Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject discusses the philosophical significance of Virtual Reality (VR) and other related technologies (like Augmented Reality and Video Games). These developing technologies raise many interesting ethical, social, metaphysical, and existential questions. This subject will introduce you to these issues and give you the conceptual tools to evaluate and analyse them, not only now but into the future as these technologies continue to change and evolve. Some of the questions we may look at include: Is a virtual life always less valuable than a real life? Is VR an empathy machine that can help us to better understand the inner lives of other people? Are the objects and events in VR real or fictional? What ethical constraints are there on our actions in virtual environments? In this subject you will also be encouraged to explore some of the virtual worlds we will be discussing (a cheap pair of cardboard VR googles and a smartphone will suffice), and to let those experiences influence your thoughts and philosophical arguments.

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorYuri Cath

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning ActivitiesOnline lectures/readings/audio/videos. Online discussion forums and assignments. Argument analysis and argument mapping lessons and exercises. Teacher and peer feedback on argument exercises. Resources supporting philosophical essay writing skills and connected in-class exercises on philosophical writing. Assignments and feedback from teachers.

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A

Learning resources

Smartphone and cardboard VR googles

Resource TypeWeb resource

Resource RequirementRecommended






Chapter/article titleN/A



Other descriptionN/A

Source locationN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningNo

Self sourced or Uni sourcedN/A

Entire subject or partial subjectN/A

Total hours/days requiredN/A

Location of WBL activity (region)N/A

WBL addtional requirementsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Resolve problems and complex debates by identifying the underlying issues, analysing their structure, and employing appropriate reasoning strategies and creative solutions (in the form of new objections, arguments, and ideas).
02. Articulate, analyse, and evaluate, standard form and text-based arguments, using appropriate methods of analysis and critical reasoning.
03. Examine how philosophical concepts and theories can interact in innovative ways with issues raised by Virtual Reality and other new and emerging technologies.
04. Analyse and write carefully constructed arguments in support of philosophical conclusions.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

On-Line, 2021, Semester 2, Online


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorYuri Cath

Class requirements

Unscheduled Online ClassWeek: 31 - 43
One 3.00 hours unscheduled online class per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via online.
Online lecture videos+blogging and online discussion board activities


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*

Online Blog Exercises (2500 word equiv.) These exercises will build the students knowledge and skills over the course of the semester culminating in their final Research Essay. There will be 10 exercises (in weeks 2-11) and the students grade will be calculated from their 6 best exercises.

N/AOtherIndividualNo60 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3, SILO4

Reflective Essay (2000 words) OR short Video presentation (equivalent of 2000 words) This task will require students to reflect on the knowledge and experiences they have gained during the semester. The essay/video option gives students choice in the format of their assessment.

N/AOtherIndividualNo40 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3, SILO4