Are you yourself when you're sleeping?

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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Philosophy Explorer
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Are you yourself when you're sleeping?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:13 pm

Interesting article (for me, the answer is no): ... ms/6685462


Graeme M
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Re: Are you yourself when you're sleeping?

Post by Graeme M » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:46 pm

I'm not sure I quite follow the question really. For me, I am whatever I end up dreaming - sometimes I am me (in that I have a first person perspective) at others I am someone else. I often have what I term novel dreams - for example I experience some long, detailed dream that is almost like another life. Once I dreamed I was a member of a US bomber crew shot down over Europe in WWII and sheltered in a small village somewhere. The dream followed my life in WWII, my eventual return to the States and then much later returning to the village with my family.

Yet those long dreams don't take that much time really - it's more akin to imagining than it is to conscious wakefulness. I seem to be telling a story.

The other point is I'd disagree that we don't experience external things in dreams - how many times have you heard a noise and incorporated it into a dream? I've carefully studied that phenomenon and found that the dream is constructed BEFORE I hear the noise (more exactly, before I am aware of hearing the noise). What I think happens is that my brain is aware of the noise but I am not awake to put that into any kind of perspective so it generates a story into which the noise is fitted, and that story is then passed to my dreaming state. The 'awareness' that is my dream state then gets to hear the noise but it's wrapped up into some kind of meaningful picture of what happened.

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Re: Are you yourself when you're sleeping?

Post by Skip » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:54 pm

Unless the 'protagonist' of a dream is an actual, living person with his own driver's license, having that very same experience at the very same moment the dreamer experiences being in his body, the dreamer is still him- or herself, acting out a story of his or her own invention. Everything and everyone in that dream-story is a product of the dreamer's mind.

Alter egos are part of their creator, just as characters in a novel are aspects of the author's personality; just as the actor on the stage is still Patrick Stewart, not King Lear. There is no "someone else" to be. Where would that other person have come from?

Obvious Leo
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Re: Are you yourself when you're sleeping?

Post by Obvious Leo » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:16 pm

I was naturally a lucid dreamer as a child and I taught myself how to retain the skill throughout my adulthood. It occasionally makes for quite bizarre dream states where I am both experiencing a dream and analysing a dream at the same time but these dream states occur only occasionally and usually only fleetingly. As a very small child this also induced what I now understand as "out-of-body" experiences which were quite terrifying at the time but which never recurred for me beyond the age of about ten. I still remember imagining myself suspended above myself and watching myself sleeping, an experience so vivid in its clarity that in over half a century I've never forgotten a single detail. Such phenomena are reasonably well understood by modern cognitive neuroscience but they are fascinating personal experiences nevertheless. When I was a student I could play taped lectures to myself in my sleep and remember many of the details of them when I woke up. I can still sometimes tell my wife how the story in a movie turned out even if I fell asleep halfway through it ( as I usually do!). Somehow the movie has just worked its way into my dream.

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