Colloquium: Creativity, Depravity and Virtuality

Virtual worlds like Second Life and World of Warcraft have received much attention in the media and by philosophers, the refrain usually being that they are homes to all kinds of depravity and that we ought not replace the things traditionally held to be valuable in the actual world with inferior virtual surrogates. There are two closely related points I will make in this lecture. First, I will argue that many of the negative claims regarding the value of virtual entities and environments are based on a number of highly controversial assumptions, and that proper consideration of these issues yields a more nuanced and more constructive view on the impact of virtual worlds on the quality of our lives. Second, as a contrast to media’s focus on the kind of perversion and depravity that results from this creativity, I will highlight how many of the seemingly horrid phenomena in Second Life are expressions of creativity within the furniture and economy of Second Life, rather than expressions of evil.