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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 29, Issue 1, 2001

Svend Erik Larsen
Pages 187-201

Nature between fact and fiction
A note on virtual reality

The paper places the trendy notion of virtuality and virtual reality in a conceptual and historical context that makes it useful in a semiotic perspective. Virtuality is connected with the classical notion of fictionality, in its meaning of both invention and deception. Historically an active, a passive, and a neutral version of the concept can be distinguished. The notion is reinterpreted as a variant of the semiotic processes of deixis. In relation to nature - scenarios, prognoses, hypotheses, etc. - virtuality is seen as a means of anchoring the human subject in nature instead of constructing a nonreal universe separated from it.

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