How to Convince Sleeping Beauty She's Not Dreaming

In Richard B. Davis (ed.), Disney and Philosophy. Wiley. pp. 93–105 (2019-10-03)
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Nearly all Disney movies represent to people mere possibilities. One can conceive of scenarios with genies, wooden puppets coming to life, flying elephants, and mermaids. And there certainly seems to be no special problem in conceiving of a scenario where all the author's experiences are a mere dream induced by a Maleficent‐like evil genius. The problem in the present context is that the possibility of a dream‐inducing Maleficent‐like evil genius guarantees that how things appear would be no different, whether she is dreaming or not. But maybe there is a difference: does it not appear to her that there is a difference between dreaming and wakefulness? The very fact that she is aware of such a distinction at all suggests the distinction is real. People prefer a real life over an experientially identical dream life, or even a more pleasurable dream life, because there is more to life than just experience.



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C. A. McIntosh
Cornell University (PhD)

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