Dream-wakefulness equivalence and consciousness studies

A: Newton showed that rest and uniform motion were equivalent, even the same. Einstein showed the same thing about acceleration and gravity.

B: How?

A: Because you could never do an experiment while in one state that would be different from the other.

B: The same is true of dreaming and being awake.


1.) Something like this might be behind why our science of mind is always a science of “consciousness”. This abstracts from its definition in relation to reality or truth.

2.) We could escape from the problem by saying that the dream/wakefulness question is resolved by discourses that do not depend essentially on experiments, but this would mean that it would not be entirely adequate to deal with the problem of consciousness by physical sciences.

2a.) The point is obviously not that an observer in some reference frame can’t tell the difference between waking and dreaming, but that he can’t and needn’t do so by experiments.

3.) Just as “consciousness” is mind as though truth or reality were not essential, it also does not capture what is uniquely human. Dreamers and animals are both conscious.


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