This is not an answer to Mike's questions, but some questions and
comments of my own.
Questions re the word concrete. This comes, it seems, from the
Latin concretus which means roughly grown together and, perhaps,
carries the sense of adhering to practice (this is against abstructus
which means roughly drawing apart or alienation). [I am not sure, by
the way, what the Greek notion of concrete might be as regards
something like practice.] So my questions: Do people mean something
like this when they speak in English of concrete or abstract (I am
never sure)? Do words that correspond to 'concrete' in Russian carry
roughly the same connotations. How about abstract?
Comments: I am not sure about the idea of transparent as that
seems to connote looking (feeling, etc. ) through something. My
reading of Heidegger, especially Being and Time, is that this is not
what he is indicating. One doesn't look through the hammer to the
nail, the hammer is part of the hammering as is the floor on which
one stands, the lighting in the room, or the shirt on one's back.
Hammering done competently is, in a sense, concrete. Something grown
together with all the other. If the hammer head falls off while
hammering, then there is a drawing apart. Abstraction, so to speak,
It isn't that the metaphor of transparent doesn't bring some
things into view (sorry, but I couldn't think of another way to say
it), but how about seeing around something or behind something,
through some opaque (or moderately opaque) something, etc (Hubert
Dreyfus and some others re Merleau-Ponty talk about this)?
>If the journal is online, I will read with interest and if it is
>not, might you provide a pdf,
>I was starting from the cane and hammer examples, for which the
>glasses metaphor does
>not work well, at least for me.
>When the blind man picks up the cane, it is not transparent and the
>mind, in Bateson's rendering of the
>discussion, stops at the fingers and palm of the hand. But with
>habitual use, the "mind" or the "mind's eye"
>moves to the end of the stick, to the sidewalk at its tip, and then
>even further outward when walking on a
>habitual path.... I can find an electronic version of the example if
>it is not familiar. I would need to go to
>the library to get Heiddeger.
>What is it that makes the stick, as it were, become transparent, or
>the handle of the hammer? Or, in the
>case of the spike, that it is "seen through" to its source?
>On 7/2/05, Wolff-Michael Roth <<mailto:email@example.com>firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>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), 161-189.
>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
>> 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?
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