This chapter examines the status of the virtual in perception. As understood philosophically, the virtual (or “pure potentiality”) is strictly complementary to the actual, not in opposition or contradiction to it. The virtual is abstract by definition, which means that it cannot be reduced to the empirically present. But neither can it be separated from it. There is a reciprocity between the actual and the virtual that enters actively into the constitution of every act of experience. Although the virtual as such cannot appear in perception, as a factor in constitution of experience it cannot but make itself felt with each perception’s arising. The question then becomes, in what way does the abstractness of the virtual come with coming perception? How does it make its active implication in experience felt? What is a virtual image? Is there such a thing as virtual event? If so, in what sense can virtual events be said to have value? The chapter develops throughout a realist account of the virtual as “lived abstraction.”
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