Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Dreams PGT PHIL5111

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

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 course may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses

Dreams PHIL4069




Two essays, equally weighted, with a word limit of 2,500 words each.

Course Aims

This course aims to:


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

  • Teach and explore 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, social 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.