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something that isn't Does "an automaton that isn't" in the following sentence mean "an automaton that isn't really an automaton" or "an automaton that doesn't exist any more"? Context: it is the story of an automaton that isn't, and she does a fantastic job of drawing readers in to the true story of a century-long illusion.
Dec 13, 2016 10:56 AM
Answers · 1
I would say that it means "an automaton that isn't really an automaton". :) It was a good catch to notice the other interpretation. I think it's probably not that, because using the copula "to be" to indicate that something exists (an existential clause) is relatively rare and archaic. Descartes' "I think therefore I am", meaning "I think therefore I exist", is an example of that, of course. But if Descartes were philosophizing today I think he'd almost certainly use the latter expression.
December 13, 2016
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