In looking up the word 'virtual' in the great "Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionary" (first published in 1901 in Edinburgh, Scotland by W. & R. Chambers, Ltd. - edited by William Geddie, M.A., B.Sc. with the Revised Edition with Supplement, appearing in 1959)
vis-a-vis revising my 400 page actual / virtual Harbin Hot Springs' ethnographic manuscript (with building a virtual Harbin) and thinking further about the concept of the virtual, vis-a-vis multimedia and digital technologies, and Neil Stephenson's book "Snowcrash" (1992) which led to "Second Life" and possibly "OpenSim" and other virtual worlds ...
I came across the entries of
in which I found some relevant definitions.
Under the entry
n. a love of the fine arts; taste for curiosities; objects of art or antiquity ...
and under the entry
virtue, ... [a few definitions in]
having virtue or efficacy: having the efficacy without the material part: in effect though not in fact; unreal but capable of being considered as real for some purposes. ...
[and a few definitions further along]
essential nature; potentiality
While I may or may not type out all of the meanings of virtu and virtue from "Chambers," under which I've found the above definitions,
I'll add below my current working definitions of 'virtual' from my book (please remember that in my book I'm coming into conversation with Tom Boellstorff's "Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human" - Princeton 2008) :
"Virtual Harbin in this book refers to 4 aspects of conceiving of the virtual (the virtual: defined in my manuscript, pp. 39, 76, 122-123, 377, … ), a) as something “that is so in essence or effect, although not formally or actually,” so something not physical, but also almost or nearly as described; b) “something not physical, but created by software to appear so” (Apple dictionary), both metaphorically, and especially vis-a-vis Harbin Hot Springs, as visionary, too; visionary here includes giving shape or form to what could be in a shared sense among human bodyminds in culture, and in Harbin's counterculture, vis-a-vis its pool area, can give this form in virtual expressions” c) primatologically, as symbolic or language, and across primate species that use symbols (e.g. Orangutans, chimpanzees, and gorillas, for example), and d) “One useful definition of “virtual” is “a philosophical term meaning 'not actually, but as if'” especially vis-a-vis digitally constructed and informed processes. (In the next volume of my Harbin book project (of possibly five volumes and one, digital, cyber, virtual Harbin), I plan to build a cyber, virtual Harbin Hot Springs, probably as Harbin Bubble Glasses, or emerging cyber glasses, and write about this in terms of a further, actual – virtual ethnographic comparison. Actual, by contrast, here refers to "existing in fact; typically as contrasted with what is … believed, and what is also existing now, … and what … is current" (Apple dictionary). While the virtual here also articulates with the concepts of digital, cyber-, and computer mediated communications, as well as the internet galaxy (per Castells’ book title), virtual is the focus of this book because of the conversation methodologically I engage in with Tom Boellstorff’s “Coming of Age in Second Life” (2008)."
Concerning the language of defining the word 'virtual,' see also, especially, my July 9, 2013 blog entry
"Loulu: Anthropology of virtual worlds, the Virtual and Techne for Boellstorff, Boellstorff video interview, Defining and thinking through the Virtual vis-a-vis information in my Harbin ethnographic book"
I found this definition a few hours later in the online "Chambers 21st Century Dictionary" -
1 being so in effect or in practice, but not in name • a virtual state of war. 2 nearly so; almost but not quite • the virtual collapse of the steel industry. 3 computing slang referring or relating to interaction, connection, use, etc via the Internet • pay by virtual money. 4 computing said of memory or storage: appearing to be internal but actually transfer-red a segment at a time as required from (and to) back-up storage into (and out of) the smaller internal memory.
17c in sense 1: from Latin virtualis, related to virtue.