Get Real: A Philosophical Adventure in Virtual Reality

Front Cover
Rowman & Littlefield, 1998 - Computers - 215 pages
Is virtual reality merely a video game that consumes and distracts the player immersed in its simulations? Or is it an immaterial world, rich in meaning, beckoning people to a better future world inside computers? In Get Real: A Philosophical Adventure in Virtual Reality, Philip Zhai tackles these questions with keen logical analysis and concludes by advocating a stance that transcends these two opposing view of virtual reality. Zhai argues that the combination of three technologies--digital simulation, sensory immersion, and functional teleoperation--in a well-coordinated manner amounts to a re-creation of the whole empirically perceived universe. His analysis of the nature and significance of this re-creation is eye-opening and completely original. This book will be invaluable to philosophers of science, philosophers of mind and anyone interested in technology's growing impact on our lives and minds. The thought experiments in the book are mind-stretching and enlightenling, and make abstract concepts interesting and tangible.
 

Contents

How to Go behind Physical Space
1
Get Wired to Go Weird
2
12 What If Now
4
13 CrossCommunication Situations
9
I Am Herel
15
15 The Community of InterpersonalTelepresence
23
16 The Principle of Reciprocity
31
The Causal and the Digital under the Virtual
37
The Square Root of 1 as the PsyFactor
114
The Meaning of Life and Virtual Reality
119
Brave New World?
122
53 Meaning and the Creator
126
54 Significant Difference versus Real Difference
128
55 Three Modes of Subjectivity and Intentionality
138
56 Meaning Ideality and Humanitude
147
The Way Home
151

21 The Four Sources of Virtual Reality Input
38
22 Manipulation of the Physical Process from Cyberspace
40
23 Cybersex and Reproduction
43
24 The Expansion beyond Necessity
47
25 Interaction among Participants
54
Alert
57
The Parallelism between the Virtual and the Actual
63
32 Communicative Rationality as the Final Rule
75
33 How Phenomenological Descriptions Are the Same Throughout
78
34 Fundamental Philosophical Questions Remain
84
All Are Optional Except the Mind
89
42 The Fallacy of Unity Projection
100
43 The Oneness of Consciousness Brain and Quantum Mechanics
110
VR and the Destiny of Humankind
155
62 The Question of Death
158
63 Transcendence of Personhood and Immortality
161
64 What Could Happen Soon
166
65 Virtual Reality and the Ontological ReCreation
170
Jaron Laniers Virtual Reality Debut Interview
175
Notes
197
Glossary
203
Bibliography
207
Index
209
About the Author
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Philip Zhai has degrees in both philosophy (Ph.D) and engineering (B.S.), and is a professor of philosophy at Muhlenberg College. He is the author of The Radical Choice and Moral Theory (Kluwer).

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