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The word simulacra, or simulacrum in the singular, is often associated with the idea of the “fake.” To simulate means to feign or to pretend; simulation refers to the practice of simulating; and simulacrum refers to something that has the appearance of another thing but supposedly not its “essence.” The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard was the first to elevate “simulacra” to one of the central concepts of postmodern cultural analysis and contemporary urban studies. However, the simulacrum is a philosophical problem with a long history dating back to the ancient Greek philosophers. Plato (ca. 360 BC) argues—using the famous allegory of the cave—that the immediate sensory perception is an illusive reflection of the actual metaphysical reality. In the twentieth century, Gilles Deleuze explains that the ...

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