Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: April 23, 2021, 8:43 a.m. Humanist 34.343 - events: virtual reality - illusory or hallucinatory?

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 343.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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        Date: 2021-04-23 06:18:59+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty <>
        Subject: Fwd: Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture - Professor Fiona Macpherson at York - Thursday 29th April

The Department of Philosophy at the University of York invites you to a
Royal Institute of Philosophy open public lecture (2020-21).

'Is Virtual Reality Experience Illusory or Hallucinatory Experience?'
Professor Fiona Macpherson, University of Glasgow

6-15pm-7.45pm, Thursday 29th April (on Zoom)

Register here:


Does virtual reality involve illusory or hallucinatory experience of things
that are not present, or does it involve veridical experience of virtual
objects? Philosophers have defended one or other of these options in recent
debate. I answer this question by outlining and extending a new theory of
illusion and hallucination developed in Macpherson and Batty (2016) and applying
it to virtual reality experience. In so doing, I pay attention to a feature of
virtual reality experience unduly neglected in the philosophical literature: how
it is actually produced. The result is a new account of the nature of virtual
reality experience that shows that it is far more complex than extant accounts
envision. Extant accounts have assumed a false dichotomy: that the experience is
either wholly illusory or hallucinatory or wholly veridical. I show that it
involves multiple veridical, illusory and hallucinatory elements related in a
multifaceted fashion. Developing this account of the experience in virtual
reality reveals important insights into the nature of indirect perception and
reveals new forms of illusion and hallucination that any successful theory of
perception and perceptual experience must be able to accommodate.

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