'Spatial Illusions: From Mirrors to Virtual Reality'


Do virtual reality devices produce the illusion of an external reality? Or do they produce non-illusory experiences of a virtual reality? I address this question by starting with an analogous question about mirrors. When one looks in a mirror, does one undergo the illusion that there is someone on the other side of the mirror, or does one have a non-illusory experience of someone on this side of the mirror? I will argue that at least for familiar users of mirrors, there is no illusion. Knowledge of mirrors provides a sort of cognitive orientation (a variety of cognitive penetration) that affects the content of visual experience and renders it non-illusory. I will suggest that familiar users of virtual reality devices have a similar sort of cognitive orientation that renders their experience non-illusory.

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/Krister och Åsa