Michael (8th July, 17:35):
What is reality? What is the virtuality of virtual reality? ``Virtual - related to virtue - can mean'' ``that is so in essence or effect, although formally or actually; admitting of being called by the name so far as the effect or result is concerned'' (OED). Virtuality is ``Essential nature or being; apart from external form or embodiment'' (OED). In questioning the virtuality of virtual reality, one is quickly thrown back into the heart of metaphysics. ``Is this what you wanted, To live in a house, That is haunted by the ghosts, Of [metaphysics]? (apologies to Leonhard Cohen). How does postmodernism leave these ghosts behind? Does it just try hard not to think about it?
Erin (8th July, 22:10):
The subject-object distinction disappears. Text becomes its own context. You are here with me in California, because I am responding to ``you,'' correct? Where, if this is not so, is the ``you'' that is the essential, real ``you'' located? These questions are obviously problematized by virtual reality, although I prefer the term ``telepresence'' for the sensory body-suits since this term conveys the entire extent of meaning when speaking about the projection of identity.
Michael (9th July, 17:49):
But if the subject-object distinction disappears, consciousness does so too.
Erin (9th July, 23:15):
How can you say that? No way. This is an enormous leap in logic.
Michael (10th July, 17:12):
It is an enormous leap in logic, but it is based more deeply on a leap into phenomenology. This is not the place to spell it out in detail, but there is only consciousness for a subject. The object is given to the subject and only because the object stands over against the subject can the subject take it as an object. The object is put into an image and this takes place in consciousness. But if there are no more objects and no more subjects, then there is no more consciousness. Incidentally, I question your assumption that the body is the site of feeling and emotion.
Erin (10th July, 23:20):
No more subject-object delineation. Fine. But your view denies the possibility of individual or social change. I do not adhere to that.
Michael (12th July, 11:56):
I do not kid myself that we are going to get this issue of subject/object, presencing, consciousness etc. straightened out in the course of this discussion.
Radhika (14th July, 11:05):
But who says anything should have a ``conclusion?'' We just end.