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3.3f. Gestalt Theory (Gestalt Theory on PhilPapers)

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Ayob, Gloria (2009). The aspect-perception passages: A critical investigation of Köhler's isomorphism principle. Philosophical Investigations 32 (3):264-280.   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper I argue that Wittgenstein's aim in the aspect-perception passages is to critically evaluate a specific hypothesis. The target hypothesis in these passages is the Gestalt psychologist Köhler's "isomorphism principle." According to this principle, there are neural correlates of conscious perceptual experience, and these neural correlates determine the content of our perceptual experiences. Wittgenstein's argument against the isomorphism principle comprises two steps. First, he diffuses the substantiveness of the principle by undermining an important assumption that underpins this principle, namely, that there is a unitary concept of seeing. Next, Wittgenstein argues that some forms of aspect-perception involve recognitional capacities, the exercise of which is normatively constrained. The normative nature of aspect-perceiving plays a pivotal role in Wittgenstein's rejection of the isomorphism principle. Aside from the clear exegetical benefits gained from identifying the target hypothesis in the aspect-perception passages as the isomorphism principle, construing the remarks in the way suggested here is also philosophically interesting in its own right: it shows Wittgenstein engaging directly in the mind–body problem, construed as the problem of intentionality
Dillon, M. C. (1971). Gestalt theory and Merleau-ponty's concept of intentionality. Man and World 4:436-459.   (Google)
Abstract: The intent of the article is to define merleau-ponty's place in the phenomenological tradition and, at the same time, to defend his standpoint, especially on those issues where his thought represents a departure from the tradition. although merleau-ponty espouses a form of the husserlian doctrine of the intentionality of consciousness, his understanding of intentionality differs in several fundamental respects from husserl's. the article attempts to show specifically where merleau-ponty's gestalt- theoretical orientation leads him to modify such basic aspects of husserl's concept of intentionality as the noesis-noema distinction and the claim for atemporality of meaning. a critical comparison is drawn between merleau- ponty's concept of intentionality and that of aron gurwitsch. in a more positive vein, the article provides an extended exegesis of merleau-ponty's position on this central concept in phenomenology, and it also tries to relate the exposition of intentionality to merleau-ponty's thesis of the primacy of perception. finally, an attempt is made to reveal the ontological ramifications implicit in merleau-ponty's revisions to the doctrine of intentionality. (edited)
Ehrenstein, Walter H.; Spillmann, Lothar & Sarris, Viktor (2003). Gestalt issues in modern neuroscience. Axiomathes 13 (3-4).   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: We present select examples of how visual phenomena can serve as tools to uncoverbrain mechanisms. Specifically, receptive field organization is proposed as a Gestalt-like neural mechanism of perceptual organization. Appropriate phenomena, such as brightness and orientation contrast, subjective contours, filling-in, and aperture-viewed motion, allow for a quantitative comparison between receptive fields and their psychophysical counterparts, perceptive fields. Phenomenology might thus be extended from the study of perceptual qualities to their transphenomenal substrates, including memory functions. In conclusion, classic issues of Gestalt psychology can now be related to modern
Epstein, William M. & Hatfield, Gary (1994). Gestalt psychology and the philosophy of mind. Philosophical Psychology 7 (2):163-181.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Abstract: The Gestalt psychologists adopted a set of positions on mind-body issues that seem like an odd mix. They sought to combine a version of naturalism and physiological reductionism with an insistence on the reality of the phenomenal and the attribution of meanings to objects as natural characteristics. After reviewing basic positions in contemporary philosophy of mind, we examine the Gestalt position, characterizing it m terms of phenomenal realism and programmatic reductionism. We then distinguish Gestalt philosophy of mind from instrumentalism and computational functionalism, and examine Gestalt attributions of meaning and value to perceived objects. Finally, we consider a metatheoretical moral from Gestalt theory, which commends the search for commensurate description of mental phenomena and their physiological counterparts
Gobar, Ash (1968). Philosophic Foundations Of Genetic Psychology And Gestalt Psychology. Martinus Nilboff.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Grossman, Reinhardt S. (1977). Structures versus sets: The philosophical background of gestalt psychology. Critica 9 (December):3-21.   (Google)
Gurwitsch, Aron (1964). Field Of Consciousness. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.   (Cited by 208 | Google)
Hamlyn, D. W. (1951). Psychological explanation and the gestalt hypothesis. Mind 60 (240):506-520.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Hamlyn, David W. (1957). The Psychology Of Perception: A Philosophical Examination Of Gestalt Theory And Derivative Theories Of Perception. The Humanities Press.   (Cited by 49 | Google | More links)
Hunt, Eugene H. & Bullis, Ronald K. (1991). Applying the principles of gestalt theory to teaching ethics. Journal of Business Ethics 10 (5).   (Google)
Abstract: Teaching ethics poses a dilemma for professors of business. First, they have little or no formal training in ethics. Second, they have established ethical values that they may not want to impose upon their students. What is needed is a well-recognized, yet non-sectarian model to facilitate the clarification of ethical questions. Gestalt theory offers such a framework. Four Gestalt principles facilitate ethical clarification and another four Gestalt principles anesthetize ethical clarification. This article examines each principle, illustrates that principle through current business examples, and offers exercises for developing each principle
Kanizsa, Gaetano (1994). Gestalt theory has been misinterpreted, but has had some real conceptual difficulties. Philosophical Psychology 7 (2):149-162.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Abstract: In the present article, the role of Gestalt concepts in clarifying the issues of perception is evaluated. Grounded in anti-atomism, Gestalt assumed organizing forces intrinsic to perception. Insofar these were identified with singularity preference, Gestalt is criticized for having failed to distinguish between perception and thought
Kantor, Jacob Robert (1925). The significance of the gestalt conception in psychology. Journal of Philosophy 22 (9):234-241.   (Google | More links)
Kockelmans, Joseph J. (1972). Gestalt psychology and phenomenology in Gurwitsch's conception of thematics. In Life-World And Consciousness. Evanston Il: Northwestern University Press.   (Google)
Koffka, Kurt (1922). Perception: An introduction to the gestalt theory. Psychological Bulletin 19:531-585.   (Cited by 27 | Google)
Lajos, Szekely (1959). The problem of experience in the gestalt psychology. Theoria 25:179-186.   (Google)
Leahey, Thomas H. (2003). Gestalt psychology. In Thomas Baldwin (ed.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Lehar, Steven (online). Computational implications of gestalt theory: The role of feedback in visual processing.   (Google)
Abstract: Neurophysiological investigations of the visual system by way of single-cell recordings have revealed a hierarchical architecture in which lower level areas, such as the primary visual cortex, contain cells that respond to simple features, while higher level areas contain cells that respond to higher order features apparently composed of combinations of lower level features. This architecture seems to suggest a feed-forward processing strategy in which visual information progresses from lower to higher visual areas. However there is other evidence, both neurophysiological and phenomenal, that suggests a more parallel processing strategy in biological vision, in which top-down feedback plays a significant role. In fact Gestalt theory suggests that visual perception involves a process of emergence, i.e. a dynamic relaxation of multiple constraints throughout the system simultaneously, so that the final percept represents a stable state, or energy minimum of the dynamic system as a whole. A Multi-Level Reciprocal Feedback (MLRF) model is proposed to resolve the apparently contradictory concepts, by proposing a hierarchical visual architecture whose different levels are connected by bi-directional feed-forward and feedback pathways, where the computational transformation performed by the feedback pathway between levels in the hiararchy is a kind of inverse of the transformation performed by the corresponding feed-forward processing stream. This alternative paradigm of perceptual computation accounts in general terms for a number of visual illusory effects, and offers a computational specification for the generative, or constructive aspect of perceptual processing revealed by Gestalt theory
Lehar, Steven (2003). Gestalt isomorphism and the primacy of subjective conscious experience: A gestalt bubble model. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (4):357-408.   (Cited by 26 | Google | More links)
Abstract: A serious crisis is identified in theories of neurocomputation, marked by a persistent disparity between the phenomenological or experiential account of visual perception and the neurophysiological level of description of the visual system. In particular, conventional concepts of neural processing offer no explanation for the holistic global aspects of perception identified by Gestalt theory. The problem is paradigmatic and can be traced to contemporary concepts of the functional role of the neural cell, known as the Neuron Doctrine. In the absence of an alternative neurophysiologically plausible model, I propose a perceptual modeling approach, to model the percept as experienced subjectively, rather than modeling the objective neurophysiological state of the visual system that supposedly subserves that experience. A Gestalt Bubble model is presented to demonstrate how the elusive Gestalt principles of emergence, reification, and invariance can be expressed in a quantitative model of the subjective experience of visual consciousness. That model in turn reveals a unique computational strategy underlying visual processing, which is unlike any algorithm devised by man, and certainly unlike the atomistic feed-forward model of neurocomputation offered by the Neuron Doctrine paradigm. The perceptual modeling approach reveals the primary function of perception as that of generating a fully spatial virtual-reality replica of the external world in an internal representation. The common objections to this picture-in-the-head concept of perceptual representation are shown to be ill founded. Key Words: brain-anchored; Cartesian theatre; consciousness; emergence; extrinsic constraints; filling-in; Gestalt; homunculus; indirect realism; intrinsic constraints; invariance; isomorphism; multistability; objective phenomenology; perceptual modeling; perspective; phenomenology; psychophysical parallelism; psychophysical postulate; qualia; reification; representationalism; structural coherence
Madden, Edward H. (1953). Science, philosophy, and gestalt theory. Philosophy of Science 20 (4):329-331.   (Google | More links)
Madden, Edward H. (1952). The philosophy of science in gestalt theory. Philosophy of Science 19 (3):228-238.   (Google | More links)
Parovel, Giulia (1999). Gestalt qualities and artistic experience. Axiomathes 10 (1-3).   (Google | More links)
Perkins, Moreland (1953). Intersubjectivity and gestalt psychology. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 13 (June):437-451.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Reiser, Oliver L. (1930). Gestalt psychology and the philosophy of nature. Philosophical Review 39 (6):556-572.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Rescher, Nicholas & Oppenheim, Paul (1955). Logical analysis of gestalt concepts. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 6 (August):89-106.   (Cited by 20 | Google | More links)
Rescher, Nicholas (1953). Mr Madden on gestalt theory. Philosophy of Science 20 (October):327-328.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Rosen, Steven M. (1999). Evolution of Attentional Processes in the Human Organism. Group Analysis 32 (2):243-253.   (Google)
Abstract: This article explores the evolution of human attention, focusing particularly on the phylogenetic and ontogenetic implications of the work of the American social psychiatrist Trigant Burrow. Attentional development is linked to the emergence of visual perspective, and this, in turn, is related to Burrow's notion of `ditention' (divided or partitive attention). Burrow's distinction between `ditention' and `cotention' (total organismic awareness) is examined, and, expanding on this, a threefold pattern of perceptual change is identified: prototention-->ditention-->cotention. Next, ditentive visual perspective is related to binocular convergence, and the author makes use of the perspectivally ambiguous, `non-convergent' Gestalt figure known as the Necker Cube to illustrate cotention. The paper concludes by proposing that the shift from the currently pervasive ditentive pattern of awareness to a cotentive mode could have a salutary effect on human society.
Smith, Frederick V. (1941). An interpretation of the theory of gestalt. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 19 (December):193-215.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In seeking an interpretation of the theory of Gestalt, the analysis revealed that the concept of Gestalt applies to processes and particularly to the way in which events or processes take place. The essential condition for the emergence of Gestalten or configurational properties was found to be—the ability of the parts or factors in the process to influence each other. In considering first, the more dynamic or formative phase of processes, the significant factors which influence the reciprocity of influence between the parts or factors of the process were found to be (i) the properties of the individual parts or factors, (ii) the properties of the intervening medium, (iii) the 'distance' between the parts or factors, (vi) 'factors of rigidity or constraint'. It was emphasised that these factors operate relatively to one another. The concept of 'wholeness' was found to apply to both the dynamic and the more static phase of the process. The resultant or equilibrium position of the process derives some contribution from the whole matrix of interacting factors or influences which are responsible for the resultant being precisely what it is. The recognition of the causal significance of even small contributions to an event or process is consistent with the concept of 'wholeness' and with the 'matrix' view of causal explanation. This view of causal explanation is the consistent implication of the theory of Gestalt and the many experimental results associated with this school
Stadler, Michael A. & Kruse, Peter (1994). Gestalt theory and synergetics: From psychophysical isomorphism to holistic emergentism. Philosophical Psychology 7 (2):211-226.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Abstract: Gestalt theory is discussed as one main precursor of synergetics, one of the most elaborated theories of self-organization. It is a precursor for two reasons: the Gestalt theoretical view of cognitive order-formation comes dose to the central ideas of self-organization. Furthermore both approaches have stressed the significance of non-linear perceptual processes (such as multistability) for the solution of the mind-brain problem. The question of whether Gestalt theory preferred a dualistic or a monistic view of the mind-body relation is answered in that there was a preference for dualism in epistemological questions and for monism in the mind-brain relation. The latter was attained by the concept of psychophysical isomorphism. This concept, although widely misunderstood in many respects, was criticized on the basis of neurobiological findings. One main objection was the neglect of the importance of the elementary neurophysiological processes. A distinction between macroscopic and microscopic brain processes seemed to be required. This idea was taken up in synergetics which postulates a bottom-up and top-down interaction between these two levels. Macroscopic order emerges from elementary brain processes and, at the same time, has a backward slaving effect to the microscopic level In the light of such holistic emergentism, the question whether macroscopic order states might be attractors for psychological meanings is discussed
Sundqvist, Fredrik (2003). Perceptual Dynamics: Theoretical Foundations and Philosophical Implications of Gestalt Psychology (Acta Philosophica Gothoburgensia 16). Göteborg: Acta Philosophica Gothoburgensia.   (Google)
Warner, D. H. J. (1964). Resemblance and gestalt psychology. Analysis 24 (June):196-200.   (Google)
Wertheimer, Max (1944). Gestalt theory. In Willis D. Ellis (ed.), Source Book of Gestalt Psychology. Harcourt, Brace and Co.   (Cited by 77 | Google)
Woody, William D. (1999). William James and gestalt psychology. Journal of Mind and Behavior 20 (1):79-92.   (Google)
Wright, Edmond L. (1992). Gestalt-switching: Hanson, Aronson and Harre. Philosophy of Science 59 (3):480-86.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Zimmer, Alf C. & Korndle, Hermann (1994). A gestalt theoretic account for the coordination of perception and action in motor learning. Philosophical Psychology 7 (2):249-265.   (Google)
Abstract: A review of the scanty Gestaltist literature on motor behaviour indicates that a genuine Gestalt theoretic approach to motor behaviour can be characterized by three research questions: (1) What are the natural units of motor behaviour? (2) What characterizes the self-organization in motor behaviour? (3) What are the conditions for invariance in motor behaviour? Tentative answers to these questions can be found by analysing the parallels between Gestalt theory and Bernstein's theory of motor actions and by showing that Gestalt theory can be regarded as a specific approach to non-linear dynamics as exemplified by synergetics (Haken, 1991). The congruence between the Gestalt theoretic approach and synergetics becomes apparent in the analysis of how a complex motor task is learned [1]