Ernst Mach Workshop X: David Chalmers on Virtual Reality
Abstract Originally a province of science fiction, virtual reality has recently become a technological possibility and increasingly a topic for philosophical reflection. While Bostrom (2003) and Chalmers himself (2003) initially focused the epistemological issues about virtual reality, Chalmers now offers a truly complete philosophy of virtual reality, i.e., of an immersive and interactive reality simulated on a computer. Every branch of philosophy as traditionally conceived must be applicable to virtual reality: epistemology, metaphysics and value theory. Although the book can thus easily serve as an innovative introduction to philosophy, Chalmers also manages to convey to the general reader a number of controversial philosophical theses that he previously defended in his more technical publications: on the irreducible nature of consciousness; on the extended mind; on structural realism; on a structuralist response to Cartesian skepticism, on the nature of computation, on the digital metaphysics of virtual reality and on the character of the manifest image.