Cartesian Epistemology without Cartesian Dreams? Commentary on Jennifer Windt's Dreaming

Journal of Consciousness Studies 25 (5-6):30-43 (2018)
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Jennifer Windt’s Dreaming is an enormously rich and thorough book, developing illuminating connections between dreaming, the methodology of psychology, and various philosophical subfields. I’ll focus on two epistemological threads that run through the book. The first has to do with the status of certain assumptions about dreams. Windt argues that the assumptions that dreams involve experiences, and that dream reports are reliable — are methodologically necessary default assumptions, akin to Wittgensteinian hinge propositions. I’ll suggest that Windt is quietly pre-supposing some sceptical assumptions, and that recent literature in epistemic externalism may bear in important ways on her arguments. The second thread involves the perennial sceptical worry that dreaming threatens ordinary knowledge. I’ll suggest again that Windt makes tacit sceptical assumptions one may wish to resist.
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