In his first Meditation, Rene Descartes uses the process of
methodological skepticism in an attempt to clear away all beliefs where any doubt is
possible. In this effort, Descartes uses the
possibility of sensory illusions, insanity and dreams to argue that the knowledge we gain
from our senses is never beyond doubt. If
Descartes were alive today it is a good bet that he would add virtual reality to the list
of things that should cause us to doubt our senses. Listed
below are links to various sites that discuss virtual reality in its current state and its
future potential. Review these sites and
think about these questions.
- Do you think computer technology will advance to a state where you
could be fooled by virtual reality? How far
into the future do you think this time is? If
you dont think this sort of advanced virtual reality is possible, why not?
- What, if any, tests could someone use to determine if the
reality she was experiencing was real or virtual? Imagine Descartes asking, if there is no
such test, then how can we ever trust our senses? How
do we know that we arent hooked to a computer right now, experiencing virtual
- What, if any, limits do you think we should impose on the development
of such technology?
Virtual Reality Offers Potential, Raises Ethical Questions
Reality and Philosophy
VIRTUAL REALITY- AN EMPIRICAL-METAPHYSICAL TESTBED
Virtual Reality- A Short Introduction
Virtual Reality- History and Future
THE CYBORG'S DILEMNA- PROGRESSIVE EMBODIMENT IN VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS, BY
of Virtual Reality
On The Net Resources in Virtual Reality
Jaron Lanier's Writings- Various essays concerning the future of virtual
Interface Technology Laboratory
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..