Expert Seminar: Image, Imagination, and Virtual Reality

University of Antwerp, Center for European Philosophy

Friday 3rd of May 2019

Stadscampus D 014 (route)

Conference Description

Virtual and augmented reality technologies are rapidly becoming part of our daily lives. While VR technologies let their users enter into and interact with virtual worlds, be it renderings of real, far off places or fictional ones, AR technologies brings virtual objects into the real world, allowing people to chase after Pokémon in real-life cities. But how to describe and explain our experiences of virtual objects and environments? Is our experience of the virtual a kind of image experience? And what is the role of imagination when we interact with virtual objects?

In this expert seminar, we take a look at whether philosophical theories about image consciousness and the imaginative appreciation of representational works can help us to understand the experience of the virtual. The focus will be on the experience of virtual realities as an experience of immersive visual representations.

After all, virtual realities are often implemented through images which enhance some sense of immersion and participation within an artificial environment. For that reason, immersive images, like those perceived within a driving simulator, appear as different from other more ordinary instances of images, like photographs, which do not invite to interact with their subjects. Such an intuition may be regarded as challenging our well established understanding of the notion itself of images, conceived as visual representations of objects appearing as not directly present before us.

In light of this, talks will address questions concerning the consequences virtual reality might have for our traditional understanding of images and perception, the ontological status of virtual objects, and the specific nature of immersion in virtual environments.


  • 09.45 - 10.00 --- Arrival & Coffee
  • 10.00 - 10.15 --- Welcome & Introduction by Arthur Cools
  • 10.15 - 11.15 --- Lambert Wiesing (keynote speaker): Immersion and Virtual Reality
  • 11.15 - 12.00 --- Geert Gooskens: Immersion. A Critical Retrospective View
  • 12.00 - 12.45 --- Marco Arienti: What are immersive images? 


  • 14.15 - 15.00 --- Nathan Wildman: The Puzzle of Virtual Theft
  • 15.00 - 15.45 --- Nele Van de Mosselaer: The Virtual as Interactive Fiction
  • 15.45 - 16.30 --- Zuzanna Rucinska: Enactivism, Embodiment and Virtual Reality
  • 16.30 - 17.30 --- VR session

Abstracts & bio's (pdf - 96 kb)


Attendance is free. If you want to attend, please send a message to and

Guest Lecture Lambert Wiesing

The evening before the expert seminar (May 2nd, 18.00-19.30, R.107) keynote speaker Lambert Wiesing will give a guest lecture on "Pictures as Design Objects" in the Research Seminar Aesthetics. All are welcome. Please confirm your attendance through an e-mail to