Robert Tragesser RTragesser at
Thu Nov 19 22:35:56 EST 1998

        Steve Simpson has mentioned Rota's "As" (as discussed in Rota's 
INDISCRETE THOUGHTS) and Joe Shipman has expressed puzzlement.  I'll 
take a shot at explaining what's at issue and pointing to some 
connections maybe relevant to FOM.  I'll be brief;  there are many 
complexities and subtlties of course. . .  It is [3] below that contains
the important content.

[1] Yes,  the use of 'as' here surely has its roots in the Aristotelian 
'qua', as in:  "Paul Erdo"s qua mathematician",  "Paul Erdo"s qua 
nomad", 'Paul Erdo"s qua worrier about digestion problems".

[2] But the attention Rota pays to "as" and the jobs he makes it do,  
undoubtedly come from Heidegger.  In Heidegger,  the pattern IS AS IS AS
IS AS becomes a kind of trope for the cycle of analysis or other sort of
laying open. It's not worth explaining this.

[3] Rota main philosophical point is that most any thing you choose 
(including mathematical items and such) has a very messy identity 
indeed.  Nothing can be identitfied through a simple identification such
as X is B.  Rather we have 
X as A
X as B
X as C

More information about the FOM mailing list