An interpretation of the theory of gestalt

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 19 (December):193-215 (1941)
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
Keywords Configuration  Gestalt  Psychology  Science  Wholeness
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DOI 10.1080/00048404108541169
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