Dreaming Souls: Sleep, Dreams, and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind

Dreaming Souls: Sleep, Dreams, and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind : Sleep, Dreams, and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind

3.54 (37 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 11-16 business days.


Not ordering to the United States? Click here.

Description

What, if anything do dreams tell us about ourselves? What is the relationship between types of sleep and types of dreams? Does dreaming serve any purpose? Or are dreams simply meaningless mental noise-'unmusical fingers wandering over the piano keys'?
With expertise in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, Owen Flanagan is uniquely qualified to answer those questions. And in Dreaming Souls he provides both an accessible survey of the latest research on sleep and dreams and a compelling new theory about the nature and function of dreaming. Flanagan argues that while sleep has a clear biological function and adaptive value, dreams are merely side effects, 'free-riders', irrelevant from an evolutionary point of view. But dreams
are hardly unimportant. Indeed, Flanagan argues that dreams are self-expressive, the result of our need to find or create meaning, even when we are sleeping. Rejecting Freud's theory of manifest and latent content-of repressed wishes appearing in disguised form-Flanagan shows how brainstem activity during
sleep generates a jumbled profusion of memories, images, thoughts, emotions, and desires, which the cerebral cortex then attempts to shape into a more or less coherent story. Such dream narratives range from the relatively mundane worries of non-REM sleep tot he fantastic confabulations of deep REM that resemble pyschotic episodes in their strangeness. But, however bizarre these narratives may be, they can shed light on our mental life, our well being, and our sense of self.
Written with clarity, lively wit, and remarkable insight, Dreaming Souls offers a fascinating new way of apprehending one of the oldest mysteries of mental life.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 152 x 232 x 18mm | 349g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous tables and line drawings, 1 halftone
  • 0195142357
  • 9780195142358
  • 1,022,496

Table of contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue: "To Sleep: Perchance to Dream"
1: Heart Throbs
2: The Dreaming Mind
3: Sleepy Heads
4: Dreams: The Spandrels of Sleep
5: Self-Expression in Dreams
6: Philosophical Perplexities
Epilogue: Here Comes the Sun
Selected Bibliography
Index
show more

Review quote

"Flanagan's Dreaming Souls is, quite simply, a masterpiece: learned, lively, and surpassingly smart. Owen's voice in this book is so honest, direct, lovable and funny, it kept reminding me of Frank McCourt. And yet it IS neurophilosophy. It is about the whys and wherefores of our dreaming brains."--Patricia S. Churchland, Presidential Professor of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego, author of Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science
of the Mind-Brain
"Owen Flanagan does it again. He takes one of the most fascinating and elusive topics in mind/brain research, the 'why' of dreams, and ropes it into a coherent notion that one and all can understand. I won't spoil it for you and tell you his intriguing idea. But I will tell you, I think he is on to something big."--Michael S. Gazzaniga, Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, author of Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the
Mind and The Mind's Past
"Are dreams just the noise that the brain makes during sleep? Flanagan makes us take this question seriously as he builds dream consciousness into his new brain-based philosophy of mind."--J. Allan, Director of Laboratory of Neurophysiology, Harvard Medical School and author of Sleep, The Dreaming Brain, and most recently Consciousness
"How important to have a philosopher dedicate himself to the basic questions of human psychology. Owen Flanagan challenges and synthesizes contemporary theories of mind to arrive at a provocative understanding of the relationship of dream and dreamer."--Peter D. Kramer, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, author of Listening to Prozac and Should You Leave?
"An informative review of current research on sleep and dreams and a new theory about the nature and function of dreaming, presented with clarity, wit, and finesse.... Science writing at its best."--Kirkus Reviews
"Excellent book to start off a science-oriented philosophy of mind...course. The style and content are engaging, and Flanagan provides an excellent introduction to the philosophical issues surrounding mind/brain research."--Ilya Farber, George Washington University
"[An] intriguing book....Flanagan has developed an original, plausible, and empirically grounded account of the activity of dreaming. He has demonstrated...successfully, that his account is superior to the depth psychological and somatic noise alternatives. And he has done so in the form of an engaging, accessible, and often amusing book."--The American Journal of Psychology
"Flanagan's Dreaming Souls is, quite simply, a masterpiece: learned, lively, and surpassingly smart. Owen's voice in this book is so honest, direct, lovable and funny, it kept reminding me of Frank McCourt. And yet it IS neurophilosophy. It is about the whys and wherefores of our dreaming brains."--Patricia S. Churchland, Presidential Professor of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego, author of Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science
of the Mind-Brain
"Owen Flanagan does it again. He takes one of the most fascinating and elusive topics in mind/brain research, the 'why' of dreams, and ropes it into a coherent notion that one and all can understand. I won't spoil it for you and tell you his intriguing idea. But I will tell you, I think he is on to something big."--Michael S. Gazzaniga, Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, author of Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the
Mind and The Mind's Past
"Are dreams just the noise that the brain makes during sleep? Flanagan makes us take this question seriously as he builds dream consciousness into his new brain-based philosophy of mind."--J. Allan, Director of Laboratory of Neurophysiology, Harvard Medical School and author of Sleep, The Dreaming Brain, and most recently Consciousness
"How important to have a philosopher dedicate himself to the basic questions of human psychology. Owen Flanagan challenges and synthesizes contemporary theories of mind to arrive at a provocative understanding of the relationship of dream and dreamer."--Peter D. Kramer, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, author of Listening to Prozac and Should You Leave?
"An informative review of current research on sleep and dreams and a new theory about the nature and function of dreaming, presented with clarity, wit, and finesse.... Science writing at its best."--Kirkus Reviews
"In his fascinating new book, Dreaming Souls, Flanagan submits that, while sleep is certainly an evolutionary adaptation, and consciousness probably is, too, consciousness during sleep is merely a by-product of the two."--Jim Holt, Lingua Franca
"Flanagan's writing is conversational--gracious, humorous, and intelligent. He examines objections to theories without being demeaning or condescending...a thought-provoking and entertaining read."--Choice
"In contrast to Jouvet, Hobson and Winson, the American philosopher Owen Flanagan thinks that both sleep and consciousness are products of evolution, but consciousness during sleep (dreaming) is merely an accident of nature, a side effect of the two. Both consciousness and sleep have a clear biological function, but dreams don't. During sleep, the brain stocks up neurotransmitters that will be used the next day. By accident, pulses that originate from this
stockpiling chore (coming from the brain stem) also reactivate more or less random parts of memory. Unaware that the body is actually sleeping, the sensory circuits of the cerebral cortex process these
signals as if they were coming from outside and produce a chaotic flow of sensations. Thus we dream. Dreams are just the noise the brain makes while working overnight. If Flanagan is correct, dreams are meaningless and pointless." -- Piero Scaruffi, Thymos.com
show more

About Owen Flanagan

Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy and Chair, Professor of Psychology-Experimental, and Professor of Neurobiology, Duke University. He is the author of The Science of Mind, Consciousness Reconsidered, Varieties of Moral Personality, and Self Expressions (OUP), and is Series Editor of the Philosophy of Mind Series, OUP.
show more

Rating details

37 ratings
3.54 out of 5 stars
5 5% (2)
4 54% (20)
3 32% (12)
2 5% (2)
1 3% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X