Focused Daydreaming and Mind-Wandering

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):791-813 (2015)
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In this paper, I describe and discuss two mental phenomena which are somewhat neglected in the philosophy of mind: focused daydreaming and mind-wandering. My aim is to show that their natures are rather distinct, despite the fact that we tend to classify both as instances of daydreaming. The first difference between the two, I argue, is that, while focused daydreaming is an instance of imaginative mental agency, mind-wandering is not—though this does not mean that mind-wandering cannot involve mental agency at all. This personal-level difference in agency and purposiveness has, furthermore, the consequence that instances of mind-wandering do not constitute unified and self-contained segments of the stream of consciousness—in stark contrast to focused daydreams. Besides, the two kinds of mental phenomena differ in whether they possess a narrative structure, and in how we may make sense of the succession of mental episodes involved

Author's Profile

Fabian Dorsch
PhD: University College London; Last affiliation: Université de Fribourg


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