Education in Virtual Worlds, Identity and Expression, Second Life

Philosophers Fire Up Avatars

The latest group - or in this case, just one person, but most likely the beginnings of a group - to hit Second Life is philosophers. Professor Luciano Floridi, a philosophy prof at the University of Hertfordshire just north of London, UK, will lead a philosophical study that will be based in SL, according to Red Orbit.

The two-year research project will study how people present themselves in virtual environments. Although many worthy studies have already been done on this topic, the research - under the academy-friendly title of “The Construction of Personal Identities Online” - may be unique in that it will be organized under the academic umbrella of philosophy.

The research intends to look at what it means to be ethically responsible in virtual worlds, an increasingly relevant concern. It will look at identity construction and group understanding online, and how this relates to understandings both on- and offline.

Professor Floridi is the president of The International Association for Computing and Philosophy , is well-versed in computer ethics and critiques, and is a leading thinker in the field of information philosophy. He has authored a number of papers on this and other intriguing topics, including a forthcoming paper called “The Semantic Web vs. Web 2.0: a Philosophical Assessment” which should finally explain what the heck Web 2.0 is, anyways, philosophically.


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