#1181: VR Renaissance in Moral Psychology, Perspectival Thought Experiments in Philosophy, & Bounds of Empathy

Moral philosopher Erick J. Ramirez writes that we “we are now in the beginning stages of a methodological VR renaissance in moral psychology” in his book The Ethics of Virtual and Augmented Worlds: Building Worlds. He argues that our imagination is too limited for perspectival thought experiments like the trolley problem where we’re asked to put ourselves into a specific situation and make a prediction for what action we’d take. He’s been experimenting with VR at the intersection of experimental moral psychology and philosophy, and also exploring the potentials and limitations of empathy in VR, which he splits up the generic concept of empathy into terms like “empathic contagion” describing the mirroring response of empathy, “descriptive or normative mind-reading” regarding the theory of mind, as well as “in-their-shoes experiences, and “what-it’s-like” experiences.” We explore what he means by “virtually real” experiences and how he looks at the qualities of VR in terms of “perspectival fidelity, context-realism, and psychological features unique to each user.”

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Music: Fatality