Dreams humans see during sleeps are always believed to be integral part of cognitive philosophy and neuroscience. By the same token, largest thinkers, such as Aristotle, Descartes and Plato, expressed controversial ideas surrounding dreams. In addition to the philosophical approach to this topic, there are neurological aspects needed to be clarified. In this post, I will summarize the main findings of both advanced areas.

Most referenced philosopher in terms of brain and human thoughts, Rene Descartes, had widely discussed dream argument. Briefly explaining, Dream argument draws attention to the similarities between dreams and actual life. This similarity leads to a popular question as a result of conclusions driven by dream argument: How can I know that I am not now dreaming? According to Descartes, our fundamental senses are not reliable enough to answer the question above and he is not able to find any key difference between the dreams and reality to distinguish them. However, Hobbies hold the view that the most obvious difference is lack of absurd in real incidents. Additionally, Locke shows his objection to Descartes by mentioning about the divergence between the feeling of pain in sleep and that in real life. Based on all these, it can easily be inferred that, philosophically, dreams are the close resemblance of the actual incidents with some key differences like above.

Let`s talk a little about Aristotle`s thoughts on dreams by analyzing his famous short treaty On Dreams. Inside this treaty, Aristotle was trying to find out why humans see dreams and what is exactly happening during this process. To his perspective, dreams are the inevitable result of the continuous activity and movement of sensory organs while sleeping. Aristotle thinks that sleeping requires our eyes to be closed which means that our connection with the external sensory objects is finished, called as loss of perception. Nevertheless, under the loss of perception, humans can remember their dreams. This is explained by the assumption: although our normal perception is out of use because of the inactivity of sensory organs, perception can be took into action with our imaginary eyes, not physical eyes. I admit it can sound a little bit strange, but philosophy mainly addresses this issue like this.

In scientific terms, dreams are basically stories our mind makes. Because of the fact that mind and brain are never inactive, they even create some situations in subconscious which humans see with their imaginary eyes. But these dreams are not accompanied by the logic. This is due to the certainty that in process of sleeping, emotional centers of brain are much more active than logical parts. Maybe dominance of emotions over logic can explain the mostly experienced state in sleep- release of sexual tension.

In a nutshell, I tried to give the information about the broad concept, dreams. There is not enough consensus around the causes, functions and  classification of dreams. Hopefully, in the future, it would be possible to discuss them on the basis of accepted theories.

1) Cynthia McKanzieRene Descartes` Dream Argument- How Do We Know We Are Not Dreaming?http://www.messagetoeagle.com/rene-descartes-dream-argument-know-not-dreaming/, MessageToEagle.com, 2017
2) Aristotle, De Insomniis, http://www.fks.uoc.gr/english/cvs/karamanolis/OnDreamstransl.pdf
3) Kelly Bulkeley, The Science of Dreaming: 9 Keys Points, https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/dreaming-in-the-digital-age/201712/the-science-dreaming-9-key-points, Psychology Today, 2017
4) Nihat Hajiyev, https://nihathajiyev.blogspot.com/2019/06/dreamology.html

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