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Department of Philosophy

Forthcoming Research Seminars and Lectures

(For past seminars and lectures see here)

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04th May 2017: Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture: Professor Matthew Soteriou (University of Warwick) - The Dream Present as a 'Time Island'

(1 September 2016)

As part of the North-East centre of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, the Department hosts regular Institute lectures. 

This Lecture will be held in the Birley Room, Hatfield College, Durham.
Refreshments will be available from 5pm with the Lecture commencing at 5:30pm


The dream present as a ‘time island’


Among those philosophers who accept the common sense view that our dreams involve conscious experiences, one central area of dispute turns on the question of whether it is appropriate to categorise our dream experiences as perceptual experiences that are akin to waking hallucinations. Many of those who deny this, propose instead that our dream experiences should, rather, be regarded as acts of imagination. An associated dispute turns on the question of whether we should regard dreaming and waking states as constitutively different. In this talk I shall be exploring how these debates can be illuminated by considering the following question: what, if anything, is peculiar about temporal awareness in dreams, in contrast with wakeful consciousness? In particular, I shall be considering the proposals that (a) as you dream, you cannot refer to your actual present as ‘now’. In that respect, when you dream, you are cut off from your actual present – i.e. the actual time at which you dream; and (b) when you dream, you do not have access to a temporal perspective on your actual past and your actual future.


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