Phenomenology and the Challenge of Virtuality

  • Daniel O’ShielEmail author
Part of the Numanities - Arts and Humanities in Progress book series (NAHP, volume 11)


This piece explicates some chief modes of consciousness in phenomenology in order to show that a very significant challenge of virtuality surfaces both within, as well as outside of, the discipline. This issue is of no small importance today, where the difference between perception and imagination, real and irreal, as well as presence and absence, are all becoming increasingly vague because of new technologies and the intrinsic virtualities involved therein. In this context, the question is: Where does virtuality fit in such a picture? I will argue that phenomenology can start to account for such developments, although much more explicative work will be required in the future. With this in mind, sections two to four will articulate an initial phenomenology of perception, phantasy, and image-consciousness, as found chiefly in works by Husserl and Sartre. Then, section five will question the preceding phenomenological theory through some phenomenological (Heidegger) and non-phenomenological (Bergson and Deleuze) thinkers, who all seem to have a concept of virtuality at the heart of their work. Lastly, in the final two sections I will suggest a difference between real and irreal virtualities, and briefly mention some current virtual technologies in order to show that there is a constant and complex interplay between the real, irreal, and the virtual in many of our everyday experiences—an interplay that needs to be investigated much further if we are to make sense of how it is changing how we think and behave.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de FilosofíaUniversidad Diego PortalesSantiagoChile

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