Monday, 15 September 2014

As Is When?

Why is 'As Is When' called 'As Is When'?

This is something that puzzled me for decades.  Recently, as I learned more about Wittgenstein and his ideas, I became confident that the title referred to an aspect of the Philosopher’s thinking regarding identity.  I thought I’d moved a step on to confirming this when I found the following in the Philosophical Investigations, Part II, ii:  The words ‘the rose is red’ are meaningless if the word ‘is’ has the meaning ‘is identical with’. – Does this mean: if you say this sentence and mean the ‘is’ as the sign of identity, the sense disintegrates? 

My search for further confirmation of this theory was suddenly interrupted in an appropriately Wittgensteinian manner, echoing the ‘throw away the ladder’ dictum.  One of the Editions Alecto team kindly phoned me after I’d made contact to clarify a couple of points about the original publication of the Suite.  He told me that Paolozzi had chosen the title, 'As and When': The EA man suggested 'As Is When' as being more intriguing/distinctive.
It’s tempting to think that Paolozzi’s original title, 'As and When' utilised that phrase as an idiomatic indication of a free-flow, unstructured, ad hoc situation – the context in which the later Wittgenstein would have contemplated matters; (rather than within a pre-defined process of logic).  However, I’m sure that EA’s suggestion provided just the right further enigmatic  layer to the Suite’s inherently arcane nature.

And finally . . .

Here is Paolozzi in the Shad Thames area with a companion who is surely not hugely unlike a certain Austrian philosopher:

When? 1956.
This is a still from a film called Together, made by Lorenze Mazzetti - for more details see Jez Winship's blog:

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