Re-evaluating Reality in the Age of VR: Toward an Embodied VR

  • Author / Creator
    Aghilidehkordi, Bamdad
  • Virtual reality in its digital and non-digital forms has been followed by a long history of criticisms concerning the reality of the impressions it generates and the justified beliefs we can form about such experiences. Faced with the recent breakthroughs of digital VR, a re-evaluation of past skeptical views (Nozick, 1974; Malcolm, 1963; Radford, 1966) alongside alternative approaches that allow for an accurate comparison between virtual experiences and their non-virtual counterparts is timelier than ever. An embodied approach to virtual experiences can qualify some of the over-generalizations made by skeptics of VR, while at the same time it poses new body-specificity challenges that future VR applications should address if they want to create accurate simulations for all users.
    Virtual realism (Heim, 1998; Chalmers, 2016) can explain the material foundation of the digital entities and provide an ontological grounding for virtual entities. At the same time, embodied cognition sheds light on the dynamics of virtual and non-virtual actions and explains how our knowledge about the world and the activities we conduct within it are tightly coupled with how we perceive the world through our bodies. As a result, an embodied definition of VR, which takes the social (Brey, 2003) and physical aspects (Ziemke, 2006) of embodied activities into account, can act as a crucial criterion in determining how similar a virtual experience is to its physical counterpart and whether it is justified for users to hold similar beliefs about the two. In particular, body-ownership, as an important consequence of embodied cognition, can shine light on the extent of the embodiment we can achieve given the technical limitations of today’s VR, while it also highlights some of the deficiencies that a one-fits-all approach to virtual embodiment will pose for every future VR application.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
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