Gestalt, Equivalency, and Functional Dependency. Kurt Grelling’s Formal Ontology

In Nikolay Milkov & Volker Peckhaus (eds.), The Berlin Group and the Philosophy of Logical Empiricism. Springer. pp. 245--261 (2013)
Authors
Arkadiusz Chrudzimski
Université de Fribourg
Abstract
In his ontological works Kurt Grelling tries to give a rigorous analysis of the foundations of the so-called Gestalt-psychology. Gestalten are peculiar emergent qualities, ontologically dependent on their foundations, but nonetheless non reducible to them. Grelling shows that this concept, as used in psychology and ontology, is often ambiguous. He distinguishes two important meanings in which the word “Gestalt” is used: Gestalten as structural aspects available to transposition and Gestalten as causally self-regulating wholes. Gestalten in the first meaning are, according to Grelling, “equivalence classes of correspondences”, while Gestalten as self-regulating wholes have more to do with relations of ontological dependence. Grelling’s clarification of the concept of Gestalt is doubtless an excellent piece of philosophical analysis, but at the end of the day it turns out that his analysis captures at best only a part of intuitions traditionally connected with the notion of Gestalt.
Keywords Kurt Grelling  Gestalt  Christian von Ehrenfels  formal ontology  Paul Oppenheim  System theory
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