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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 25
The Human Being. Its Nature and Function

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Displaying: 1-20 of 94 documents


1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Małgorzata Czarnocka Editorial
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gestalt as structure principles in science, art and language
2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Silvia Bonacchi, Stanisław Czerniak Introduction
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3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Silvia Bonacchi Some Preliminary Remarks about the Use of the Expression “Gestalt” in the Scientific Debate
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The first part of this article traces the most important phases of the semantic enrichment and “terminologisation” (in the sense of the transformation of a lexical item from a generic word into a scientific term) of the German expression “Gestalt.” The word “Gestalt” (English translations are: “form,” “shape,” “configuration,” “aspect”) was already documented in the Middle Ages (Old High German: gistalt) in the meaning of “appearance, way of appearing.” From the end of the 18th century, the word was beginning to enlarge its meaning; it started to be used in specific domains (literature, philosophy, psychology) to designate an organic whole. In the first decades of the 20th century, it became a specialized term—a terminus technicus in the philosophical and psychological thought—as Gestalt psychology and Gestalt theory emerged as a new scientific and philosophical orientation. Its exact conceptual definition was heatedly discussed in the philosophical and psychological debates that raged in the first two decades of the 20th century after publishing the famous paper by Christian von Ehrenfels “On Gestalt Qualities” (1890) and it was developed in various psychological schools (the Berlin School, the Graz School) and philosophical orientations (phenomenology, Neo-Kantianism). In the concluding part of the paper, the author traces new developments in the Gestalt approach after the Second World War.
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Hellmuth Metz-Göckel Gestalt Theory: History, Principle Assumptions and Research Fields
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The article reveals the general idea of Gestalt theory, its basic assumptions and their development over around 100 years, concentrating on the most important research findings. Features of the theory and findings of the first generation of Gestaltists are presented, including laws of perception, problem solving and motivation, social cognition. The developments in the last decades of the 20th century comprise contrariness as a perceptual feature and connections to modern system theory, especially to synergetics which offers new insights to existing findings. Also some new ideas explaining the joke structure and its consequences on amusement and laughter are presented. New devel-opments of the possibility of application of Gestalt theoretical principles to topics like language, culture and organizational development are shortly mentioned. Further research activities in these domains are expected. The author intends to show that Gestalt Theory is a wide, productive approach with vital developmental potential.
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Danilo Facca Some Remarks on Aristotle’s Concept of Form and Its Possible Interpretation in the Light of Contemporary Thought
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The reflection on form (eidos, morphe) is situated at the core of Aristotle’s philosophy. Not only it was the bone of contention with Plato and other academic philosophers, who maintained the separateness and immutability of forms, but mature Aristotle’s theory of form provided him with an adequate theoretical equipment for all fields of scientific inquiry, so the concept of form proved to be all-pervasive (transcendental). This issue is examined in the paper. The article also deals with some issues characteris-tic of the contemporary (postmodern) debate, such as the question of sense and intellec-tual cognition, the problem of identity, the mind-body problem. Finally, the parallel topic of matter is addressed by showing that Aristotle’s conception still proves incisive in contrasting several theories, lending itself—more or less implicitly—to the Neoplatonic conception.
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Fiorenza Toccafondi Phenomenology, Science and Experience
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Stating that experience is the testing ground for scientific theories is undoubtedly a sort of truism. In the case of the investigation of human perception, however, it is worth pinpointing and understanding exactly what kind of experience science must avail itself of. Cherishing and taking into account the lessons learned from Goethe’s Farbenlehre, Ewald Hering inaugurates a type of phenomenology which believed in the fertility of the connection between the phenomenological description and the empirical investigation. The direction indicated by Hering will be embraced by important authors of non-Husserlian phenomenology in the first three decades of the twentieth century: Carl Stumpf, Karl Bühler, the Gestaltpsychologie of Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka, to name a few. This paper intends to show the interest and topicality of this approach.
7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Riccardo Martinelli Wolfgang Köhler on Facts and Values
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This essay is about Wolfgang Köhler’s philosophical ideas expressed in his The Place of Value in a World of Facts of 1938. Köhler, who strongly supports a scientific worldview, considers the question if science is able to cope with human values, besides natural facts. Relying upon phenomenological analyses, and on his previous researches in the field of natural philosophy, Köhler introduces his doctrine of epistemological dualism. From a historical point of view, this theory shows some similarities with the philosophical ideas expressed by Köhler’s Berlin mentor, Carl Stumpf. It is argued that Köhler’s epistemological dualism actually supports ontological monism and aims at offering a unified view of natural facts and human values.
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Serena Cattaruzza Karl Bühler: The Principle of Gestalt
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Karl Bühler’s last essay dedicated to the principle of Gestalt was published 1960. By publishing it, Bühler closed in the final period of his life the circle he had opened in 1913 with his Gestaltwahrnehmungen. The said essay was essentially founded upon observations, experiments and rigorous measurements. Its introduction stresses the connections between researches in psychology of perception and the field of aesthetics. In particular, it positively comments on the following passage by Adolf Hildebrand, taken from his work Das Problem der Form in der bildenden Kunst (1908): “A play, a symphony, presents an architecture, an internal structure; it constitutes an organic whole of relations, like a painting, a statue, even though the different arts inhabit worlds of totally different forms.” The same quotation opens, almost fifty years later, Bühler’s work Das Gestaltprinzip im Leben des Menschen und der Tiere, enlarging the discussed fields and adding further reflections on language, philology, cybernetics, biology, and the life sciences.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Przemysław Parszutowicz The Influence of Gestalt Theory on Ernst Cassirer’s Phenomenology of Symbolic Forms
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In the opinion of many scholars the notion of symbolic pregnancy is one of the key concepts in Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms. Without a proper understanding of its conceptual frame Cassirer’s philosophy lacks a consistent foundation. The notion symbolic pregnancy offers the mechanism of distinction of symbolic forms. The newest investigations (also in unpublished or less known, neglected writings of the philosopher) has shown that the key-notion of symbolic pregnancy has its roots in Gestalt theory (Gestalt psychology). In this school Cassirer saw the most important example of the general tendency in scientific thought, according to which the primacy of the notion of function has to override the primacy of the notion of substance, the idea of integrated whole as well as the notion of primary elements.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Jagna Brudzi·ska Type as Experiential Structure from a Phenomenological Point of View
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The article focuses on Husserl’s phenomenological philosophy as an intentional-genetic theory of experience. I inquire into the elementary forms and principle of the organisation of subjective experiences and investigate the concepts of type in the context of pre-predicative constitution. I attempt to show how far type, conceived as a concrete and acquired coherence of homogenous experiences, determines the process of interest-awakening even before higher predicative procedures—such as discursive and reflexive thinking—take place. Following such a path, phenomenology comes closer to the philosophy of life, to the Gestalt theory, and to the psychoanalytic theory of understanding.
11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Stanisław Czerniak Gestalt Theory and Classical 20th-Century Philosophical Anthropology. Initial Analyses and Questions
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In his paper the author reconstructs the categorial relations between Gestalt psychology and theory and classical 20th-century philosophical anthropology (Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner). In the first part, entitled Inspirations, it is analysed how the views of a key 20th-century Gestalt theorist Wolfgang Köhler influenced Scheler, the author of The Human Place in the Cosmos. In part two, Parallels, the author investigates the categorial similarities between Plessner’s anthropology of laughter and contemporary comicality conceptions based on Gestalt psychology (Hellmuth Metz-Göckel).
12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Anna Michalska Gestalt and Science. Kuhn’s Model of Scientific Change in the Light of Gestalt Theory
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In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Thomas Kuhn propounded a controversial claim that the scientific change is a form of Gestalt switch. As I point out, he did it apparently without having a full understanding of what Gestalt theory was, and used the concept of Gestalt rather metaphorically, and not entirely consistently. Interestingly, however, Kuhn’s model of scientific change as sketched in The Copernican Revolution and advanced in his subsequent works, bears some obvious structural resemblance to Gestalt theory. In the paper, I confront Kuhn’s model with Gestalt theory, and attempt to show that the latter is able to clarify the basic assumption of the model. It unifies Kuhn’s views on scientific change, and provides a coherent conceptual frame in which scientific development can be analyzed. In particular, Gestalt theory helps to uncover the directionality of changes which Kuhn failed to acknowledge.
13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Tiziano Agostini, Alessandra Galmonte Fruitfulness of the Concept of Perceptual Belongingness
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The aim of this work is to present the historical evolution of the concept of percep-tual belongingness developed within the theoretical framework of the Gestalt theory. This concept has been used to explain the effects of the context on colour appearance. After introducing the concept as Kurt Koffka, Wilhelm Fuchs and Wilhelm Benary have defined it we will present the first scientific reactions to it. Successively, it is shown how the concept of perceptual belongingness is central for the assimilation theory proposed by Cesare Musatti. Furthermore, the position of Gaetano Kanizsa is discussed. Finally, we show the connection between the concept of belongingness and that of binding, developed within the feature integration theory proposed by Anne M. Treisman.
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Brigitte Biehl-Missal Finding Form: Gestalt Theory as a Development of Aesthetic Approaches to Organisation and Management
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Gestalt theory has a promising potential in the area of management studies and prac-tice when it continues its hidden heritage that relates to aesthetics and atmospheres in the workplace and organisational culture. With an aestheticization of the economy, organisational research has acknowledged the importance of aesthetic, sensually perceivable elements in the workplace. Gestalt theory, given its pedigree in early organisational research, lends itself to theory-building in this area and can also contribute practically through so-called arts-based interventions. Arts-based interventions bring people, products and processes from the world of arts into organisations, applying a range of formative methods (in the sense of gestaltende Methoden). Methods like sculpturing and painting in these interventions for example help organisational members in “finding a form” and giving a Gestalt to experiences and atmospheres in the workplace that relate to teamwork, leadership and organisational culture and that can then be addressed, challenged and developed. From a Gestalt theory perspective, organisations can be perceived as “gestalten,” and consequentially, it seems useful to encourage organisational members to “give form” to the ways in which they perceive organisational life. Sculpture as a tool in this context is briefly discussed with an example. This leads to a suggestion of a more diverse application of Gestalt theory in the field of management.
philosophy for a more human world
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Philip Ogo Ujomu Trends in Civilian and Militia Participation in Terrorism and Insecurity in Contemporary Nigeria: A Reflection on Options for Social Order
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This paper examines the prevailing problems of insecurity and terrorism in Nigeria that have triggered fear, chaos, conflicts, violence and instability. The increase of terrorist activities bordering on the state sponsored, home grown and transnational types of insurgency in Nigeria now pose serious threats to the viability and stability of the social order. A traditional pathway to addressing terrorism and insecurity is through the “hard” or paramilitary or military approaches. The military approach has not been too successful owing to deficiencies such as a motivation, a lack of focus, poor training and equipment, corruption and loss of public or citizens’ support among other shortfalls. As such an opening has been created for a broader approach that employs civilian security and militia formations to participate in the restoration of security and a social order free from terrorism. This paper tracks this social trend and examines the problems and prospects.
16. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Andrew Targowski Universalizing or Being Globalized
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The aim of this investigation is to find to what degree globalization and rising the global civilization is sustainable. The methodology is based on the transdisciplinary, big-picture view of civilization in the 21st century, within the context of its rise and decline. Among the findings are the following: the global civilization is not sustainable since it leads to super-consumerism (promoted by the global financial elite) and the depletion of strategic resources. Practical implications: Instead of forcing one global market, one global government (?) and one civilization it would be better to promote the development of a universal civilization as the second layer upon the existing civilizations (Western, Easter, Chinese, Japanese, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and African) with the common, accepted set of values, presented in this study. Social implications: The sustainable future of the civilization depends on the next generation taught in schools about those values which promote tolerance and the avidness of conflicts and wars. Originality: This investigation, by providing the transdisciplinary and civilizational approach at the big-picture level, has provided an answer to the question of what is and could be the role of universal values in the development of a sustainable and wise civilization.
17. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 4
Halina Walentowicz Global Capitalism and Its Theoreticians
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This essay confronts Karl Marx’s early globalisation premonitions with the reflec-tions of three observers of contemporary globalisation trends known to endorse the heritage of the father of historical materialism—Max Horkheimer, Zygmunt Bauman and Chris Harman. The author shows the deep chasm between Marx’s optimistic visions of a world order founded on the peaceful coexistence of an integrated humanity and their observations about the negative economic, social, political and psychological ef-fects of globalisation today. While Marx’s social emancipation idea merged freedom with equality, Horkheimer’s “administered world” sacrifices freedom for equality’s sake. For Bauman, on the other hand, the “disorder” generated by the globalising world precludes both. References to Chris Harman serve to remind that the essence of capitalism remains unchanged despite its evolution, because, today as in Marx’s day, capital is a vampire which feeds on the blood of wage labour. Like Marx, the British theoretician sees the potential for social emancipation in the working class, which is much more numerous today than ever before in the history of capitalism.
18. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 3
Małgorzata Czarnocka Editorial
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19. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 3
Witold Płotka Introduction
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new perspectives of classical phenomenology
20. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 3
George Heffernan Phenomenology of Evidence: Promises, Problems, and Prospects
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According to Ricoeur, phenomenology is “for a good part the history of Husserlian heresies.” In this paper, I argue that, at the crossroads between a possible “topography of heresies” and a potential “geography of horizons,” phenomenology of evidence takes “the road to renewal” in pursuit of knowledge of knowledge and truth about truth. In doing so, I suggest that phenomenology of evidence is not “heresy” against “orthodox” or “analytical” theory of knowledge. Rather, in so far as it is required by a phenome-nological description of knowledge, phenomenology of evidence represents critical heterodoxy in the face of dogmatic orthodoxy. As such, it serves as a first step on “the road to renewal” of reflection on truth. Thus phenomenology of evidence emerges as one of “the many faces of contemporary phenomenology,” and as a very bright one indeed. In support of this position, I present arguments in the form of ten lessons from phenomenology of evidence for contemporary theory of knowledge.