Shades of Representation and Being in Virtual Reality

  • Thomas J. Csordas
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


One way to address the question of what it means to be human is to begin with the observation that we have a world and inhabit a world. The inquiry seems to unfold under its own weight from this point, with the next set of questions necessarily having to do with how worlds (for they are always multiple) are constituted, what it means to have them, and precisely how we inhabit them. In contemporary society biotechnology is increasingly implicated in transforming the very bodily conditions for having and inhabiting any world. This is doubly the case when biotechnology includes sophisticated computer applications, since computers and computer networks are recognized as having enormous transformative potential. Indeed, Sherry Turkle (1995) has suggested important modulations of the self are in the making, and the philosopher Michael Heim (1993) has suggested that the computer is leading to a major ontological shift—a modulation in the structure of human reality itself.


Virtual Reality Visible Human Human Form Compute Tomogra Bodily Surveil 
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© Thomas J. Csordas 2002

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  • Thomas J. Csordas

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