Egbert Schuurman (1937 - ) is a professor of Reformational philosophy at the Universities of Delft

Egbert Schuurman (1937 - ) is a professor of Reformational philosophy at the Universities of Delft

sábado, 17 de agosto de 2013

Virtual Reality: Multiple Modes of Meaning - Kamaran Fathulla

(35) Virtual Reality: Multiple Modes of Meaning

Kamaran Fathulla
Our interaction with the richness and complexity of the “real” world is intuitive and tacit or ‘proximal’ (Polanyi, 1967).  We know of the various types of things, what is real, and what is not. We gained this ability for many reasons least of all is through our evolutionary
development. However, the same cannot be said of a “virtual” world which we create.
This is primarily because of the presence of an interface, namely computer technology,
between us and the virtual world.

Though this interface is crucial and facilitates the creation of such worlds it nevertheless,
brings in added complexities which can make virtual worlds seem to be less real and
hence less intuitive than the actual real world. Virtual worlds have expressions of physical
objects but they may also have visual expressions of non-physical things, there are non-avatar objects which are crucial and important elements of these worlds, there are
auditory shapes flying around the screen, and so on. If computer technology is to create
virtual worlds that are very proximal to the richness and intuitiveness of the reality of the
real world then we must have a good account of what constitutes this reality. This is
undoubtedly a philosophical question.

Historically, reductionist schools of thought have had a major influence on our
understanding of reality. Such an approach seems to be at odds with our everyday
experience of reality which revolves around multiple and different modes of meaning.  A
typical object, such as plant, can have multiple meanings such as biotic, spatial, historical,
commercial, aesthetic, and many more.  Furthermore, none of these modes of meaning
are at odd or in conflict with each other. It therefore, implies that the things we interact
with in a virtual world might also have different modes of meaning and serve different
purposes at the same time. This is a unique challenge for developers and designers for
virtual worlds because of the limitations and restrictions imposed by existing reductionist
frameworks of understanding.

This paper introduces a new way of addressing this challenge through the proposal of
fifteen ways or modes of meaning developed by the Dutch philosopher Herman
Dooyeweerd. We will then explores its application particularly through its notions of
“Individuality Structures” followed by the notion of “Enkapsis”, to the question of modes
of meaning and how this benefits the development of virtual reality applications and
technologies.
References:
Dooyeweerd, H. (1955). A new critique of theoretical thought (Vols. I-IV). Jordan Station, Ontario, Canada:   Paideia Press. (Original work published 1953-1958)
Polanyi, M. (1967) The Tacit Dimension, London: Routledge & Keagan Paul.
Paper 2

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