A leading philosopher takes a mind-bending journey through virtual worlds, illuminating the nature of reality and our place within it.
Virtual reality is genuine reality; that’s the central thesis of Reality+. In a highly original work of “technophilosophy,” David J. Chalmers gives a compelling analysis of our technological future. He argues that virtual worlds are not second-class worlds, and that we can live a meaningful life in virtual reality. We may even be in a virtual world already.
Along the way, Chalmers conducts a grand tour of big ideas in philosophy and science. He uses virtual reality technology to offer a new perspective on long-established philosophical questions. How do we know that there’s an external world? Is there a god? What is the nature of reality? What’s the relation between mind and body? How can we lead a good life? All of these questions are illuminated or transformed by Chalmers’ mind-bending analysis.
Studded with illustrations that bring philosophical issues to life, Reality+ is a major statement that will shape discussion of philosophy, science, and technology for years to come.
About the Author
David Chalmers is University Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science and codirector of the Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness at New York University. He is the author of The Conscious Mind, The Character of Consciousness, and Constructing the World. He has given the John Locke Lectures and has been awarded the Jean Nicod Prize. He is known for formulating the “hard problem” of consciousness, which inspired Tom Stoppard’s play The Hard Problem, and for the idea of the “extended mind,” which says that the tools we use can become parts of our minds.
[R]ich, scintillating . . . [Chalmers] wrestles with how age-old philosophical conundrums can be reinterpreted in the age of Reality+.
— John Thornhill - Financial Times
Crafted with the general reader in mind, this is an object lesson in philosophical reasoning and a bold, often awe-inspiring discussion of its implications. Philosophy-minded readers weaned on The Matrix and ready for the metaverse will want to take a look.
— Publishers Weekly
A David Chalmers book is a competition. On the one hand the writing is so clear and engaging that you want to keep turning pages; on the other, the ideas are so surprising and profound that you are continually stopping to think about them. Reality+ is a treasure trove of provocative reflections on cosmology, consciousness, artificial intelligence, ethics, and more. Reading it will change the way you think about the universe.
— Sean Carroll, author of Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime
Fasten your seatbelt and put your helmet on, David Chalmers is going to take you on an amazing trip. Reality+ is wild, profound, and playful, placing famous arguments from the history of philosophy next to surprising observations about video games. Cleverly disguised as light reading, this book carries a large payload of new ideas about existence, knowledge, and what makes life worth living.
— Jennifer Nagel, University of Toronto
As humanity enters a brave new world of artificial superintelligence and computer-generated virtual realities, how can we humble hunter-gatherers, descended from cavemen, begin to grasp our astonishing technological future? The answer lies in this book. We must think about the ultimate nature of reality. In Reality+ David Chalmers provides the roadmap to your future.
— Susan Schneider, NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology, Exploration, and Scientific Innovation, and author of Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind
A stunning achievement. In effortless prose David Chalmers explores new ways to think about everything from consciousness to computation, deities to democracy. Reality+ shows time and again how familiar topics take on interesting new forms when viewed through the lens of virtual reality.
— Scott Sturgeon, author of The Rational Mind
What is real anyway? Exploring the deepest doubts about reality from Zhuangzi to Descartes, David J. Chalmers stirs our own doubts and leads us into the real worlds of future virtual reality. A gripping book.
— Susan Blackmore, author of The Meme Machine and Seeing Myself