Is a boat still a boat when it's dry? Is a fisherman a fisherman when he is not fishing? What sense do objects make when they are no longer what they are supposed to be? The 6 x 12 cm analogue black and white picture shows a dry fishing cutter in the harbour of the French coastal town of Port Blanc in Brittany.
Paul-Michel Foucault, who died in Paris in 1984, writes down the obvious in his treatise of the same name on Renè Magritte's work
Ceci n'est pas une pipe: The image of the pipe is not a pipe. The image of the fishing cutter shown is not a fishing cutter. Foucault also says that Magritte was not only concerned with the distinction between image and object, he would have generally wanted to ask us to think about the essence and reality of things. This knowledge - it is not a pipe - has passed into our general being. Every child learns Magritte in school.
What is real? What exists and what does its existence mean? Existence comes from Latin existere and means: to emerge, to emerge. Classical philosophy puts the essence at the side of existence: in Plato it means
the archetype of things in the mind. Magritte himself said that
an object is not so attached to its name that one could not find another that fits it better.
Is that the essence or its appearance?
You can see on the photo that there is a rope on the ship's planks aboard the fishing cutter. But no sailor says rope, he says dew. The farmer ties his cow to a gate, he takes a rope for this, but says rope. Does the rope change its nature when it is brought from the meadow to a ship? Its appearance does not change it.
What is the fishing boat when it is not at sea and catches fish? It's dry, I can think of a saying for that: Like a fish on dry land. He can't breathe, he's not in his element. You use this expression, for example, when you can't cope with a situation. There it is, the fishing boat, dry. Is it a fishing boat right now? In essence?
I wonder if the fishing boat is a fishing boat if it's just dry?