The Influence of Virtual Space on Contemporary Identity: The Perspective of Philosophy

  • Lei Chen
  • Chengbing Wang
Keywords: virtual space, identity, philosophical perspective, who am I, self


The issue of identity has been a key philosophical topic among philosophers since the beginning of the 21th century. The Virtual space and the Internet have exerted an enormous influence on people’s life in the age of information. This article studies the influence of virtual space on identity in the Internet age from the philosophical perspective. The authors think that growth of the influence of computers and network technology on human beings has been a progressive and multi-staged process. Synthesising and analysing the achievements of related research both in China and abroad, it is clear that computers’ relationship with human beings has gone through three stages: the first in which the computer was like a tool, the second in which it was like a mirror, and the third in which it is like a gateway or maze, that is, the virtue reality and space. Focusing only on the relations between virtual space and identity ‘on the ground’, the article proposes that the following two guidelines may aid future inquiry. First, discussing and thinking about the issue of identity from the perspective of relations between virtual space and identity can deepen our understanding of the constituent elements of contemporary identity. Second, the discussion of identity in its relation to virtual space can spur more considerations of the ‘self’ qua critical concept.

Computers and Philosophy