The etymology of the virtual concept

  • V. A. Sierikov Kharkov V. N. Karazin national university
Keywords: virtual, etymology, the history of the concept, virtus

Abstract

The concept of virtual is one of the most valuable words that are used in contemporary science. It arises in many different science paths like computer modeling, Cybernetics, Physics, Economics, Ergonomics, Medicine and Humanities. Of course, virtual is used in Sociology as the science about society. The virtual processes in the modern society are the main idea of the book of the Russian professor of sociology D. V.  Ivanov named «Virtualization of the society». Virtual as a concept is also a part of the study made by Manuel Castells, Jean Baudrillard, Arthur Kroker, etc. There are some contradictions in understanding of this concept. The article opens the foundation mechanism of the conception virtual from Antiquity till nowadays. The definition of the virtual takes place from ancient Latin morpheme «vir» that means «man». Later this word transformed into the concept of «virtus», which has a variety of meanings: masculinity, valor, talent, virtue, etc. There are a lot of antique notionalists that had used this concept in their works. As Russian Doctor of Philosophy Aleksej Juhvid claims in his dissertation «Computer virtual technologies as a new techno - social phenomenon (socially - philosophical analysis)»: the first of them was August Octavian. For example, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Publius Vergilius Maro and Augustine of Hippo are also used the concept of «virtus» in their works. There are some cites of this famous notionalists in the article, which helps to understand the context of the message.  The article supposes that Augustine of Hippo was the first who changed the meaning nature of the concept. Before that moment people was used to apply this word to the human and he was started to use this concept in the divine path. The same way of usage was chosen by the famous theologian of the Medieval (for example, Thomas Aquinas and Siger of Brabant).The article notes that in Medieval times the word «virtus» was founded only in theological texts. The crucial turn in the concept’s fate was done by the scientists of the Modern history. Galileo Galilei, Johann Bernoulli and Joseph-Louis Lagrange transferred the concept from theological domain into texts in the field of mechanics. Subsequently, the concept «virtus» transformed into word «virtuel» and a little bit later into its final version – «virtual». Virtual was in physicist’s usage in the beginning of the XX century. Cause of the fashion on this science in that time the concept of virtual became a common in various studies. The article tells the story of the concept and offers a modern domain of this concept in Russian.

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Published
2016-08-04
How to Cite
Sierikov, V. A. (2016). The etymology of the virtual concept. Scientific and Theoretical Almanac Grani, 19(9), 22-28. https://doi.org/10.15421/171674
Section
SOCIOLOGY