Descartes’ Dreams

Jerome Neu

in On Loving Our Enemies

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199862986
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949762 | DOI:
Descartes’ Dreams

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Descartes set philosophers to worrying with the thought that life could be a dream. He was unsettled at the start of his Meditations by the observation “that there are never any sure signs by means of which being awake can be distinguished from being asleep.” Indeed, he later refers to it as “the principal reason for doubt” in his meditative quest for certainty. This chapter explores the interesting story of how dreaming entered Descartes' philosophy and so has managed to keep philosophers awake ever since.

Keywords: Descartes; philosophy; dreaming; sleep; asleep

Chapter.  3646 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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