Virtual reality headset
Is Virtual Reality Experience Veridical, Illusory or Hallucinatory Experience?
Does virtual reality involve having veridical experience of virtual objects or does it involve illusory or hallucinatory experience of things that are not present? 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 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 veridical on the one hand or wholly illusory or hallucinatory on the other. 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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