Dreaming Souls: Sleep, Dreams, and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind : Sleep, Dreams, and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind
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.
- Paperback | 224 pages
- 152 x 232 x 18mm | 349g
- 17 May 2001
- Oxford University Press Inc
- New York, United States
- numerous tables and line drawings, 1 halftone
Other books in this series
17 May 2001
Table of contents
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
"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
About Owen Flanagan