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I'm gonna try to make this more like a disambiguation page, since that's exactly what it's doing. --Snarius 05:25, 30 June 2006 (UTC) --Snarius 05:37, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, when i search for virtual i am after the c++ keyword, not philosophy Noodle snacks (talk) 04:08, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

But as Snarius' link above shows, there are many uses of 'virtual', only a few of which relate to C++. However, all of these uses probably stem ultimately from the philosophical sense.
It might help if this page weren't so neglected: it looks like quite a few bits of vandalism have gone unnoticed. For instance, for some time there was a "see also" list (thanks to JHunterJ), but a certain vandal deleted it in favor of nonsense. That nonsense was later deleted, but there is no sign the harmful deletion was detected before now. (I guess I'll try to fix that while I'm here.) Ddawson (talk) 13:38, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Is this wank?[edit]

I am not a philospher, but I smell wank in this paragraph from the article.

Recently this conception of the virtual has been challenged and another core meaning has been elicited (Denis Berthier, "Meditations on the real and the virtual" - in French). It is based both upon science (virtual image), technology (virtual world), and etymology (derivation from virtue - Latin virtus). At the same ontological level as "possible," "real," or "potential," "virtual" is defined as that which is not real but displays the full qualities of the real - in a plainly actual - i.e. not potential - way. The prototypical case is a reflection in a mirror: it is already there, whether I am here to see it; it is not waiting for any kind of actualization. This definition allows one to understand that real effects can be issued from a virtual object, so that our perception of it and our whole relation to it are fully real. It explains that virtual reality can be used to cure phobies - which remains contradictory in any conception for which the virtual is a kind of potential.

If you agree, please delete it. ike9898 04:54, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

I do not agree with deletion. I would say that the last half of the paragraph is a bit garbled but the first half makes sense to me. The "virtual" is a concept that is informed by and in turn informs philosophical and technological disciplines and the etymological evidence indicates that it the concept has evolved and continues to evolve. Furthermore, whether or not it is "a wank" seems to imply that you are making your decision about what you imagine the authors motives to be rather than the veracity of his contribution.--Betamod (talk) 18:02, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

I would say that this article lacks citations. The only published source it cites is an online english dictionary. The article called "Meditations on the real and the virtual" returned no hits on google. I would assume the author added this article himself, since the article is only in French, so the title of the article would most likely also be in French, yet it is not given! Anyone can voice an opinion on the talk page. That does not mean it should be added to the article's entry. I propose deletion. Cameodemon (talk) 06:45, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Referring to any posting as "wank" is just impolite and I would suggest that sort of comment should be deleted. However I am a philosopher and can say how much in agreement with Professor Denis Berthier I am. He has published several books and Google confirms that he is recognized outside this article. -- Eddy (talk|contribs) 02:00, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Computer: virtual worlds[edit]

Computer based virtual worlds have nothing to do with web technology, you can have standalone disconnected virtual worlds which may be subjectively enhanced by connecting multiple people together in the same virtual world, whether that uses web technology or any other communications technology (most likely TCP/IP which is the protocol web technologies are build upon) is irrelevant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:19, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Splitting page[edit]

Do not split: 1. the article is not big enough; 2. the computer section, as it stands, cannot warrant a separate page since it is tiny and needs an enormous amount of work to be useful to the layperson. More useful would be a proper definition and thorough exploration of the word, epecially as used in computing: it has far wider contexts than those mentioned presently in the article. After that work is done, then the page might warrant splitting. Jubilee♫clipman 22:30, 21 December 2008 (UTC)


However, by definition, [referenced] virtual (in contrast to energy and matter) only exists in the minds of the discerners. Reference is: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.

I removed above because the reference does not actually say that. (The literary sense is obviously meant but that is rare and used in a specific context.) It also sounds opinionated.

I also removed the quasi- and pseudo- references from the colloquial usage, since it is not used as an alternative to those: My pseudo-boyfriend and my quasi-boyfriend are clearly quite different from virtually my boyfriend (or even my virtual boyfriend).

I also changed philosophically defined to defined in philosophy as these two obviously have different meanings...

I have added the first paragraph in Computing... to define the usage of virtual in computing. Since I am not an expert, this may need correcting - especially my definition of Virtual Machine.
Jubilee♫clipman 00:44, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Splitting this page makes good sense.[edit]

Virtual vs. virtualization[edit]

Virtual is not (unless the philosophical cosiderations of the term were expanded) a subject but a lead to the description of other subjects (eg. Virtual Time Travel). I came to Virtual to be forwarded to see what articles existed under any number of titles with a virtual element. I fully support this becoming a disambiguation page. -- Eddy (talk|contribs) 02:09, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

This page should be split up for sure. The material could easily go into related articles in computers and philosophy. It also needs to be integrated with virtualization. Perhaps a single disambig page for both would be best. Between this page and virtualization, we don't even have virtual reality or I'm sure dozens of other uses. UncleDouggie (talk) 23:18, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

I withdraw my suggestion to make a combined dab page for virtualization and virtual. Given the 100+ articles that start with "virtual", I think we must have separate dab pages for each. A cross-reference between them would seem to be helpful. UncleDouggie (talk) 00:30, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
against the split. it makes no sense. and dabing the article is daft. this is about the concept 'virtual' applied issues in virtual go elsewhere--Buridan (talk) 17:59, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
This is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary. No two people think of the same thing when the world "virtual" is used. It's a natural dab topic. It would be daft to delete virtualization and turn it into an article. Just because this page grew up here doesn't make it the right home for this text. It seems you are supporting moving the page to virtual (philosophy). However, there is a long argument below recommending that it be moved to virtual reality (philosophy), which is what I'm about to do and let the philosophers fight it out from there. They can always move it again. UncleDouggie (talk) 06:37, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree. We have at least three meanings of virtual in common usage ... philosphical, computer, and the as yet unmentioned physics virtual particle. This needs to be dabbed. The Yeti (talk) 16:34, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Dab vs. article[edit]

2 years later, the accompanying page is an illegitimate hybrid of an article with a Dab page. The discussion of virtual (proper WP title virtuality) vs. virtualization aside, i'm moving the prose to Virtuality as the article, and splitting out the Dab-ish list (tagged for Dab-CU, to encourage at least consideration of work on that) to Virtual (disambiguation).
--Jerzyt 21:30, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Move of philosophy section[edit]

It's long past time to turn virtual into a dab page given that there are over 100 articles that start with "virtual". Virtual has been tagged for such a change for over one year. The only objection to the reorganization has been that if the two sections currently in the article were made into separate articles, each would be "too short". To me, that's not a reason to keep the current confusing structure. I'd like to find the best home for the current philosophy section. The possibilities I see are:

  1. Virtual (philosophy) - New short article linked from the reworked virtual dab page
  2. Gilles Deleuze#Metaphysics - The main subject of the current text
  3. Metaphysics#Central questions of metaphysics
  4. Philosophy

UncleDouggie (talk) 23:42, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Here is my take, from the little I know about "virtual":

virtual article outline:


[based on M-W, OED or other dictionary, etc.]

Historical origin
Contemporary use

In computing, for example:

In philosophy, for example


The philosophy of Deleuze is about the virtual, but I know of no other philosopher who speaks of the virtual in isolation from "virtual reality", except those who study the works of Deleuze or Duns_Scotus - who coined the term "virtual" - and his followers (correct me if I'm wrong).

I would abstain from creating virtual (philosophy) as I don't see it's importance without the context of Deleuze. However, it is possible to create virtual_reality (philosophy). Virtual reality (VR) in contemporary philosophy is used as a metaphor in philosophy for consciousness (Revonsuo), or interpreted in its own right either as technology mediating experience with an ontology of its own (e.g. Philip_Zhai), as media (Philip Brey, computer ethics), or as narrative (Shaun Gallagher, philosophy of mind). The philosophy behind the movie The Matrix was inspired by philosopher Baudrillard and the movie has inspired arguments using virtual reality (David_Chalmers). In addition Michael Heim has written on the metaphysics of virtual reality.

virtual_reality (philosophy) article outline:

  • Philosophy of mind (Revonsuo, Gallagher, D. Chalmers)
  • Epistemology (Baudrillard)
  • Metaphysics (Heim)


I assume VR would be considered a low priority article within the scope of the philosophy project. As a concept it has emerged rather late in philosophy.

Ostracon (talk) 13:03, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Under your proposal, what would be the disposition of the text currently in Virtual#Philosophy? UncleDouggie (talk) 22:19, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

IMHO (Ostracon (talk)):
On different use and meaning of virtual...
Scholastic Philosophy (Historical Origin)
Duns Scotus
Postmodernist Philosophy
Deleuze on the virtual vs. actual cf. Deleuze#Metaphysics
Baudrillard on hyperreality as virtual reality
Virtual Reality in Contemporary Philosophy (alternatively on a separate page - virtual reality (philosophy))
Philosophy of virtual reality
... on the potential of virtual reality for thought experiments
Metaphysics and Ontological Status
Heim, Zhai....
See Baudrillard (above)
Virtual Reality as a thought experiment in the philosophy of mind
Revonsuo, Chalmers
Ostracon (talk) 11:25, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Move of Computing and information technology section[edit]

To turn Virtual into a dab page, we need to determine what to do with the text currently in the Computing and information technology section. The first paragraph could be easily worked into the new dab page. I propose that the remainder of the section be moved to Timeline of virtualization development. UncleDouggie (talk) 00:09, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Deletion of definition[edit]

To turn Virtual into a dab page, we need to determine the fate of the definition that forms the article introduction. I propose that it should be deleted outright in favor of retaining the link to wiktionary:virtual on the resulting dab page. UncleDouggie (talk) 00:14, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

just a cleanup[edit]

all this article really needs is a cleanup. maybe it needs a see also for virtual(computing) or something. but the article really should be about the concept of the virtual. it needs a fair amount of work yet. I'm sure it will eventually get such work--Buridan (talk) 18:01, 9 September 2009 (UTC)