An Episode in the History of Polish Art and Logic

StanisÅ‚aw Ignacy Witkiewicz (aka Witkacy) (1885 – 1939) was a Polish painter, playwright, novelist and philosopher. He did a variety of things which not too many of us would describe as the usual day in the office: he wrote a manual (well, sort of) on using drugs (aka Unwashed Souls) and actually used drugs while painting. Some of my favorite pieces are spread over this post (HT to http://artyzm.com, where you can find more of them)).


Interestingly, Witkacy interacted with some of the Polish logicians, including Leon Chwistek (known for his work on type theory) and Alfred Tarski. He even painted portraits of both of them. Chwistek:

Tarski's portrait seems to be in Tarski's home in Berkeley (correct me if I'm wrong). But Victor W. Marek has posted a picture of it (here, 11th picture from the top).

(Nota bene, the above is not a portrait of Tarski! You actually have to follow the link to see it! ;))
Now, to the point. Witkacy  read Tarski's 1933 and scribbled his comments on the margins (sorry, both things in Polish). The Warsaw University Library has recently made a copy available online. The comments are pretty cute, some of them quite funny, but my guess is Witkacy at some point got lost in the text. It's not quite clear whether he was on drugs while reading. My favorite page contains Witkacy's illustration of the concept of metalanguage (see here for a better version):


(Some other marginalia are also available, see the list here)

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