Norman Malcolm on Falling Asleep and Dreaming
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The authoress examines the views of Norman Malcolm (1911-1990) that were proposed in the book 'Dreaming'. Malcolm was trying to show that the old sceptical question: 'How can I know at this moment whether I am dreaming or awake?' was senseless because neither doubting nor asserting while being asleep was possible. He claimed that our concept of dreaming was not derived from dreaming, but from descriptions of dreams - from 'telling a dream' which is a specific language-game. The question, whether people really had their images while they slept, or whether they merely imagined to have had them upon awaking, had therefore no application in that game, and therefore no answer. That is to say, a dream, as a train of images independent of the sleeper's waking life, had no place in a language-game about the real world. In the authoress'inion this result of Malcolm's investigation was unsatisfactory, and it betrayed some limitations of Wittgenstein's conception of meaning that Malcolm had relied upon.
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