The Virtual as the Digital

David J. Chalmers 1
  • 1 New York University,


I reply to seven commentaries on “The Virtual and the Real”. In response to Claus Beisbart, Jesper Juul, Peter Ludlow, and Neil McDonnell and Nathan Wildman, I clarify and develop my view that virtual are digital objects, with special attention to the nature of digital objects and data structures. In response to Alyssa Ney and Eric Schwitzgebel, I clarify and defend my spatial functionalism, with special attention to the connections between space and consciousness. In response to Marc Silcox, I clarify and develop my view of the value of virtual worlds, with special attention to the case where we experience these worlds as virtual.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Beisbart, C. 2019. Virtual realism: really realism or only virtually so? A comment on D. J. Chalmers’s Petrus Hispanus Lectures. Disputatio 11(55): 297–331.

  • Chalmers, D. J. 1994. On implementing a computation. Minds and Machines 4(4): 391–402.

  • Chalmers, D. J. 1996. Does a rock implement every finite-state automaton? Synthese 108(3): 309–33.

  • Chalmers, D. J. 2012. The varieties of computation: A reply. Journal of Cognitive Science (3): 211–48.

  • Chalmers, D. J. 2017. The virtual and the real. Disputatio 9(46): 309–52.

  • Chalmers, D. J. 2019a. Three puzzles about spatial experience. In Blockheads! Essays on Ned Block’s Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness, ed. by A. Pautz and D. Stoljar. MIT Press.

  • Chalmers, D. J. 2019b. Idealism and the mind-body problem. In The Routledge Handbook of Panpsychism, ed. by William Seager. New York: Routledge.

  • Green, E. J.; and Rabin, G.O. 2019. Use your illusion: Spatial functionalism, vision science, and the case against global skepticism. Analytic Philosophy.

  • Juul, J. 2019. Virtual reality: fictional all the way down. Disputatio 11(55): 333–43.

  • Langton, R. 1998. Kantian Humility: Our Ignorance of Things in Themselves. Oxford University Press.

  • Lewis, D. 2009. Ramseyan humility. In Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism, ed. by D. Braddon-Mitchell and Robert Nola. MIT Press.

  • Ludlow, P. 2019. The social furniture of virtual worlds. Disputatio 11(55): 345–69.

  • McDonnell, N.; and Wildman, N. 2019. Virtual reality: digital or fictional? Disputatio 11(55): 371–97.

  • Ney, A. 2019. On phenomenal functionalism about the properties of virtual and non-virtual objects. Disputatio 11(55): 399–410.

  • Nozick, N. 1974. Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Basic Books.

  • Schaffer, J. 2015. What not to multiply without necessity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93: 644–64.

  • Schwitzgebel, E. 2019. Kant meets cyberpunk. Disputatio 11(55): 411–35.

  • Silcox, M. 2019. The transition into virtual reality. Disputatio 11(55): 437–51.


Journal + Issues