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The reality of virtual reality

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1 Author(s)

This paper proposes to clarify the popular term "virtual reality" through a historical and systematic analysis of the terms involved. Its main philosophical claims are that virtuality is itself a bonafide mode of reality, and that "virtual reality" must be understood as "things, agents and events that exist in cyberspace". These proposals resolve the incoherences found in the ordinary uses of these terms. In support of our claims we: 1) trace the historical origins of the word "virtual"; 2) review some major definitions of "virtual reality"; 3) discuss the sensory and causal aspects of virtual reality; and 4) set out the ontological difference between virtuality, possibility and actuality. In particular, our analysis shows that "virtual reality", though based on recent information technology, does not refer to mere technological equipment or purely mental entities, or to some fake environment as opposed to the real world, but that it is an ontological mode of existence which leads to an expansion of our ordinary world

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Virtual Systems and Multimedia, 2001. Proceedings. Seventh International Conference on

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