This is the first book to present an aesthetics of virtual reality media. It situates virtual reality media in terms of the philosophy of the arts, comparing them to more familiar media such as painting, film and photography.
When philosophers have approached virtual reality, they have almost always done so through the lens of metaphysics, asking questions about the reality of virtual items and worlds, about the value of such things, and indeed, about how they may reshape our understanding of the "real" world. Grant Tavinor finds that approach to be fundamentally mistaken, and that to really account for virtual reality, we must focus on the medium and its uses, and not the hypothetical and speculative instances that are typically the focus of earlier works. He also argues that much of the cultural and metaphysical hype around virtual reality is undeserved. But this does not mean that virtual reality is illusory or uninteresting; on the contrary, it is significant for the altogether different reason that it overturns much of our understanding of how representational media can function and what we can use them to achieve.
The Aesthetics of Virtual Reality will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in aesthetics, philosophy of art, philosophy of technology, metaphysics, and game studies.
Table of Contents
1. The Virtual Turn
2. What Is a Virtual Reality Medium?
3. The Virtual Remediation of Spatial Experience
4. VR as a Picturing Medium
5. Seeing and Doing with VR Media
6. On Virtual Realism
7. Virtual Reality and Ontology
Grant Tavinor is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Lincoln University, New Zealand. He has published widely on the aesthetics of videogames, virtual worlds, digital media ethics, and the philosophy of technology.
"Tavinor’s earlier work on the aesthetics of video games kick-started philosophical research in that area; this book will do the same for the aesthetics of virtual reality." – Nathan Wildman, Tilburg University