Dreams PHIL4069

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

In this course we consider the nature, epistemic dimensions, function, and ethics of dreams. We primarily approach these from an analytical philosophical perspective but engage also with psychology, psychoanalysis, and neuroscience.


16x1hr lectures; 4x1hr seminars over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Philosophy and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Junior Honours Philosophy, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes.

Excluded Courses





2 x Essays (2000 words each) - 80%

2 x short written pieces (500 words each) - 20%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:


■ Introduce students to competing philosophical theories and arguments concerning the nature, epistemology, function, and ethics of dreams.

■ Introduce perspectives on dreams from psychology, psychoanalysis, and neuroscience.

■ Encourage students to hone their analytical and critical skills, by considering and developing key arguments and positions.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Expound and critically evaluate key theories and arguments concerning the nature of dreams, including the Orthodox Conception, the Imagination theory, and the Memory Insertion theory.

■ Expound and critically evaluate key positions and arguments concerning the epistemology of dreams, including historical and contemporary responses to Cartesian dream scepticism and theories of learning in dreams.

■ Expound and critically evaluate key theories and arguments concerning the function of dreams, including psychoanalysis, memory consolidation theories, socials simulation theories, and the view that dreams are epiphenomena.

■ Expound and critically evaluate theories of the ethical dimensions of dreams, including the standard argument for dream morality, the connection between dreams and waking consequences, theories of moral responsibility for dreams, and the connection between dreams and moral character.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.