun 18, 2018 at 16:52
  • You say you’re not interested in dream interpretation, but when Freud wrote The Interpretation of Dreams, this was part of a larger research project. He didn’t just want to tell individual clients what their individual dreams meant. Rather, he thought that interpreting dreams (and parapraxes) was a tool for learning about the unconscious and the mechanisms of the mind – again, not just an individual mind, but ‘the mental’ as such. So, he would have agreed that “it's a good thing to ponder and meditate on dreams”. Whether that yields a philosophy of mind is a different question, of course.
    – MarkOxford
    Jun 19, 2018 at 16:13
  • Aristotle writes a bit about dreams. Jun 20, 2018 at 4:22
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA Add that as an answer rather than a comment.
    – Pharap
    Jun 20, 2018 at 8:16
  • I thing you should see the movie 'Inception'.
    – Overmind
    Jun 21, 2018 at 8:54

2 Answers 2


Jennifer Windt's Dreaming: A Conceptual Framework for Philosophy of Mind and Empirical Research is a recent effort to make dream research bear on questions in the philosophy of mind.

Windt also wrote a series of blog posts discussing the main ideas from her book.


Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream is a Taoism tale that ponders on dreams ref here

"Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things."

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