Interdisciplinary conference on Dreams, Hallucinations and Imagination
The Dreams, Hallucinations and Imagination conference will be held in the Department of Philosophy of the University of Glasgow on February 23-24, 2019. The conference will run parallel to the Eye’s Mind exhibition and will be hosted by the Centre for the Study of the Perceptual Experience (CSPE), University of Glasgow.
This two-day conference aims at bringing together both graduate students and early career researchers working on the nature of dreams, hallucinations and illusions, and provide them with a forum for discussing most recent findings and novel directions of research.
Recently, the study of dream experiences has attracted renewed interest from both philosophers and psychologists. In particular, the two disciplines have been focusing on the phenomenal nature of dream experiences by highlighting the commonalities that dreams share with other similar mental states, such as hallucinations and imaginative states. However, this commonality-based approach leaves several key questions unanswered. In general, what kind of mental state best describes the nature of dreams? Are dreams essentially like hallucinations, or are they rather a type of imaginative state/mental imagery? If so, how do dreams differ from hallucinations and imagination? If not, what other models can provide a useful framework for thinking about the phenomenal nature of dreams?
While different theories on the nature of dreams have been proposed, three main accounts ultimately stand out:
(1) An orthodox view, which has traditionally conceived of dreams as hallucinatory experiences, on a par with delusive phenomena such as delirium (Hobson, 1999)
(2) An imagination model of dreams, most notably defended by Sosa (2007) and Ichikawa (2015). In this model, dreams are exercises of imagination, and, crucially, dream beliefs aren’t genuine beliefs, but imagined beliefs
(3) A view in which dreams are defended as sui generis experiences, essentially different from both hallucinations and imagination (Windt, 2015; Andy Eagan, 2008).
As a result, a significant amount of philosophical and empirical research has been carried out for investigating these three different strands. From a philosophical perspective, both the phenomenological character of dreams and the epistemological implications of their experience have been considered. Regarding the former, recent work in the in the Philosophy of Mind has attempted to clarify what experiences of dreams consists of by comparing them with different kinds of wakeful experiences. An example of this is the recent work by Voss and Windt (2018) who have investigated whether dreams can be understood as a form of spontaneous thought. Regarding the latter, Epistemological research has also been taken, considering the implications of accepting that dreams are a sort of imagination (Soteriou, 2016). Finally, on the empirical side, recent research on the phenomenological differences between dreams and hallucinations would seem to suggest that there is a substantial difference between these two types of experiences (Speth & Speth, 2018; Waters et al., 2016).
We believe that promising future results on the question about the nature of dreams, hallucination and imagination can be made by comparing and contrasting these states and by following an interdisciplinary approach. For this, the conference aims at gathering together researchers from different disciplines to address questions concerning the nature of dreams, hallucinations and imagination.
Call for Abstracts
This conference is organized by Adriana Alcaraz Sánchez and Raúl Ros Morales and is supported by grants from the College of Arts Graduate School and Philosophy Department, University of Glasgow, the Analysis Trust, the Scots Philosophical Association, and the Mind Association.
The aim of this two-day conference is to facilitate collaboration among researchers working in the different aspects of the nature of dream, hallucination and imagination experience by considering both empirical findings and carrying out philosophical enquiries.
While the conference focuses in the realm of Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science, we welcome proposals that work on other related areas, but that still have as central focus the nature and phenomenology of dreams, hallucination and imagination. Topics included (but aren’t limited to):
-Theoretical analysis about different theories on the nature of dreams
-Empirical findings on dream, hallucinatory and imaginative experiences
-Considerations about the difference and similarities between dreams and either hallucinations or imagination.
-Considerations about the epistemological implications of assuming that dreams, hallucinations or imagination might be the same kind of state.
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