Believing the virtual: semio-philosophical fundaments and narrative consequences of experience in VR

  • Gianmarco Thierry Giuliana
Keywords: embodiment, VR, experience, semiotics, rhetoric


The topic at the center of this paper is the renowned believability of Virtual Reality, which is deemed as capable to both replicate and create experiences beyond representation. A characteristic which has historically represented a critical issue for disciplines such as semiotics, seemingly unable to efficiently apply its methodology to such experiential narrations in which feelings and sensorial immersion seems to dominate meaning-making. To overcome this issue, we examine the Peircean notion of belief and propose to correlate this concept with the form of embodied knowledge that we constantly use and produce to act in virtual contexts and that is enacted through interactions. Indeed, since beliefs are tightly bounded to a way to produce intuitively trusted inferences, this notion can both explain the psycho-phenomenological effects of VR and expose it as a new discursive form of rhetoric. Such proposal is then epistemologically justified from both the standpoint of semiotics and of the theories of embodiment. Finally, in the conclusions we expose how such notion could allow us not only to finally have a strong grip on VR narrations but also to rethink the very notions of experience and virtuality in a perspective that is of great interdisciplinary value.


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How to Cite
Giuliana, G. T. (2022) “Believing the virtual: semio-philosophical fundaments and narrative consequences of experience in VR”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio. doi: 10.4396/SFL2021A29.