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October 4, 2016
•Gestalt vs. “analysis”
•Can conscious experience be decomposed?
•Can “elements” be taken out of context?
•Importance of pattern and conﬁguration?
•Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts?
•Decomposition and reductionism
•Knowing more and more about less and less
•Roots in German philosophy and physics (setting the zeitgeist)
•Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
•A priori categories of the mind shape experience
•Wundt rejected Kant, followed British Associationists
•Ernst Mach (1838-1916)
•Spatial forms resist analysis into basic elements
•“Squareness” is deﬁned by the relationship between four lines
•“Squareness” cannot be reduced further
•Franz Brentano (1838-1917)
•Philosopher (Wurzburg, Vienna); contemporary of Wundt
•Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint (1874)
•Empirical: gaining knowledge through direct phenomenological experience (not
•How mind creates the nature of experience (Kantian)
•Act psychology; mind imposes structure; Kant
•Students: Husserl, Stumpf, Freud, von Ehrenfels, Steiner
•Christian von Ehrenfels (1859-1932)
•Studied with Brentano at Vienna
•Musical melody deﬁned by relationship between notes; transposition
•Melody has a “form-quality”: Gestaltqualitat
•Carl Stumpf (1848-1936)
•Studied with Brentano (1867-1870) at Wurzburg
•Gottingen, PhD (1868) in philosophy
•Named professor at Wurzburg, replaces Brentano (1873)
•Visited by James in 1882
•He and James become lifelong friends
•Becomes out-right psychologist
•Contemporary of Wundt
•Disagreed with analytic introspection
•Controversy with Wundt in 1891
•Musicians experience tons (and combinations of tones) differently than Wundt’s analytic
•Disagreement should be resolved in direction of musicians