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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter investigates the relation between virtuality and reality, and in particular, the extent to which virtual objects, actions, and events can be claimed to have real-world existence. This investigation is part of philosophical ontology, which is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence, and reality. The chapter draws a distinction between physical and social reality, and argues that while most physical entities can only be simulated in virtual environments, social entities, like money, property, and insults, can under appropriate circumstances qualify as real beyond the computer simulation. It is investigated in which precise ways virtual entities can qualify as real or fail to be real, and how virtual entities may succeed in blurring the distinction between reality and fiction. The resulting analysis is argued to have serious implications for the role of virtuality in society.

Keywords: ontology, existence, physical reality, social reality

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