2009 年 2009 巻 60 号 p. 67-82_L5
Some say virtual reality is evil. It is easy to ridicule this remark as ignorant and naive: a virtual reality need not be regarded as fictional or spurious, but can be seen as an augmentation of the real world, which suffers from various limitations including our limited sensory abilities. In fact, from what source does this negative picture of virtual reality originate? In Plato's allegory of the cave, which is often quoted in the discussion of a virtual reality, the people who have lived chained in a cave are not supposed to return to the cave once released. How come they do not want to?
This paper examines Nozick's experience machine argument, shows that theories of virtual reality do not necessarily assume psychological hedonism, and argues that they do not fail (with computationalism) through Putnam's ‘brain in a vat’ argument. This conclusion suggests that the difference between a real world and a virtual world can in principle be relative. While a virtual world as something artificial is not, at least in principle, inferior to the real world in terms of its factual (or theoretical) aspect, there remains the possibility that the former may be inferior to the latter in its evaluative (or practical) aspect. But it can also be said that this contention is only the expression of a conservative mentality, provided that one accepts, along with Alfred Schutz, world pluralism and asserts the superiority of the real world, which superiority is based upon a mere custom of ours. Given this perspective, a virtual reality can have the same power to criticize the real world as great novels and movies, the prototypes of a virtual reality, once had.