Reality

Fake Utopias
by Ken Sanes
The culture of images and simulation offers us our own fantasies back again in the guise of something authentic. One of the most important fantasies it offers is of a perfect world in which we transcend the limits of society, the self and physical reality. It offers us an opportunity to experience this both in its avowed fictions and in fictions that masquerade as something authentic.

Simulation Confusion and the Construction of “Reality”
by Ken Sanes
Simulations are used to trick us with their realism, so we will believe they are what they appear to be. The first “excerpt” is the text of one of the essays. It describes how those in power use simulations to give us a false view of situations and life, and to induce emotions in us that are a response to the artifice of the fiction rather than to the actual people, places or situations we believe we are observing. In effect, they draw us into the ultimate virtual reality in which our perception of the world is falsified.

The End of Science Fiction: When Technological Extrapolation Hits A Wall Across the Future
by James John Bell
As our everyday lives become increasingly science fictional — as the stuff of fiction becomes the stuff of mundane reality, and the exceptional in everyday life (the Segway) strikes consumers as not science fictional enough — what are the dangers we face? Beyond technological apathy, James John Bell, in the following, arguing along the lines of award-winning SF author Vernor Vinge, posits a “singularity” of apocalyptic proportions. Whether this “singularity” is simply another fixation or a complex solution is for the reader to decide.

Merging Realities: Blending Physical and Virtual
by Brenda Cooper
Imagine a future where the world is as full of virtual tools as physical ones. Where you can design a village collaboratively using light and raw processing power, where characters pop out of books at your request and dance, and where you can hold a friends hand virtually anywhere in the world. No pun intended.

Virtual Reality/Cyberspace: Challenges to Communication Studies
by W. Lambert Gardiner
Whereas traditional media invite you into an alternative reality, hypermedia invites you into a virtual reality. This is the most dramatic development within hypermedia because it holds out the promise of finally providing an artificial medium which is a medium in the sense that water is a medium for fish and air is a medium for homo sapiens. Traditional media may engross you, but hypermedia engorges you. Virtual reality is such a good simulation of natural reality, that you can behave and experience within this artificial environment much as you would behave and experience in the natural environment which it represents.

Possessed by Virtual Reality
by Morten Soby
The growth of information and the development of digital media and virtual reality have brought about the fulfilment of the ideal belonging to the age of enlightenment. The information explosion and implosion cause a communicational stoppage – a profusion of pictures and signs. Speech, text, TV, film and digital media can no longer keep up with all the signs which run amok in the simulation stream. Virtual reality is not avant-garde, but rather a delayed and necessary updating of symbol exchange under the electronic mode of information. Finally, with this new medium one can have ambitions to impart the complexity and chaos of the present time. With virtual reality we can all play God.

The ethics of virtual reality: the digital and its predecessors
by Peter Horsfield
The creation of virtual reality environments has become one of the major celebrations, attractions and causes of concern in the development and application of digital technologies today. Because of their profound social, economic and humanistic implications, the development and applications of technological virtual realities are urgent and vital areas for ethical reflection and debate. Doing so, however, requires clarifying not just what is meant by ‘virtual reality’, but also locating digital virtual realities within the context of the place of virtual reality in human experience and historical instances of differently mediated virtual realities.

Dreams, Art and Virtual Worldmaking
By Bert O. States
This paper examines the possible role of dreams and other forms of virtual worldmaking (chiefly fictions) in forming and maintaining our adaptive systems. I posit no exclusive function for the dream. Rather, I treat it as an extension of fiction’s preoccupation with our daily concerns, desires and fears. I suggest that narratives help us to enlarge and revise our perceptual and response systems, not by offering us moral or ethical propositions to live by but by increasing certain skills in our mental organization.

The Erotic Ontology of Cyberspace
from The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality by Michael Heim
In an exploration the philosophical significance of cyberspace, we need to give an account of the way entities exist within cyberspace and the ontological status of cyberspace–the construct, the phenomenon–itself.

The Essence of VR
from The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality by Michael Heim
Exploring a few of the differences that make virtual reality different from traditional art forms. They belong to the essence of VR, its Holy Grail. This goal means that we need a different breed of artist as well.

Plato and Meinong
The Metaphysics Research Lab
Linking the ideas of the Greek philosopher Plato and the 19/20th century Austrian philosopher Alexius Meinong.

The Theory of Abstract Objects
The Metaphysics Research Lab
The equations at the top of this page are the two most important principles of the theory of abstract objects. The first principle expresses the existence conditions for abstract objects; the second expresses their identity conditions. In this document, we try to give you some idea of what these principles say.

Virtual Reality and the Dynamics of Transcendence
by Laurie McRobert
Using art as a vehicle that allows us a way to describe a metaphysics digitally through the use of images so that in fact the image sublates the concept.

Colonizing Virtual Reality
by Chris Chesher
New technologies do not appear from nowhere as a mystical spark of inspiration from the mind of one individual. Nor are they inevitably accepted for their self-evident benefits. “Virtual reality’ emerged through a process involving broader cultural, linguistic, institutional and technological contexts.

The New Metaphysics and the Deep Structure of Creativity and Cognition
presented to the Creativity and Cognition ’99 Conference
The differences in approach to ‘the new metaphysics’ are symbolised in this paper by the formulations of Laplace and Longchenpa, respectively representing Western reductionism and Eastern mysticism. It is shown that the future development of the computer will play an important role in the development of the new metaphysics, which may lead to a first-person science.

Physics, Metaphysics, and the Virtual Reality of Blackbirds
Science Writing Competition, 1999
Looking at the ‘new’ metaphysics, and examining how it is related to science and technology.

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