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Young, N. (1960). Dreaming: By Norman Malcolm. Studies in Philosophical Psychology Series edited by R. F. Holland. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1959. New York: The Humanities Press, Inc., 1959. 128 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 29:264-266.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:264-266

Dreaming: By Norman Malcolm. Studies in Philosophical Psychology Series edited by R. F. Holland. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1959. New York: The Humanities Press, Inc., 1959. 128 pp.

Review by:
Nicholas Young

This is a brief, condensed, interesting, and stimulating monograph which revives some of the age-old problems connected with dreaming from a philosophical point of view. Basing his argument on considerations of the manifest content of dreams, the author concludes that dreams are exempt from connection with any phase of mental life. They cannot be hallucinations, thoughts, or the like. We cannot perform any mental act while fully asleep, hence continuity between dreaming and waking does not exist. An appearance of continuity arises, however, because the same language is used to relate both a dream and a historical event. The author states, furthermore, that there is no continuity between the states of being fully awake and fully asleep. Only sleeplike states reveal a continuity between sleeping and waking.

One of the criteria of dreaming, the author goes on to say, demands that the appearances between dreaming and waking be discrepant. Consequently, dreams are experiences which have not taken place, and it is nonsensical to say that a wish could be fulfilled in a dream or that dreams take place in physical time. Dement and Kleitman are severely criticized in this monograph because they use as their criterion for the 'correct' duration of dreams the associated rapid eye movements. Professor Malcolm rightly remarks that physiological phenomena 'may be found to stand in interesting empirical correlation with dreaming, but the possibility of these discoveries presupposes that these phenomena are not used as the criterion for dreaming'.

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