Consciousness, Dreams, and Beliefs: The Nature of Personal Reality

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Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 quarters

Taught by


Be prepared to explore challenging and unfamiliar ideas! This program is for junior or senior level students, but the only prerequisites are to have learned how to work hard, read actively, identify authors’ evidence for main points, and be willing to work on both third-person texts and first-person introspective activities.

In this interdisciplinary program, we will focus on advanced topics in consciousness studies and the psychology of dreams. We’ll explore consciousness by examining dreams and personal belief systems using both scientific research and first-person experience. We’ll explore dynamics of the psyche by examining the following questions.  What is the psyche, what is consciousness, and what are their properties and dynamics? Are there different types of consciousness?  What is the relationship between unconscious and conscious mental processes? What is the relationship among the conscious, unconscious, and personal beliefs in constructing our sense of self and our experience individually and en masse? 

Fall quarter we’ll consider consciousness and dreams from a variety of viewpoints. In addition to the third-person approach of our texts and lectures, students will explore the topics by keeping structured journals of their first-person experiences and dreams. Winter quarter we’ll continue with a more in-depth analysis of these topics and the role of beliefs in perception and experience. There will be a substantial individual research component winter quarter culminating in a presentation to the class.

The work will be challenging intellectually and personally. Students will be expected to keep a detailed log of their work and expect to document working efficiently for a minimum of 48 hours each week, including class time. Students should be willing to study details of empirical research of conscious and unconscious processes as well as be willing to explore their personal beliefs in a variety of areas and in both personal and group activities.

Program Details

Fields of Study

consciousness studies philosophy philosophy of science psychology

Preparatory For

consciousness studies, psychology, social work, and government.



Fall Open Winter Signature

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered

Day and Evening

Advertised Schedule

First winter class meeting: Tuesday, January 10th at 11am (Com 323)

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning


$30 in winter for entrance fees and supplies.


2016-09-21Fall fee removed.
2016-03-15A visitor will join the teaching team; enrollment has been increased.