The puzzle of virtual theft

Wildman, N. and McDonnell, N. (2020) The puzzle of virtual theft. Analysis, 80(3), pp. 493-499. (doi: 10.1093/analys/anaa005)

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Abstract

How can you steal something that doesn’t exist? This question confronts those of us who (i) take an irrealist view of virtual objects and (ii) agree with the Supreme Court of the Netherlands that robbery took place when two boys used non-virtual violence to coerce a third boy into relinquishing his virtual amulet and mask. Here we outline this Puzzle of Virtual Theft, along with the closely related Puzzle of Virtual Value. After demonstrating how these puzzles are deeply problematic for the irrealist, we go on to sketch a solution that not only circumscribes the puzzles but also offers a framework by which legal scholars can make sense within existing legal codes of the new phenomenon of virtual theft.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McDonnell, Dr Neil and Wildman, Nathan
Authors: Wildman, N., and McDonnell, N.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Analysis
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0003-2638
ISSN (Online):1467-8284
Published Online:01 May 2020
First Published:First published in Analysis 80(3):493-499
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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