The Problems of Philosophy in Virtual Reality

Datum: 22 - 23 maj 2023
Tid: 09:30

Venue: The Institute for Futures Studies, Holländargatan 13, Stockholm

This event is open to the public.
Conference poster.

This conference will depart from and engage with the recent and critically acclaimed book Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy by Professor David Chalmers.

Chalmers' book Reality+ takes as its starting point the recent advances in AI and computer hardware which have made high-quality virtual reality sets available to a wider audience. Chalmers notes that the quality and realism of such systems are likely to improve over time to the point where there may eventually be simulated worlds that are wholly indistinguishable from non-virtual worlds from the subjective point of view of the inhabitants of those worlds.

You might think, if you really are living in a virtual world, there is no sunshine and no trees, and your beliefs about sunshine and trees must be false. Even worse, if you really are living in a virtual world, how do you know that the people you care about exist? And without the people you care about, what gives your life value?

David Chalmers has a reassuring response to offer!

We will bring together leading international scholars, both junior and senior to discuss the problems of philosophy and engage with Chalmers’ views. It will focus on the following four themes:

  • Can we know that we are not living in a computer simulations
  • Are virtual objects and virtual worlds real?
  • What is our thought and talk about if we are living in a simulated world?
  • Can one’s life have value in a virtual world?



David Chalmers is a Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science, co-director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness at New York University, Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University, and co-director of the PhilPapers Foundation. 

Gustaf Arrhenius is Professor of Practical Philosophy at Stockholm University, and the Director of the Institute for Futures Studies. 

Krister Bykvist is Professor of Practical Philosophy at Stockholm University, and a researcher at the Institute for Futures Studies.

Herman Cappelen is Chair Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong, the director of AI & Humanity Lab, and co-director of ConceptLab at both University of Oslo and University of Hong Kong. 

Anandi Hattiangadi is Professor of Philosophy at Stockholm University. 

Grace Helton is Assistant Professor in the Princeton Philosophy Department and holds the Laidlaw Preceptorship in the Humanities at Princeton.

James Ladyman is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bristol and has worked extensively on scientific realism, constructive empiricism and structural realism.

Rachel Sterken is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. Sterken’s research centers on philosophy of language.

Jessica Pepp is a researcher at the Department of Philosophy, and holds a Burman fellowship, at Uppsala University.

Anand Jayprakash Vaidya is Professor of Philosophy at San Jose State University, and occasional Director of the Center for Comparative Philosophy.

Nathan Wildman is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Tilburg University, and a member of Tilburg Center for Moral Philosophy,


The last version of the program (updated 2023-05-20) can be downloaded here.


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