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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter first shows how the strong dualisms underlying prevailing understandings of the relationship between “virtual” and “real” in the 1990s have been largely replaced in this century by views emphasizing the inextricable interrelationships between these two experiential domains. It then reviews the philological history of these terms in order to avoid potential conceptual confusion in common uses of the terms. The chapter further offers a philosophical anthropology (rooted in phenomenology and foci on embodiment) and correlative ethical framework conjoining deontology and virtue ethics: these are shown to allow us to analyze and resolve important ethical issues in two case studies involving virtuality more successfully than with earlier frameworks. This philosophical anthropology and ethical framework thereby reiterate challenges to early dualisms that privileged the virtual, and reassert the priority of real-world practices and harms as the touchstone of ethical reflection.

Keywords: virtual, real, dualism, virtue ethics, phenomenology, deontology, utilitarianism, virtual child pornography, embodiment

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