Philosophy & Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 329–343 | Cite as

The Story of my (Second) Life: Virtual Worlds and Narrative Identity

  • Marya SchechtmanEmail author
Special Issue


A small but significant number of residents of Second Life (SL) insist that SL is as real to them as Real Life (RL) and that their SL avatars are as much themselves as their offscreen selves. This paper investigates whether this claim can be literally true in any philosophically interesting way. Using a narrative account of personal identity I argue that there is a way of understanding these identity claims according to which the actions and experiences of the offscreen user and the online avatar are indeed actions and experiences of a single person. In the course of describing how this is so, the paper also uncovers new insights into how a narrative approach to personal identity should be structured and developed.


Personal identity Narrative Online identity Virtual worlds Second Life 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy M/C 267University of Illinois at Chicago, 1423 University HallChicagoUSA

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