FOM: Rota AS IS
RTragesser at compuserve.com
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  below that contains
the important content.
 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".
 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.
 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
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