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There are papers in the philosophy of literature (I don't remember names and authors, I can look them up if this sounds interesting to you) that talk about literature as a tool for gaining ethical knowledge by "placing" oneself into novel situations. I believe there is a reference to mirror neurons, which are a mechanism for sympathy that works by forcing ...


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The original story (the dream about the butterfly) is from the writings of Chuang Tzu (also transliterated as Zhuangzi) who was a significant early Taoist philosopher noted for a mischievous sense of humor and cynical outlook. You might look into his works as a starting point. As @Dog mentioned, Descartes' famous Meditations takes dreams as a major subject....


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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.


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I came upon this article which has some pretty solid ideas about the science behind déjà-vus. I think that you "relive your life" in a way that means you have already experienced everything that you can't re-experience; you're going back through all your memories and remembering the emotions you had once felt; you already know everything that happens in ...


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That is, a brain in a vat would never be thinking about real brains or real vats, but rather about images sent into it that resemble real brains or real vats. This is the problematic part of the argument. Because, of course, all our actual brain gets is neural firing patterns sent into it. So there is no particular distinction between a brain in a vat ...


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Descartes' a priori assumptions were: mathematical statements are valid and God is not a deceiver (note that the latter implies the former). The reason why God is not a deceiver is because God is a perfect being (according to Descartes), and he cannot deceive us in any way. If God is not a deceiver then God gave us senses which are not totally unreliable. ...


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Zhuang Zi addresses exactly this question in his most famous "butterfly story", that goes in short like that: "Zhuang Zi dreamed he was a butterfly enjoying its flight from flower to flower. After awake, he questioned if he was Zhuang Zi who dreamed of a butterfly, or if he was the butterfly, dreaming that he was Zhuang Zi. But between Zhuang Zi and a ...


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This answer is based on the following assumption: It is better to have experience accompanied by knowledge, than just knowledge. So lets try the following to (hopefully) gain experience. See it as me proving to you that you can discern between states of dreaming and states of wakefulness, I can't just do that with solely you reading text I typed, you have to ...


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The premise A dream is felt as a dream only after "awakening". is apparently wrong, at least for some people. The phenomenon of lucid dreaming is a counterexample. Furthermore, it suggests that at least under some circumstances, both you-while-dreaming and you-while-awake can agree on what is a dream. (Anecdotally, I can also attest that it was very ...


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Welcome, Rahman. It isn't, I'd suggest, quite the case that 'Socrates started to study music (poetry/composing) just on the direction of a voice that he heard in his dream.' A key point is that he begins writing lyrics as his latest response to a recurrent dream (60E). Socrates explains that he has been composing lyrics because of a recurring dream ...


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Is dying in a simulation -- any simulation at all -- ever physically sufficient to die at that instant outside it? It depends on the definition of simulation. In the Matrix, a narrative, simulation is defined as such that the physical processes of generating the simulation and the life of the biological organism are intertwined and that death in the ...


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You have already worked out some key points for yourself. I think Descartes would say that dreaming is a state of mind and that dreams are products of the mind. He is not at this stage of the argument in the 1st Meditation wholesale sceptical of the senses - that comes later with the Evil Demon. Awake, when I look out of the window I might really see a tree (...


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I recommend dipping into a little Heidegger if you want to read a theory about the possible explanations of your anxieties. William Blattner's introductory text to Being & Time is a good companion to the Macquarrie & Robinson translation of the text. As a taste, here's something along the lines of what the early Heidegger may have said: What you're ...


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Mauro has given an excellent lead. Ancient wisdom is very much to the point. Try Epicurus, Lucretius, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius. There's also Matthew Arnold's 'An Essay on Marcus Aurelius' in Essays in Criticism. For your purposes the trouble with philosophy is that while it can, as in the texts above, give good advice, there is a problem of how to ...


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This is an example of a "loaded question", with premises such as that we are "just reliving our previous life stuck in an infinite loop". Since we have no evidence to support this claim, it would be impossible to know if such a claim is true without this evidence. On the question of our being "still alive", this depends on the definition of being "alive" in ...


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According to Bertrand Russell in his book Human knowledge one cannot prove one is not dreaming: It may be said that, though when dreaming I may think that I am awake, when I wake up I know that I am awake. But I do not see how we are to have any such certainty; I have frequently dreamt that I woke up; in fact once, after ether, I dreamt it about a ...


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... my question is, have there been any thinkers who have formed a theory of reality which takes into account not just data from the waking state but also what the mind experiences in the dreaming state and the state of deep sleep? In Ludwig Binswanger's Dream and Existence he blurs the distinction between subjective thought and dreaming and hardens the ...


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I recently heard an interesting story on NPR you might be enjoy: http://www.radiolab.org/story/182747-wake-up-dream/ In particular they spoke to Steve LaBerge, author of, "Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming" and he speaks of Dr. William C. Dement who has done some very interesting research in the area of sleep and dreaming. There is plenty of empirical ...


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This questions been there as long as philosophy. Because it is intriguing at first. But to what purpose? The reason being, it is my assumption you would like to be a better person. In what state are you more in control of your actions? Dream or awakening? For me awakening. I have no control over my dreams. Say, if i killed a man in my dream, should i ...


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Like the others, I must look at the premises you provide. The topic your friend is exploring is very detailed and complex. It is very easy to dismiss it because one of your initial premises simplifies the argument to the point of simple rejection. Only once the premisses are accepted can one begin to look at whether they agree with or contradict your ...


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Clearly you cannot be dreaming. College students don't sleep! But seriously, as far as philosophers go, Descartes' Meditation seems like the best starting point when asking the question "How do we know that this isn't all an illusion?" That will no doubt help inform your perspective so you can ask more specific questions. HOWEVER Before doing that, I ...


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From my experience there isn't exactly such a phenomena as a dream within a dream, but rather a different phenomena called False Awakening which is often confused with it. Bertrand Russell mentions false awakenings in his book Human knowledge: It may be said that, though when dreaming I may think that I am awake, when I wake up I know that I am awake. ...


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When I dream in my sleep I'm most of the time convinced that what I experience is real. When I'm awake on the other hand, I often have doubts. Suppose there is a particular center in the brain that makes one doubt - which in my case is apparently off during sleep. If the experimenter makes sure that this particular area isn't excited, then the brain will ...


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Henri Bergson (1859-1941) wrote about the problem raised in this question: How does one know one is not dreaming? In his book, The World of Dreams (1958), he stated: Let us hastily extract from this lecture the basic difference between dreaming and the waking state. The same faculties function when we dream and when we are awake, but in one instance they ...


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The other answers already discuss the relationship to other skeptical hypotheses, such as the one that I am a brain in a vat. It may be good to point out that philosophers have also argued that what we perceive around us may in a sense be real even if the skeptical hypothesis is true, for example this paper by David Chalmers. A related reference is JJ ...


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