CHAPTER ONE FROM REPRESENTATION TO SIMULACRA
1.1 The Problem of Representation in the Philosophy
Traditional Western metaphysics tries to know and grasp the objective worldthrough ideas,aiming to obtain the true cognition of things through their appearances.From Plato’s Idealism,philosophy has developed a dual-structure cognitive model basedon representation structure.While ontology inquires into the nature of existence,epistemology emphasizes using one’s subjectivity to know the world from reason,whichis also a representation in effect.The linguistic turn of the 20th century triggers doubtsabout the authenticity and reliability of language as a tool for representing the world,leading to a crisis of representation.
1.1.1 Ancient Greek Ontological Philosophy
The pre-Socratic philosophers put forward a series of“arche”.Thales considers thatthe first principle of all things is water,which is a philosophical proposition that makesThales the first person in the history of ancient Greek philosophy and the development ofontology.Anaximenes takes air as the arche.Heraclitus regards fire as the essence of the world,and the objective law governing all things.The Pythagorean school regardsnumber as the origin of all things.Based on his predecessors’philosophical thoughts,Plato put forward the“theory of ideas”.He believes that ideas are not only the essence ofthe objective world,but also the prototype of everything,and those concrete things innature are the representation of ideas.In addition,it is also worth mentioning that what isidentical to ideas is the copy,and what is different from ideas is the false image,thesimulacrum(Zhang Jinsong 20).
1.2 Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra Theory
At the beginning of Simulacra and Simulation,Baudrillard quotes a fable mentionedby Borges in the short story“On the Accuracy of Science”.An imperial draughtsmandraws a map at a scale of 1:1,which covers the entire territory.The map is enlarged orreduced accordingly as the empire expands or cedes land.At this point,the map is nolonger a copy or abstract sign of the territory,but an equivalent and simulacrum of theterritory.In the end,the empire falls,but the map still survives.At that time,“theterritory no longer precedes the map,nor does it survive it.It is nevertheless the map thatprecedes the territory-precession of simulacra-that engenders the territory”(1).In thisway,the map acquires complete and nascent originality.This parable is a goodillustration of Baudrillard’s simulacra theory.
From an etymological point of view,the word simulacrum can be traced back to theancient Greek period,and its Greek etymology is“eidolon”,which has the doublemeaning of image and imitation.“The original Greek comes from two words:‘eidos’and‘eikon’.The former points to‘facing’and‘form’,while the latter indicates‘similarity’and‘likeness’”(Zhang Jinsong 19).“Eidos”and“eikon”both have the sense ofrepresenting something,demonstrating the lengthy history of the connection betweensimulacrum and representation.“Semulacre”,the Latin etymology of simulacrum,according to the Merriam-Wenster dictionary,appeared in English in the 1590s and wasused to describe artistic expressions such as sculptural works and paintings,“whichmeans:1.an image of a thing.2.a.a deceptive substitute;b.merely pretending”(ZhangJinsong 17).
CHAPTER TWO TECHNOLOGY AND SIMULACRA
2.1 The Simulacra of Bodies
The body is invaded by technology in Dick’s simulacra world and becomes aneditable and reproducible item.Being the simulacra of animal bodies,the electric animalsin the novel complete the simulation of human desires and needs,presenting humanswith the illusion of subjectivity with a false sense of contentment and security.Theadvancement of technology has blurred the line between androids and humans,and androids has become a possible danger to the annihilation of humans.The growingtende