Are the objects and events that take place in VirtualReality genuinely real? Those who answer this question in the affirmative are realists, and those who answer in the negative are irrealists. In this paper we argue against the realist position, as given by Chalmers, and present our own preferred irrealist account of the virtual. We start by disambiguating two potential versions of the realist position—weak and strong— and then go on to argue that neither is plausible. (...) We then introduce a Waltonian variety of ictionalism about the virtual, arguing that this sort of irrealist approach avoids the problems of the realist positions, fits with a unifying theory of representational works, and offers a better account of the phenomenology of engaging in virtual experiences. (shrink)
The rapid evolution of information, communication and entertainment technologies will transform the lives of citizens and ultimately transform society. This paper focuses on ethical issues associated with the likely convergence of virtual realities and social networks, hereafter VRSNs. We examine a scenario in which a significant segment of the world’s population has a presence in a VRSN. Given the pace of technological development and the popularity of these new forms of social interaction, this scenario is plausible. However, it brings (...) with it ethical problems. Two central ethical issues are addressed: those of privacy and those of autonomy. VRSNs pose threats to both privacy and autonomy. The threats to privacy can be broadly categorized as threats to informational privacy, threats to physical privacy, and threats to associational privacy. Each of these threats is further subdivided. The threats to autonomy can be broadly categorized as threats to freedom, to knowledge and to authenticity. Again, these three threats are divided into subcategories. Having categorized the main threats posed by VRSNs, a number of recommendations are provided so that policy-makers, developers, and users can make the best possible use of VRSNs. (shrink)
Are virtual objects real? I will claim that the question sets us up for the wrong type of conclusion: Chalmers argues that a virtual calculator is a real calculator when it is “organizationally invariant” with its non-virtual counterpart—when it performs calculation. However, virtualreality and games are defined by the fact that they always selectively implement their source material. Even the most detailed virtual car will still have an infinite range of details which are (...) missing. This means that even the most detailed virtual object will still have fictional aspects. Rather than argue that virtual objects are, or aren’t, real, it is preferable to think of overlaps and continuities between the fictional and the real, where even the most painstakingly detailed virtualreality implementation of a non-virtual object is still art: a human process of selection and interpretation. Virtualreality should therefore not be philosophically understood just as a technological implementation on a trajectory to perfection, but as a cultural artifact which derives its value in part from its simplification and difference from its source material. (shrink)
The economic explanation of individual behaviour, even behaviour outside the traditional province of the market, projects a distinctively economic image on the minds of the agents involved. It suggests that, in regard to motivation and rationality, they conform to the profile of homo economicus. But this suggestion, by many lights, flies in the face of common sense; it conflicts with our ordinary assumptions about how we each feel and think in most situations, certainly most non-market situations, and about how that (...) feeling and thought manifests itself in action. What, then, to conclude? That common sense is deeply in error on these matters? That, on the contrary, economics is in error—at least about non-market behaviour—and common sense sound? Or that some form of reconciliation is available between the two perspectives? This paper is an attempt to defend a conciliationist position. (shrink)
This article explores four major areas of moral concern regarding virtualreality technologies. First, VR poses potential mental health risks, including Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder. Second, VR technology raises serious concerns related to personal neglect of users’ own actual bodies and real physical environments. Third, VR technologies may be used to record personal data which could be deployed in ways that threaten personal privacy and present a danger related to manipulation of users’ beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. Finally, there are other (...) moral and social risks associated with the way VR blurs the distinction between the real and illusory. These concerns regarding VR naturally raise questions about public policy. The article makes several recommendations for legal regulations of VR that together address each of the above concerns. It is argued that these regulations would not seriously threaten personal liberty but rather would protect and enhance the autonomy of VR consumers. (shrink)
The term “virtualreality” was first coined by Antonin Artaud to describe a value-adding characteristic of certain types of theatrical performances. The expression has more recently come to refer to a broad range of incipient digital technologies that many current philosophers regard as a serious threat to human autonomy and well-being. Their concerns, which are formulated most succinctly in “brain in a vat”-type thought experiments and in Robert Nozick's famous “experience machine” argument, reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the (...) way that such technologies would probably have to work. They also considerably underestimate the positive contributions that virtualreality technologies could make to the growth of human knowledge. Here, we examine and critique Nozick's claim that no reasonable person would want to plug into his hypothetical experience machine in light of a broadly enactivist understanding of how future VR technologies might be expected to function. We then sketch out a tentative theory of the phenomenon of truth in fiction, in order to characterize some of the distinct epistemic opportunities that VR technologies promise to provide. (shrink)
Is virtualreality the latest grand narrative that humanity has produced? This book attempts to disentangle the common characteristics of human reality and posthuman virtualreality by examining discourses on psychoanalysis, gene-technology, globalization, and contemporary art.
In this paper, we argue that, under a speciﬁc set of circumstances, designing and employing certain kinds of virtualreality (VR) experiences can be unethical. After a general discussion of simulations and their ethical context, we begin our argu-ment by distinguishing between the experiences generated by diﬀerent media (text, ﬁlm, computer game simulation, and VR simulation), and argue that VR experiences oﬀer an unprecedented degree of what we call “perspectival ﬁdelity” that prior modes of simulation lack. Additionally, we (...) argue that when VR experiences couple this perspectival ﬁdelity with what we call “context realism,” VR experiences have the ability to produce “virtually real experiences.” We claim that virtually real experiences generate ethical issues for VR technologies that are unique to the medium. Because subjects of these experiences treat them as if they were real, a higher degree of ethical scrutiny should be applied to any VR scenario with the potential to generate virtually real experiences. To mitigate this unique moral hazard, we propose and defend what we call “The Equivalence Principle.” This principle states that “if it would be wrong to allow subjects to have a certain experience in reality, then it would be wrong to allow subjects to have that experience in a virtually real setting.” We argue that such a principle, although limited in scope, should be part of the risk analysis conducted by any Institutional Review Boards, psychologists, empirically oriented philosophers, or game designers who are using VR technology in their work. (shrink)
Realistic uses of VirtualReality technology closely integrate user training on virtual objects with VR-assisted user interactions with real objects. This paper shows how the Interactive Theory of Perception may be extended to cover such cases. Virtual objects are explained as concrete models that have an inner generation mechanism, and the ITP is used to explain how VR users can both perceive such local CMs, and perceptually represent remote real objects. Also, concepts of modeling and representation (...) are distinguished. The paper concludes with suggestions as to how the ITP methodology developed here could be extended to iconic external representations and models generally. (shrink)
Self-centred based explanations such as invisible-hand accounts look like armchair constructions with no relevance to the real world. Whether and how they nonetheless provide an insight into social reality is a puzzling matter. Philip Pettit’s idea of self-interest virtually bearing on choices offers the prospect of a solution. In order to assess the latter we first distinguish between three variants of invisible-hand explanations, namely: a normative, an historical and a theoretical one. We then show that, while the model of (...)virtual self-interest is a helpful gloss on each variant, it may not convincingly succeed, pace Pettit, in reconciling the economic mind with the common mind. (shrink)
It is commonly assumed that a virtual life would be less meaningful (perhaps even meaningless). As virtualreality technologies develop and become more integrated into our everyday lives, this poses a challenge for those that care about meaning in life. In this chapter, it is argued that the common assumption about meaninglessness and virtuality is mistaken. After clarifying the distinction between two different visions of virtualreality, four arguments are presented for thinking that meaning is (...) possible in virtualreality. Following this, four objections are discussed and rebutted. The chapter concludes that we can be cautiously optimistic about the possibility of meaning in virtual worlds. (shrink)
Recent improvements in virtualreality allow for the representation of authentic environments and multiple users in a shared complex virtual world in real time. These advances have fostered clinical applications including in psychiatry. However, although VR is already used in clinical settings to help people with mental disorders, the related ethical issues require greater attention. Based on a thematic literature search the authors identified five themes that raise ethical concerns related to the clinical use of VR: (...) class='Hi'>reality and its representation, autonomy, privacy, self-diagnosis and self-treatment, and expectation bias. Reality and its representation is a theme that lies at the heart of VR, but is also of specific significance in a clinical context when perceptions of reality are concerned, for example, during psychosis. Closely associated is the autonomy of VR users. Although autonomy is a much-considered topic in biomedical ethics, it has not been sufficiently discussed when it comes to applications of VR in psychiatry. In this review, the authors address the different themes and recommend the development of an ethical framework for the clinical use of VR. (shrink)
In “The Virtual and the Real,” David Chalmers argues that there is an epistemic and ontological parity between VR and ordinary reality. My argument here is that, whatever the plausibility of these claims, they provide no basis for supposing that there is a similar parity of value. Careful reflection upon certain aspects of the transition that individuals make from interacting with real-world, physical environments to interacting with VR provides a basis for thinking that, to the extent that there (...) are good reasons to deny the reality of virtual objects, there are also reasons to place a correspondingly higher value upon the experience of interacting with a VR environment. Chalmers’ assumption to the contrary arises from a subtle misrepresentation of how the phenomenon of cognitive penetration works in the perception of virtual objects, and from an unwillingness to acknowledge how our attitudes toward virtual environments are conditioned by the values we adopt when engaged in gameplay. (shrink)
Paisley Livingston on Stanislaw Lem and the history and philosophy of VirtualReality. The technologies and speculations associated with “virtualreality” and cognate terms have recently made it possible for scores of journalists and academics to develop variations on a favorite theme - the newness of the new, and more specifically, the newness of that new and wildly different world-historical epoch, era, or Zeitgeist into which we are supposedly entering with the creation of powerful new machines (...) of simulation. The innovative powers of the machines of virtualreality are so extensive, it would seem, that they are even supposed to be able to achieve the extraordinary feat of revitalizing that tired journalist genre, “gee-whiz” scientific reporting. “Gee whiz,” one can now read, “you just put on a data glove and don the head-mounted display helmet, and step right into a whole new world where the old reality - and even the tired, old-fashioned notion of reality as such - gets replaced by the non-existent reality simulated by the machine. You can fight battles and have sex with people who aren’t anywhere near you, or who never even existed. Why you can actually, I mean really, interact with an illusion!”. (shrink)
Hacking argues against van Fraassen's constructive empiricism by appeal to features of microscopic imaging. Hacking relies on both our practices involving imaging instruments and the structure of the images produced by these micropractices. Van Fraassen's reply is formally correct yet fundamentally unsatisfying. I aim to strengthen van Fraassen's reply, but must then extend constructive empiricism, specifically the central notion of "theoretical immersion." I argue that immersion is more analogous to entering a virtualreality than to learning a language. (...) This metaphor assimilates instrument-based practice as well as theoretical debate and explanation, and can provide an anti-realist view of our micro-practices consonant with constructive empiricism. (shrink)
At the focal point of contemporary biopolitical knowledge and power is human life in its contingent, evolutionary and emergent properties: the living as adaptive and affective beings, characterized in particular by their capacity to experience stress and fear that works together with vital survival mechanisms. This article addresses new techniques of psychiatric power and therapeutic epistemologies that have emerged in present-day military-scientific as well as media technological assemblages to define and capture the human in its psychobiological states of emergency. Specifically, (...) the focus of this article is on one special kind of screen medium, called Virtual Iraq, a virtualreality device designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans. The article analyses Virtual Iraq as an example of new forms and strategies for the management of affectivity and memory that have been developed in conjunction with contemporary neuroscientific discourses on the evolutionary origins of emotional life and its neurobiological functionality among humans qua species. Furthermore, it discusses Virtual Iraq as an example of the biopolitical work of contemporary screen media in which the reality of images starts to concern the organism’s internal functioning instead of being anthropological or communicative, tapping into the brain’s capacity of self-organization as well as contributing to the production and maintenance of psychological immunity. (shrink)
Apocalyptic AI, the hope that we might one day upload our minds into machines and live forever in cyberspace, has become commonplace. This view now affects robotics and AI funding, play in online games, and philosophical and theological conversations about morality and human dignity.
A virtualreality module that incorporates a training room (for subjects to become accommodated to virtual environments) and VR translations of Philippa Foot's Trolley Problem and Judith Thomson's Violinist thought experiment. -/- These modules are free to use for classroom or research/x-phi purposes. This set of modules is optimized for the HTC Vive. If you have an Oculus Rift, please see our VR modules optimized for the rift. -/- *Requires an HTC Vive and VR capable computer. To (...) access the simulation, uncompress the .zip folder and run the executable (.exe) file. (shrink)
A virtualreality translation of Philippa Foot's original "Trolley Problem." These modules are free to download and use in the classroom and for research/x-phi purposes. -/- *Requires an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and VR capable computer. To open the files, uncompress the downloaded .zip folder and run the executable (.exe) file.
A virtualreality translation of Judith Thomson's Violinist Analogy. These modules are free to download and use in the classroom and for research/x-phi purposes. -/- *Requires an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and VR capable computer. To open the files, uncompress the downloaded .zip folder and run the executable (.exe) file.
The aim of this study is the examination of the effect of virtualreality based imagery training programs on the shot performance and imagery skills of athletes and, and to conduct a comparison with Visual Motor Behavior Rehearsal and Video Modeling. In the research, mixed research method and sequential explanatory design were used. In the quantitative dimension of the study the semi-experimental model was used, and in the qualitative dimension the case study design was adopted. The research participants (...) were selected from athletes who were involved in our target sports: curling, bowling, and archery. All participants were randomly assigned to VMBR + VM, VRBI, and Control groups through the “Research Randomizer” program. The quantitative data of the study was: the weekly shot performance scores of the athletes and the data obtained from the “Movement Imagery Questionnaire-Revised.” The qualitative data was obtained from the data collected from the semi-structured interview guide, which was developed by researchers and field experts. According to the results obtained from the study, there were statistically significant differences between the groups in terms of shot performance and imagery skills. VRBI training athletes showed more improvement in the 4-week period than the athletes in the VMBR + VM group, in terms of both shot performance and imagery skills. In addition, the VRBI group adapted to the imagery training earlier than the VMBR + VM group. As a result, it was seen that they showed faster development in shot performances. From these findings, it can be said that VRBI program is more efficient in terms of shot performance and imagery skills than VMBR + VM, which is the most used imaging training model. (shrink)
Recent developments in virtualreality technology raise a question about the experience of presence and immersion in virtual environments. What is immersion and what are the conditions for inducing the experience of virtual presence? In this paper, we argue that crucial determinants of presence are perception of affordances and sense of embodiment. In the first section of this paper, we define key concepts and introduce important distinctions such as immersion and presence. In the second and third (...) sections, we respectively discuss presence, immersion and their determinants in detail. In the fourth and fifth sections, we argue for the importance of perception of affordances and sense of embodiment in increasing the degree of presence. Finally, we show the consequences of our view and discuss possible future implications. (shrink)
This is a virtualreality simulation that imagines its subject as emerging from a long stint in Robert Nozick's "Experience Machine." The simulation is an interview (with many branching paths) meant to gauge the subject's views on the metaphysics of virtual objects and the ethics of virtual actions. It draws heavily from the published work of David Chalmers, Mark Silcox, Jon Cogburn, Morgan Luck, and Nick Bostrom. *Requires an Oculus Rift (or Rift-S) or HTC Vive and (...) a VR capable computer. To open the files, uncompress the downloaded .zip folder and run the executable (.exe) file. **This module is made possible due to an APA Small Grant and a grant from Oculus Education. (shrink)
A virtualreality translation of Robert Nozick's "Experience Machine" thought experiment from his "Anarchy, State, and Utopia" (1974). These modules are free to download and use in the classroom and for research/x-phi purposes. NPCs are randomized for gender during startup of each run. *Requires an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and VR capable computer. To open the files, uncompress the downloaded .zip folder and run the executable (.exe) file. -/- V1.2 Fixed missing projector video footage during experience machine (...) sales pitch. (shrink)
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