Cogito and dream arguments are some of the interesting philosophical works of Descartes, who is well known for his challenging arguments in modern the philosophy. However, these two types of arguments are different from each other in terms of their description but they finally agree on various issues of human existence. Dream argument portrays much of a universal doubt of the reality of perceptions, while cogito argument portrays arguments concerning the existence of human beings. (William, 1995)

Whether One Exists While Dreaming

Dream argument is opened by doubting the nature of beliefs which are derived from human beings senses. However, Descartes does not bring forth the argument as a proof that things do not exist, or the impossibility of human beings to comprehend the existence of things, but he does this in order to show the vulnerability of knowledge of senses to doubt. Therefore, dream argument suggests that people should not put their full trust on senses in their processes of distinguishing what is real from what is not. Therefore, it would be appropriate to critically examine the reality of those things that depend on human senses.

Descartes argues that as one dreams, it is hard to realize whether he/she is dreaming or not. Therefore, he argues that it would be difficult for human beings to determine whether their lives are constant instances of dreaming or they normally exist in the reality of waking. However, there are enough instances where people have had experiences in dreams, which they thought were real only to wake up and find that they were dreaming. This has made dreaming to be an appropriate base for questioning whether the existing reality is some form of illusion or not.

Descartes argues that, senses are capable of bringing forth a whole range of truth but in some cases they deceive human beings like in the case of dreaming, which makes it unwise for human beings to have complete trust of senses. In Cogito argument, Descartes brings in the existence of human beings which he derives from the doubts of reality. From his statement, one should not say that he is nothing because he thinks that he actually is something. He also states that he exists, which is true when he says it or when he thinks about it.

This shows that, human beings truly exist since they own thoughts which are then criticized of their nature’s reality. (Husain, 2003) According to Samuel (1996), the integration of these two arguments would bring an answer to the question of whether one really exists while dreaming. This is because dreaming takes place in human beings senses, which are also some kinds of thoughts which occur in form of a dream. The dreamer who possesses the thoughts is therefore in existence since thoughts in dreams have to be conceived in certain subjects which are living human beings.

This is further explained by Descartes arguments that, human beings perceive things in a more similar manner like the one in which they sense things while dreaming. Descartes argued that, there has not been found definite signs that portray the distinction between experiences that occur when people are dreaming from those that take place when people are awake. Therefore, although dreaming experiences are deceptions from human beings senses of reality, they take place in human beings.

In cogito argument, Descartes argues that dreaming is one of the many states through which human beings think where in this case, one is normally in control of the sensing of their own thoughts which are further described as false thoughts. This shows that, there exists some deceiving source somewhere which follows that, there must be some other party that is being deceived who is the human being in existence. However, while senses of human beings are capable of deceiving about the reality of thoughts, they are not in a position to deceive human beings about facts concerning their existence as thinkers.

They are also not in a position to deceive human beings that have the ability to recognize objects which possess characteristics that they can comfortably identify. This argument is based on Descartes statement on cogito argument that “if someone thinks therefore that person is” (Samuel, 1996 p30) Since human beings can only be sure of the reality of their existence when they are thinking, it is appropriate to argue that one exists when dreaming since dreaming is part of thinking; only that it takes place when one is sleeping.


It is therefore evident that Descartes cogito argument as well as dream argument answers the question of whether someone who is dreaming could be in existence. Although one would be worried by the deceiving nature of human beings senses while dreaming, cogito argument saves the situation as it explains the different instances when human beings can be deceived by their senses and when they cannot. The integration of the two arguments clearly shows that, human beings cannot be deceived that they exist as thinkers. Since they engage in thinking while dreaming, it is inferred that one really exists while he/she is dreaming. (Gary, 2003)