The article considers the phenomenon of augmented reality as a special hybrid reality and a part of social space. The author compares the differences in approaches to the interpretation of reality in philosophy, social theory and natural science. The provisions of phenomenological sociology are used as a methodological basis for the study. The author substantiates the necessity of conjugation of ontological and epistemological perspectives of interpretation of the “multilayer” social reality. The lack of concentration of attention in most studies on distinguishing these angles leaves the category of social reality on the periphery of the construction of social ontologies. And this is not a paradox, but a desire to avoid difficulties in choosing a research position when solving a problem of a certain class each time that arises: either to build ontological models of each layer of the social, or to re-enter into polemics about the permissible limits of avoiding solipsism.
The article shows one of the possible ways out of the vicious circle of polemics about the demarcation of ontology and epistemology by presenting the concepts of ‘social reality’ and ‘social actuality’ as a means of separating research angles. Their application makes it possible to establish that the environment formed by augmented reality is much more complex than it seems to the individual in his direct perception. It includes four spaces: 1) the objective world; 2) the mental world; 3) a hybrid world as a symbiosis of real and imaginary worlds; 4) symbiosis of fragments of the real world - torn apart in space and time and combined with the help of technologies in devices, which make it possible for an individual to be present while observing their combined existence and to operate with them. The author comes to the conclusion that this feature of the organization of space with the help of augmented reality implies the specificity of the changed social space in which individuals have to interact. There is a transformation of the basic ‘cell’ of society - the system of social interaction. It has been established that augmented reality technologies provide additional, qualitatively new opportunities for influencing individual pictures of the world. Augmented reality also complicates virtual reality, introducing, in addition to fictional characteristics, the content of practical actions. Augmented reality not only ‘comprehends’ the world, but is in direct practical contact with it, turning into a special side of constant reality. It was found that the interaction of augmented reality with social reality is reversible. Thanks to this process, social reality from ‘augmented’ reality is transformed into a ‘complex’ one, the qualitative determination of which can be designated as ‘hybrid social reality’. Its mode of existence is more complex than that of the human community, and is inaccessible to them as long as they retain the biological substrate of their corporeity. But no less significant consequence for social and anthropogenic transformation is the emergence in society of its new structural unit - a techno-subject, as an actor of a new species and a new agent that forms a hybrid society. It has been established that the user of augmented reality transforms the provided visual effects in his imagination into really (beyond imagination) existing things and phenomena (ontologization). A reverse movement also takes place - from illusions fixed in the imagination as objects (created by augmented reality), back to pure illusions (reverse hypostatization). The distinction between the observed and the hidden through the introduction of the concepts of social reality and social actuality makes it possible to discover a more complex structure of the social - its multi-layered nature, supplementing the ontology of social reality and, in particular, P. Donati’s relational theory of society, with ideas about such layers as actual and potential, virtual and valid. The article considers the possibility of extending the idea of the heterarchical principle of the structure of society (developed in the works of I.V. Krasavin on the basis of the model of W. McCulloch) to the further development of the augmented reality ontology. The formation of space connections using AR technology is a continuation of the embodiment of the heterarchy principle, which brings the social structure beyond the structures of a constant society.