Critical Perspective: The Cone of Cogency @Phil

P.S. - I need help putting title for the Dissertation and the Chapters in the appropriate posh way.


  1. Hey Krissy,

    Okay - in general terms, this looks okay to me, though your Chapter 2 looks a bit less resolved because it's not clear yet that you understand how this all fits together. It maybe useful, instead of the term 'escapism' to think about the idea of 'virtual realities' - so extending it beyond the definition that relates specifically to digital VRs and making the argument in Chapter 1 that mankind has always held a fascination for 'virtual realities' and has always wanted to visit them and inhabit them. This doesn't change your Chapter 1 in terms of what you'd be researching and writing about, but I think it would be more organising if your first chapter was about looking at the history of 'virtual realities' and the corresponding concerns about remaining in them for too long (as a way of becoming somehow 'lost' to reality or to ourselves). The dictionary definition for virtual is thus:

    "Not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so" - if by 'software' we decide we mean something used by a computer to originate something/do something and by 'computer' we mean 'the human brain' - you could easily define virtual as meaning 'Not physically existing as such but made by the human brain to appear to do so' - thus virtual realities now include dreams, literature, cinema, drugs, trances... everything.

    The really important job of Chapter 1 is to a) prove that there is nothing new about the activity of immersing oneself in an imaginary realm and b) that there is an accompanying uneasiness about the idea of humans 'losing themselves' by mistaking a virtual reality for reality itself. This sets up a particular premise or assumption that many of the theorists in your Chapter 2 are defined by - i.e. that there is a preferred or better 'natural state' for a human to exist within (i,e, unalienated) from which man can be separated - Baudrillard argues that we've lost touch with 'the real' - theories of Alienation suggest that there is something essential or 'more sane' from which particular activities make us separate. Erich Fromm refers to a 'sane society' - as if 'sane' is a condition of existence that a) even exists and b) can be agreed upon by everyone. It is important that you recognise this as you develop chapter 2, because it is important that you explore and interrogate these 'anxiety-based theories' about our estrangement from some 'better/healthier' condition - because, after all, when you're dealing with Chapter 3, you're going to be examining how WOW and games like WOW can be seen to be both positive and negative. It's for this reason that you need to be as questioning of the theories you explore on Chapter 2. Does that make sense?

    In terms of a proposed title - something like 'Virtual Realities and Alienation Anxiety - Are Immersive MMORPGs Bad For Us? (or something like that...)

  2. FYI!


    Many thanks :)