Is it Possible to Have Episodic Memories During Non-Lucid Dreams?

In Daniel Gregory & Kourken Michaelian (eds.), Dreaming and Memory. Springer (forthcoming)
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The purpose of this paper is not to show that the answer to the question in the title is ‘no’, but to show that it is ‘probably not’, at least on one particular theory of memory. Assuming that an experience will only be an episodic memory if we are ‘disposed to take the relevant experience into account when judging about the past’ (Debus 2010, p. 25), there are many obstacles to answering the question in the affirmative. If one holds that it is possible to have episodic memories during dreams, they will have to accept more implications than may be palatable. Specifically, they will have to believe, contra Sosa (2007), that we can actually make judgments during dreams and not just imagine doing so; that we retain a fairly high degree of rationality during dreams; and that there is a respectable sense in which we can refer to the past at all when we dream.

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Daniel Gregory
University of Salzburg


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