In a classic episode of "Batman: the Animated Series" (called "Perchance to Dream"), Bruce Wayne discovers (spoiler alert) he is in a dream because he in unable to read a newspaper he picks up. At first there are some ordinary words in the headlines, but everything becomes a jumble of gibberish as he attempts to read more closely. He later explains his reasoning by claiming that reading is a function of the right side of the brain, while dreams come from the left. My first question is: is this just a clever plot device or does it hold any water neurologically? And second, if it were true, would it be an argument against I-could-be-dreaming-based skepticism? Finally, third, the dream Bruce is having is a pretty good one, involving lots of things he would like but can't have in the waking world. His murdered parents are alive again, he's going to marry a woman he loves, etc. Bruce says he can't accept it, however, because it "isn't real". If you grant that he could keep on living on the dream world, is their its being "real" a good reason for rejecting a world where our deeply held desires are fulfilled? What might be missing that's worth caring about? Thanks!

I'll try to answer the second of your three interesting questions. The proponent of the dream argument for skepticism (imagine rehearsing this argument to yourself) could say, "For all I know, this allegedly scientific claim about right and left hemispheres is merely more stuff from my dream; I can't tell that it's not. Even if it's a true claim, I can't know that it's true until I rule out the possibility that I'm merely dreaming it up." If so, then Bruce Wayne's reasoning wouldn't be an effective reply to the dream argument.

This isn't to say that it's clear sailing for the dream argument. My view, for which I argue here, is that the dream argument is self-defeating unless it's no different from (and hence no improvement on) the evil demon argument.

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