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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 32, Issue 1/2, 2004

Cornelius Steckner
Pages 209-226

Symbol formation

Symbol formation is a term used to unify the view on the interdependencies in the research of the Hamburg University before 1933: the Philosophical Institute (William Stern, Ernst Cassirer), the Psychological Institute (Stern) with its laboratory (Heinz Werner) in cooperation with the later joining Umwelt Institut (Jakob von Uexküll). The term, definitely used by Cassirer and Werner, is associated with the personalistic approach: “Keine Gestalt ohne Gestalter” (Stern), but also covers related terms like “melody of motion” (Uexküll), and “relational content” (Cassirer), discussing the term “empirical scheme” (Kant). All this scientific interest addressed personal forces to structure thresholds in equivalent stimuli. This view on intermodal formation allowed research in common aspects in the environments of animals, of children and adults to meet there the symbol formation of artists (Weimar Bauhaus) and poets like R. M. Rilke, a friend of Uexküll.

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