Notes for Jean Baudrillard Simulations

The Precession of Simulacra
See notes for this text in Simulacra and Simulation.

The Orders of Simulacra

Three orders of simulacra: counterfeit, production, simulation.

(83) Three orders of appearance, parallel to the mutations of the law of value, have followed one another since the Renaissance:
Counterfeit is the dominant scheme of the “classical” period, from the Renaissance to the industrial revolution;
Production is the dominant scheme of the industrial era;
Simulation is the reigning scheme of the current phase that is controlled by the code.

Structural law of value readily comprehended, epistemological transparent, in electronic computing machinery; thus it is not surprising that Turkle and others associate computer technology with postmodernism.

(83) The first order of simulacrum is based on the natural law of value, that of the second order on the commercial law of value, that of the third order on the structural law of value.

The Stucco Angel
(86) It is therefore in the simulacrum of a “nature” that the modern sign finds its value.

Universal substitutability of stucco for other visual objects like universal Turing machine among order of simulacra.

(87-88) The entire classical era belongs par excellence to the theater. . . . Stucco exorcizes the unlikely confusion of matter into a single new substance, a sort of general equivalent of all the others, and is prestigious theatrically because is itself a representative substance, a mirror of all the others.
(89-90) All of the above precedes the productivist rationality of capital, but everything testifies already – not in production, but in counterfeit to the same project of control and universal hegemony – to a social scheme where the internal coherence of a system is already at work.
The Automation of the Robot

The key to second order simulacra is implicating humans in the interface as interlocutors, not just embodied affordances and constraints of the natural and built environment.

(92-93) The automaton is the analogy of man and remains his interlocutor (they play chess together!). The machine is man's equivalent and annexes him to itself in the unity of its operational process. This is the difference between a simulacrum of the first order and one of the second.
(94) In this way the interrogation of the automaton remains an open one, which makes it out to be a kind of mechanical optimist, even if the counterfeit always connotes something diabolical.

Obviously thinking of real robots, not fantasized near-human-equivalents like those portrayed in science fiction; this could be a panel topic of PCA conference philosophy and popular culture if it has not already happened in years past.

(94) No such thing with the robot. The robot no longer interrogates appearance; its only truth is in its mechanical efficacy.
(96) We leave natural law and the play of its forms to enter the realm of the mercantile law of value and its calculations of force.

The Industrial Simulacrum