Re: [xmca] LCA-- transparency

From: Wolff-Michael Roth (
Date: Sat Jul 02 2005 - 10:35:58 PDT

Hi Mike and others,
I used the word "transparent" in analogy to glasses that I wear and
that I do not notice. That is, in my practice, it is as if I was not
wearing these glasses, I am looking right through, they are
transparent. In the article where I develop this argument, I provide an
example of a water technician who points to a spike on the graph and
says, "This is a clogged pipe". Of course, what she is pointing to is
not a clogged pipe, but an index pointing to the clogged pipe. In her
practice, therefore, she looks right through the spike and sees the
world, as if it was a pair of glasses allowing her to see the world.

I compare this to the infamous painting "This is not a pipe" by Rene
Magritte, and the analysis Foucault provided of it in "This is not a
pipe". ([drawing of a pipe for smoking] captioned "Ceci n'est pas une

I also describe how the signs become transparent, after being the
object of inquiry initially, then become tools for analysis, and then
disappear, seemingly. I use triangle notations to show the movement of
the graphs (signs) in the process.

Roth, W.-M. (2003). Competent workplace mathematics: How signs become
transparent in use. International

Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning, 8(3), 161189.

By the way, I started out trying to make a case for Ricardo
Nemirovsky's concept of fusion, but didn't get anywhere . . .

On 2-Jul-05, at 10:27 AM, Mike Cole wrote:

> An extra long wait on the tarmac in New York heading home gave me
> plenty of time to read the interesting articles
> by Wells, Halliday, and Hasan in preparation for participating in the
> discussion. But first I have started to read sequentially
> through the messages and want to pick up on some earlier points.
> A comnment from wolf-michael in the signs and tools discussion
> touches on an issue of great interest to me. Transparency.
> Here is the statement that set me off.
> one more comment--if a tool such a cane or hammer is transparent in
> use, then it is similar to my tongue or my arm or my leg, it is part
> of
> me and the world begins on the other end.
> Question: what are the conditions that produce transparency? Is there
> a consensual answer to this question?
> mike
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