The dreams of animals

14 Replies, 897 Views

The Dreams of Animals

David M Peña-Guzmán


Quote:This pressure remains with us to this day. Even as scientific attitudes have shifted, it is not hard to find prominent scientists who adamantly believe that science should stay far away from any ‘speculative’ debates about the mental states of other animals, especially their dreams. In their view, these debates are roads to nowhere. As long as we lack direct access to the lived experience of other species, we should follow Ludwig Wittgenstein’s advice: ‘Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.’

Yet, new developments in dream and animal sleep research are beginning to push back against this position by suggesting that other animals really do dream; that, upon falling asleep, they also renounce the real world in order to give themselves over to a phantasmatic, unearthly universe of their own creation. These developments deserve our unbroken attention since they raise fundamental questions about who animals are, how their minds operate, and the extent to which they ‘participate in the original artistry of … experience’, as the psychologist Willow Pearson would say.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


[-] The following 5 users Like Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • laborde, Ninshub, Typoz, Valmar, tim
(2022-06-08, 05:55 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: upon falling asleep, they also renounce the real world in order to give themselves over to a phantasmatic, unearthly universe of their own creation.


Evidence please?

I'm still stuck with Wittgenstein's perspective on this one.  I'm pretty confident my dog dreams.  I've seen her appearing to "run" based on the twitching of her paws and even to bark via small yalps she's made while sleeping.  Still, I have no idea if her consciousness is analogous to mine or something altogether different.

And again as we move from me to my dog and further on to less and less "complex" organisms, it seems less and less coherent to talk about consciousness at least how we think of our own.
[-] The following 2 users Like Silence's post:
  • diverdown, Sciborg_S_Patel
My cat dreams, I've no doubt about that, just as Silence states above (about his/her dog). I think he is conscious to some degree but I do admit there are numerous problems with that, that can't be answered satisfactorily. 

if we define consciousness as the multi-dimensional, complex reasoning and self awareness that most of us possess, I don't think anyone would suggest that (most) animals have that. But we can't assume because they probably don't that they are not conscious. It may be a spectrum.
[-] The following 4 users Like tim's post:
  • Ninshub, nbtruthman, Silence, Sciborg_S_Patel
(2022-06-08, 09:32 PM)tim Wrote: My cat dreams, I've no doubt about that, just as Silence states above (about his/her dog). I think he is conscious to some degree but I do admit there are numerous problems with that, that can't be answered satisfactorily. 

if we define consciousness as the multi-dimensional, complex reasoning and self awareness that most of us possess, I don't think anyone would suggest that (most) animals have that. But we can't assume because they probably don't that they are not conscious. It may be a spectrum.

It is a spectrum. Consciousness can be extremely complex and of many levels, but I think it has a simple but unknowable essence or core that is pure subjective awareness of sensations and surroundings, not elaborated by thoughts, reasonings, and self awareness - awareness of one's own existence. And this core is shared at all levels of animals that have consciousness in any form.

Until recently only a few higher animals had been demonstrated by experimental (mirror) tests to have some form of self awareness, like primates, elephants, dolphins, and certain species of birds. There doesn't seem to be evidence that attributes self awareness to dogs and cats, however. There of course is no doubt in my mind that all vertebrates have some form of basic consciousness. 

Bearing on this, it is especially interesting that there is recent research that has shown, by using variations of the standard "mirror test", that at least two species of fish, (wrasse), also have a form of self awareness. And also emotions (see https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/ar...io.3000021). This seems to upset the applecart when it comes to having a sensible theory that shows a clear progression of sophistication of consciousness from very little in the most primitive vertebrate forms (fish), to Man. It seems, after all, that all levels of evolution in vertebrates have some level of sophistication in consciousness. I guess the science of this is in a very rudimentary state. 

I think the fish with self awareness and emotions data probably points to the underlying process of development of consciousness in animals. This would be that high consciousness including of course self awareness is pervasive in a spiritual realm that interpenetrates our physical world, and it continually has attempted to manifest itself in even simple animal forms. Logically, there should be some lower level of animal development with very simple consciousness but no self awareness. We don't know what that is. And there should be some even lower level of "evolution" in which even the greatest efforts of pervasive spiritual consciousness hasn't been able to manifest consciousness at all. We don't know what that might be either.
(This post was last modified: 2022-06-10, 03:21 AM by nbtruthman. Edited 10 times in total.)
[-] The following 3 users Like nbtruthman's post:
  • Ninshub, tim, Sciborg_S_Patel
Interview with the author.

The reasons he asserts that we can claim epistemologically that Heidi the octopus was dreaming, start at around 6:30.



The video of Heidi dreaming:

(This post was last modified: 2022-07-29, 01:00 AM by Ninshub. Edited 1 time in total.)
[-] The following 2 users Like Ninshub's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel, laborde
The author argues:

Dreaming experience involves subjective scaffolding (creating worlds). Animals having dream experience means they have the kind of subjectivity that presupposes a first person perspective as the anchor of a phenomenal landscape or field.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Ninshub's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel
Scientific American just published an article about spiders potentially dreaming:

Spiders Seem to Have REM-like Sleep and May Even Dream

Jumping spiders have REM-like twitches when they sleep, suggesting dreams may be much more widespread in the animal kingdom than previously realized.


Betsy Mason, August 8, 2022

Quote:When Rößler recorded 34 sleeping spiderlings, she found that their twitches were accompanied by unmistakable eye-tube movements that did not happen during other phases of sleep. “It’s beautiful. I mean, it’s crazy. It immediately makes a sleep researcher think about rapid eye movement sleep,” says entomologist Barrett Klein, who researches bee sleep at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse and was not directly involved in Rößler’s work. “And to have the first indication that you could study such a thing or that it’s even relevant in arthropods is thrilling to me.”

But it is too soon to say for sure that the spiders are experiencing something akin to REM sleep in humans, Klein cautions. The researchers first need to confirm the spiders are actually asleep during this phase by showing that they are less responsive to their environment, he says.

(This post was last modified: 2022-08-11, 03:33 AM by Ninshub. Edited 2 times in total.)
[-] The following 1 user Likes Ninshub's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel
(2022-06-08, 07:26 PM)Silence Wrote: Evidence please?

I'm still stuck with Wittgenstein's perspective on this one.  I'm pretty confident my dog dreams.  I've seen her appearing to "run" based on the twitching of her paws and even to bark via small yalps she's made while sleeping.  Still, I have no idea if her consciousness is analogous to mine or something altogether different.

And again as we move from me to my dog and further on to less and less "complex" organisms, it seems less and less coherent to talk about consciousness at least how we think of our own.

However, without evidence (that satisfies you), do you

1) Proceed on the assumption that animals don't dream?

2) Proceed on the assumption that they do dream?

3) Actively keep both possibilities when the subject comes up?

4) Dismiss the whole discussion as irrelevant?

Animals are so similar to us that it seems perverse to assume they are not dreaming when they appear to do so.

Do we question if someone of a different race dreams?
[-] The following 2 users Like David001's post:
  • nbtruthman, Ninshub
(2022-08-11, 09:55 AM)David001 Wrote: However, without evidence (that satisfies you), do you

1)        Proceed on the assumption that animals don't dream?

2)        Proceed on the assumption that they do dream?

3)        Actively keep both possibilities when the subject comes up?

4)        Dismiss the whole discussion as irrelevant?

Animals are so similar to us that it seems perverse to assume they are not dreaming when they appear to do so.

Do we question if someone of a different race dreams?

I think we need to define "dream" to continue this discussion.

Is there some form of perception relevant to the species' degree of consciousness/intellect occurring (e.g., a dog dreaming about chasing a rabbit)?  Sure, I'll buy that.  Is it analogous to human dreaming?  Does it mean the species in question is having an inner experience analogous to a human's?  I don't see how those things would follow.
[-] The following 3 users Like Silence's post:
  • Valmar, nbtruthman, Ninshub
(2022-08-11, 01:41 PM)Silence Wrote: I think we need to define "dream" to continue this discussion.

Is there some form of perception relevant to the species' degree of consciousness/intellect occurring (e.g., a dog dreaming about chasing a rabbit)?  Sure, I'll buy that.  Is it analogous to human dreaming?  Does it mean the species in question is having an inner experience analogous to a human's?  I don't see how those things would follow.

Why didn't you choose one of my options?

I would bet that dogs and cats have some pretty complex dreams. Of course, theirs will include a vastly richer landscape of odours!

I think denying dreams to dogs and cats is akin to solipsism.
(This post was last modified: 2022-08-11, 04:12 PM by David001. Edited 1 time in total.)
[-] The following 2 users Like David001's post:
  • nbtruthman, Ninshub

  • View a Printable Version
Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)