Sustainability Tonomia En

The reality of virtual reality

SOME years ago, a philosophy student in one of my classes — a seminarian — asked me for a suggestion on a worthwhile topic for a thesis. Since I had tired of reading junior theses that were regurgitations of half-digested concepts from philosophers barely understood (at that time, Charles Taylor was a favorite!) I suggested to him a topic that I thought he could write on, free of all dependence on a single philosopher, but challenging enough to engage whatever he may have understood from his metaphysics classes: the reality of virtual reality. It is something to which I have given some thought lately — given that so many, I included, spend plenty of time in virtual space. And that is yet another dimension of the issue: virtual reality inhabits its own space — virtual space, and while metaphors like 'cloud' are used, they suggest a universe parallel to that of our everyday lives.