Evolution of the determination “virtual reality” in philosophy
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virtual, virtual reality, computer reality, history of philosophy, virtual image, virtuality, virtual image, virtual art, virtualism

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Shyman, K. (2020). Evolution of the determination “virtual reality” in philosophy. Multiversum. Philosophical Almanac, 2(1), 64-85. https://doi.org/10.35423/2078-8142.2020.2.1.04


The article considers the concept of “virtual reality” as a derivative of the term “virtual”. The author explores its historical formation in philosophy from ancient times to the present. There is a long way of forming the definition and different epochs defined it in their own way. Latin “vir”, where “virtuality” originates from, means “man”. The Romans formed from it the word “virtus” to describe valor, strength, charity, courage. The Latin virtus has a Greek analog – “areth”, which was used by Homer in the VIII century BC. Ancient philosophers explained the virtual as a sign of existence and there were two lines of interpretation: Plato and Aristotle. In Platonic doctrine, the problem of virtual reality is correlated with the categories of “ideal” and “real”, in Aristotelian – “possible” and “actual”. During the middle Ages, philosophers also used the concept of “virtuality”. And here are already combined elements of both Platonic and Aristotelian models of explaining virtual reality. The Renaissance philosopher Mykola Kuzansky in his work “On the Vision of God” uses the term “virtus” to solve the problem of forming complex things from simple ones due to their internal energy. In modern times the concept of virtuality is found in the works of G. Leibniz, I. Kant, G. Hege, etc. In late XIX – early XX century, the idea of virtuality continued to develop as the idea of having a special, intermediate state of something. To be noted, now variable interpretation of the idea of virtuality continues to manifest itself in various fields of science and technology. And the technologies and Internet gives a new aspects to the definition. Virtual environment does not replace the physical, but the nature, location and functions of the physical reality have already changed. The history of the development of the concepts of “virtual reality” and “virtuality” in philosophy is associated with the development of philosophical thought and culture of society. On each stage of its development there was a certain change of emphasis in the understanding of these concepts. For humanity, virtual reality creates both great challenges and great opportunities, leaving a constant strong connection and correlation between all dimensions of human existence. The researcher considered layers of interpretations of the term which still has a rather vague definition and, also, monitored the variability of definitions.

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