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Get Real: Philosophical Adventure in Virtual Reality Hardcover – 29 May 1998


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The book is a philosophical joyride supported by solid scholarship ...The author combines analysis with insight into things that matter ... First-rate ... written with clarity, verve, and insight. -- Michael Hein, author of The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality Get Real has the potential to become a landmark in both philosophy and virtual reality. The clearly written text progresses systematically through one hard issue after another. Whether or not one agrees with all of the conclusions, this is a book to be studied and then restudied. Vr In The Schools ... fascinating. The various levels are particularly intriguing as one thinks about the various ways one could incorporate them in an experience, and the whole question of 'real.' -- David W. Ellis, president and director of Science Museum (Boston) ... thought provoking and original. Electronics Now Get Realis a philosophical tour de force, an astonishing and articulate work that is as challenging as it is engaging. Midwest Book Review Based on research and logical analysis, the author offers a reasoned investigation into the way new technology is changing the very notion of reality and makes an original, provocative defense of the concept of virtual reality. Baker and Taylor Forecast ...nearly every page is brimming with challenging philosophical ideas. ...Zhai has many creative and important insights. Philosophy in Review Lately, this reviewer has become skeptical about books that take a philosophical view of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Get Real is a refreshing change, from an author with credentials in both philosophy and engineering. In six very concise and well-written chapters he performs a philosophical exploration of the world of virtual reality... Zhai has developed a book that is sure to be well received in both the philosophical and computing communities. CHOICE Get Real takes a smart, lucid, joyful look at invented realities that just may be more real than any of us dares to believe. Get Real takes a smart, lucid, joyful look at invented realities that just may be more real than any of us dares to believe. Trix-Mix Magazine The book appeals to both the intellect and the imagination and is a worthwhile one. Independent Publisher

About the Author

Philip Zhai has degrees in both philosophy (Ph.D) and engineering (B.S.), and is a professor of philosophy at Muhlenberg College. He is the author of The Radical Choice and Moral Theory (Kluwer).

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Utter tosh. 16 Sep 1999
By Robin Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm sorry. Just don't waste your time.
I know giving just one example doesn't perhaps sound very convincing on it's own. But here it is: he thinkshe can debunk the whole idea of AI in a matter of a few lines, literally - when the brilliant Roger Penrose has spent two books trying to very carefully show what is wrong with the AI project and what still needs to be discovered in Physics. Zhai doesn't seem to realise that in his"argument", he has assumed the very thing he is trying to prove.
Moreover, he doesn't credibly single out what makes machines different from people, which Penrose is at pains to do, very carefully. Penrose leaves open the possibility that we might succeed at AI if we understand the amazing and mysterious laws at work in the human brain - if indeed there are laws operating at all - they would have to be quite unlike any other physical law we know of now, including the weirdest of quantum mechanical laws. Zhai slams the door shut completely, with no appreciation for the benefits and power of science.
Believe me, I'm not rejecting this book because I didn't understand it. On the contrary, what little I read was trifilingly easy to understand, but clearly full of holes. The author simply does not know how to string together a coherent argument.
The Most Convincing Argument 5 Jun 2001
By David Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have never thought possible that thought experiments can guide us through a philosophical adventure in such an exciting manner. Zhai's argument that most of cognitive scientists have committed a "Fallacy of Unity Projection" is right to the point and seems to me to have conclusively ruled out the possibility of Strong AI. I agree with the previous reviewer that the argument against Strong AI in Zhai's book is carefully crafted and has the first two chapters prepare the way for it. I would like to see more of the discussion of the implications of VR for the foundation of civilization, though.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I meant to rate it 5 star 27 Oct 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I wondered why my review was cut. I said chapters 1 and 2 prepare the starting point for the discussion of Strong AI in chapter 4, and that further invalidates Tosh's comments.
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