Showing posts from May, 2007

Second Philosophy

On May 23, the Maldives became the first country to open an embassy in Second Life (SL), the web-based, virtual world inhabited by more than 6.5 million avatars (computer-generated residents), beating Sweden by a week. A quick look at the daily press shows that the popularity of SL is increasing exponentially. But this is not the main reason why philosophers should pay attention to it. SL is nothing short of the largest and most realistic thought experiment ever attempted, a true mine for philosophical research. Of course, this is not exactly how Linden Lab sees it, but just a few examples can easily drive the point home. Ontologically, in SL the existential criterion seems to be some degree of “interactability” (x exists only if it can be interacted with) rather than a modal or temporal feature (x exists only if its essence is eternal and immutable) or an epistemic test (x exists only if it can be perceived). Your avatar might be there, but if it does not interact with its environme