Gestalt theory and synergetics: From psychophysical isomorphism to holistic emergentism

Philosophical Psychology 7 (2):211-226 (1994)
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
Keywords Cognition  Epistemology  Gestalt  Holism  Isomorphism  Metaphysics  Synergetics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515089408573120
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Paul Smolensky (1988). On the Proper Treatment of Connectionism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (1):1-23.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Professor Max Velmans (2003). Is the World in the Brain, or the Brain in the World? (A Commentary on Lehar, S. Gestalt Isomorphism and the Primacy of Subjective Conscious Experience: A Gestalt Bubble Model, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, in Press). Velmans, Professor Max (2003) is the World in the Brain, or the Brain in the World? (A Commentary on Lehar, S. Gestalt Isomorphism and the Primacy of Subjective Conscious Experience.
Edward H. Madden (1957). A Logical Analysis of 'Psychological Isomorphism'. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 8 (November):177-191.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

21 ( #137,372 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.