-adapting and finding meaning
-our experience of space and time is plastic
-i.e. vince carter making 50 shots in 1 game- said that it felt like a lake (meaning the basket felt much
-thrownness: you were thrown into this life as the person you are and this gender
-umwelt: your surrounding physical/organic world
-mitwelt: world with others (social/cultural world)
-eigenwelt: world with oneself (in its entirety)
-In the middle ages, nothing changed and you weren’t changing; 1500’s
-1500’s to now is where big change happened – middle ages people didn’t know about the body
didn’t know about the body until 1800s, and it accelerated – and now we know about the brain, but still
a lot more to know
-“age of discontinuity” is when the industrial revolution began with machinery being used (Baudelaire)
-we are adapting to the world, dealing with it, seeing if it’s beautiful
*-John Locke- we look into ourselves
-feelings: you feel good or bad about certain things and the ideas of good and evil are rational
judgments that we make about the world
1. Conceiving of our worlds
Geisteswissenschaften (“human sciences”) study culture through Verstehen (acts of empathic
understanding), and Hermeneutics (interpreting the artifacts of a world filled with meaning).
-human sciences study culture though acts of emphatic understanding and interpreting the artifacts of a
world filled with meanings
-human sciences are culturally oriented
-Emphasis is placed on wisdom and understanding the life-world.
-Life world-your world- think about your world
-Idiographic, individual cases, concrete situations or events.
What is the meaning of a situation and concrete events?
- Phenomenology - the description and structure of experience – what went down and what it meant to
*-Surface oriented- just basic description
*-In-depth oriented- go into sub-basement of what they were thinking/feeling
This is all part of Geisteswissenschaften!
-we are living in the world of Geisteswissenschaften, science of humans, peoples’ situations -we begin
with the life world, where there are episodes with meanings and we try to grasp these meanings
2. Studying our worlds
Naturwissenschaften – the “objective” and scientific study of nature both physical and organic.
When “studying our worlds” – emphasis is placed on knowledge and explanation
- Nomothetic, universal principles (scientific principles)
*-ideographic (individual cases) vs. nomothetic (scientific principles)
Which one is more complex, the physical world or the world of the mind?
-At one level we can argue that studying the physical world is more complex. At another level we can
argue that the physical world is a projection of our concepts.
-The physical world is a creation of the noetic world, the world of the mind (Emmanuel Kant) Geisteswissenschaften (human science)-allows variation vs. Naturwissenschaften (objective science)-
-we have ideas about the world – we have ideas about the physical world and about the social world -
they’re not truth, they are IDEAS
- we orient around our world in terms of these ideas and these ideas permit us to negotiate our worlds
-does the mind create the physical world - The way we think about our world is our world
-we have ideas about the physical, organic and our worlds – ideas in our minds and we share them
How does this relate to psychology?
Let’s consider two worlds… the everyday world and the world of the laboratory (aka research world).
(1) Events occur in the everyday world.
-automatic aspect and special moments in everyday life
Critical episode- an episode that changed your life
Distinguish b/w lived world vs. plane of observation
i. lived-world (engaged viewpoint) – the critical episodes- very rich and vivid description -
ii. Plane of observation (detached viewpoint) – what we’re trained in school – science side – standing
back and taking a look at what’s going on down there
(2) Events occur in the laboratory world.
Concept of ecological validity: do events in the laboratory world meaningfully relate to events and
situations in the lived-world?
-what’s the relationship between the lab world and the outside world
*-events in lab world should match events in outside world which would mean they are ecologically
valid (Kurt Lewin)
- These are events that take place in these worlds as we struggle with these life themes
Personal Life Narratives
We have experiences and feelings about our life-worlds and events that take place within them. -
expressed in the forms of narratives or stories in terms of which we define ourselves
-stories comprise facts and interpretations of these facts which we take to be true about ourselves and
our worlds – i.e. Facts of the family
Layers or Levels
You are in a life… actually many lives at once…You are in a world… actually many worlds at once…
**-Freud’s “double touch” – we live in the belief that we are a separate entity within a physically bound
-many lives and many worlds i.e. public world and private world
-within the person you are you are multilayered and can see ourselves as an open ended system – how
coherent or diffuse am I as a person?
*Jung: notion of the persona
-suppression – intentionally turning back on an event
-repression – unintentionally turning back on an event
-unifying the self involves coming to terms with who you were in all layers of you in all layers of life and
-relate to the person you were and are now – unity within diversity – fundamental principle
Four Fundamental Layers:
(i) noetic: includes all mental processes and different forms of knowing - Perceptual, Intellectual, Emotional
(ii) organic: includes all biological processes
(iii) physical: includes all physical processes
(iv) social: includes all social/cultural systems
- These layers have their own unique properties but also interact with each other.
- Paradox of one body and many selves.
**- Looks like one body and this implies one self - Illusion of unity
Interface of Mind and Body (problem of consciousness):
Consciousness lies at the sentient boundary between stimulation from the outside world and from the
inside world, physical, cognitive, and affective during a particular period of time.
-we have events going on in our bodies (sensations coming in) so we’re organically/affectively active
-you have knowledge about the world (people, things, etc) around you and environment
*Consciousness is the place where events coming in from outside world meet events that are happening
in your body/mind
-apprehension: you are reaching out to the world and the world is coming to you and somehow there is
a fit-to find meaning in the world
-when we find meaning in the world in an emotional way it means that our body and our
understanding encounter events in the outside world that are comprehensible to us and that’s
where it happens in consciousness
-we usually are in “autopilot” mode so what are we conscious of?
-we only notice things that are “unexpected”
-our world goes on automatically, events happen in world and body and they meet in the domain of
How do we see ourselves?
1. Are we objects or processes?
- Are we static or dynamic?
Object = due to label = self-fulfilling prophecy labeling and restricting whole self
Process = open ended = I am, I did and this happened – I take ownership – and I go on with my life
-we can see ourselves and others different ways
-difference between self and other viewpoint – when I see you I see traits, seeing myself in situations -
you are selfish, but I had to do it because of this…
2. Can we change or are we bounded by our personal histories?
-Yes and yes, and no and no
-there is a need to be loose and able to change and be open, multi layered in situations
3. Literal viewpoint (externalized view) – closed process
- As objects w/ features, grades, status, money
-Very closed: people who are very literal take whatever you say at face value, literal meaning – not the
best sense of humour; lack of insight/deep thinking
4. Ironic/Metaphorical viewpoint - open process
- see ourselves in context, changing
-Looks behind the surface
*-shift from literal to ironic viewpoint is fundamentally important to get insight into life!
5. Shifting viewpoints
- engaged: absorbed in our experiences (lived-world) vs. detached: outside of our experiences (plane of
observation) -in a situation, and then look from outside at the same situation/in a situation and you can think about it
6. Can we unify these viewpoints?
-Take things literally, then take it ironically, then shift
*-we want to be able to shift, this is what creativity is about
-i.e. learning material and then stepping back from it
Instinctual or Motivated Activity:
Self-preservation Search for meaning
Effort to Determine:
What’s Real What’s True
-both are real
-action vs. reaction – making decisions vs. how you react to people
Actions –We orient around what’s real so we have responses that are in coordination with it; self-
-can be virtually real also, as if it were there
-we orient to what’s real, skills to engage it so you live through it, physically and socially
Reaction – what’s true? Search for meaning
- sometimes my truth is not real for others and vice versa; exhaustive
-experience inside of you but are you showing it to others?
Inside one body affected by the outside world yet shaped by a personal existence.
Are you showing how you feel inside?
Adaptation and Experience is a two-way street… challenged and shaped by the outside world, yet
interpreted in a personal way.
-we need to adapt to our world & you want to experience it to make it meaningful to you too
Two Essential Complementarities
*(1) Forms of Knowledge – objective vs. subjective
Objective knowledge – supposedly about the external public world BUT actually reflects internal learned
conventions and standards.
-reflects social convention and bias -not the truth – conventionally, socially defined
Subjective knowledge – supposedly about the internal private world BUT actually is projected onto the
imagined world out there.
-something we project out onto the world – we see the world that way
(2) Modes of being in the world: thought oriented vs. feeling/emotion oriented
-objective, rational, planning oriented, analyzing, looking back, ruminating, difficulty
noticing/experiencing feelings Feeling/emotion oriented
-completely overwhelmed by our history, -constantly reacting emotionally to things
-lost in emotion or feeling, always looking for pleasure/excitement, always overwhelmed by
BUT - LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE!
You cannot have thoughts without feelings - You also cannot emotions without thoughts
How do the mind and body interact to shape adaptation and experience or the search for meaning?
-need a proper balance
-can’t have thoughts without feelings – when you think about something, it produces feelings
*-feelings are like the shadow of cognition – listening to your gut
-when you have thoughts there’s a residue
-can’t have emotions without thoughts – you can’t have emotions without understanding the situation
that you’re in
-every time you think about something you have a residue of a feeling in your body (affective residue)-
its’ a result of our analyzing the world around us
-when we have an emotion we feel a feeling, and it’s always in a context of a situation – the situation
has to be understood in a certain way to be able to feel-we’re doing action and reactions
-The mind always works with the body and the body always works with the mind
-bodily activity goes hand in hand with mechanisms
-mental activity: what kinds of rules govern the mind?
Adaptation vs. Search for Meaning- 2 columns from slides *KNOW THIS*
-2 columns can overlap, order doesn’t matter – they’re just part of the same families of processes
-adaptation, action, biological, influence of animal past, evolutionary influence, stimulus emphasis,
appraisal, evaluation, feature, matching, self-terminating
Adapting through action, biological foundation, skills of adaptation can change, evolutionary influence
-if you’re going to adapt you need strong stimulus emphasis: want to get here to there, and look at the
situations coming at you- focusing now and what’s coming at you
-adaptation needs stimulus emphasis – need to be vigilant!
-if I’m going to emphasize the stimulus, you need to appraise it: good or bad for ME; right thing or
-then secondary appraisal to look at how I’m doing in appraisal, then evaluate appraisal
-looking at features – characteristics/qualities not feelings
-we match the features against a list that we already have
-self terminating: you’re going through your list matching it and you self-terminate (stop the search)
when you find what you need! Because you’ve gone through your list- when you exit the search
*Search for meaning
-reaction, MENTAL, influence of social past, social structure, response emphasis, construction,
interpretation, gestalt, closure, exhaustive
-reaction: find yourself in a situation it overwhelms you, overcome with the reaction but we don’t
necessarily think about it, we just react, overwhelmed automatically
-not thinking systematically, just happens to you, and the reactions are MENTAL (in our mind,
meaningful to us in our minds)
-this mentally shows social influence of your past – when you have the mental reaction
-reflects the social structure because you come from a certain social world (class, groups, etc.) and this
will shape the kinds of meanings that are real for you -the focus is on the response – response emphasis– it’s a passion that overwhelms me and I’m filled with
this emotion – different people different situations – but overwhelmed by the feeling
-we notice our responses, that’s why the person who’s busy thinking all the time can’t turn inward to
their reactions – or person who’s constantly overwhelmed can’t handle the situation they’re in
-constructing and interpreting – interpret situations – we look at the WHOLE (gestalt) situation, not the
-closure – a sense for the whole, an understanding of the problem
-exhaustive = complete, we can never get enough facts to understand a situation
-Theory to phenomena: events in the world that occur – we notice them
*-phenomena are culturally relative, not absolute
Gestalt: The situation: we start with the situation - when we want to understand a situation, we put all
the parts of the figure and the ground together and are observing the world in science: there are 2
stages – natural history (you observe) always precedes experimental science
-natural history – observation of what’s out there and the naming of it/observation and collection of
richly described instances.
-experiments – getting in there in more detail
- Naturwissenschaft: physical and organic science, search for laws, left hand column (adaptation)
- Geistwissenschaft: meanings and mind, lives on the right hand columns (search for meaning)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832)
*-The greatest threat to science was the sterile passivity induced by degenerate scientific scholasticism,
the mere handing down of a written tradition without substantial criticism
-concerned about repeating the same old crap that was written before
*Scientific scholasticism- learning as much as possible
*-he said science cannot tolerate the authoritarianism of sects and schools b/c a sect holds tenaciously
to what is only a part, which is presented nevertheless as a whole (zoom in on a piece/part and make it
seem like the whole thing )
*Vorstellungstarten: bring things into a relationship that we didn’t see before – viewpoint
-the ways of conceiving things to bring many objects into relationship that they did not have
with each other, strictly speaking.
-Goethe is dealing with viewpoints
-viewpoints dominate an age
-amateurs that are intelligent can see things that experts may miss
-Goethe worked in the tradition of experimental science from the 18th century.
-For natural philosophers of that century, physics was not a specialized discipline studying motion,
matter and forces “but rather the knowledge of all nature, including the realm of the animate as well as
*In German-speaking lands, physics was often called Naturlehre (doctrine of nature) and “nature
philosophy” in English-speaking countries. It involves “everything about bodies that has ever been
experienced or thought” (Gehler, 1787-96).
**Theories tend to atomize phenomena; we should follow a method that explores laws, relationships,
similarities and homologies in the course of development – a genetic, even a dynamic method (insofar
as it identifies forces at work) Look for the intrinsic interrelatedness of things in nature; natural things must be studied in a larger
context and this context is always capable of further enlargement, in the direction of the totality of
Let things speak for themselves.
-theories tend to break things down into small pieces
*-want to explore relationships (homologies-parallels)
-genetic (how ideas change over time) analysis
-look at the phenomena as whole and let things speak for themselves
-need to feel the construct in all ways it appeals before you do anything
*Vorstellungsarten – the ways of conceiving and representing things was bound to the question of
Darstellung (presentation), the question of presentation is a question of language and rhetoric.
-As a poet, Goethe recognized with unmatched clarity the role of language in science, it’s symbolic and
inalienably metaphorical character.
-in science -look at it in all the different ways
-in the arts; put all the examples of the phenomena on the table to begin to understand
**For Goethe, the first duty of a scientist is to explore the associations and connections of one
phenomenon to another, without the intervention of a theory or hypothesis
-1st you hold a phenomenon in your hand and the examples of it and you bring in the lenses of science
to help you understand the underlying process
-theory and method should be ways of letting us look at different relationships in that whole
-narratives and episodes unfolding of the phenomenon in question
-begin with phenomena, and theory comes out of our understanding of the phenomena
**-Science needs 2 virtues above all: Irony and patience – right hand column
-seeing things relationships, looking behind the scenes (irony) and to do that you need patience
- To be innovative, you want to grasp what you’re doing
-cover all the features, you need the whole phenomenon
**-Goethe’s proximate goal of this method is to achieve naturgemasse Darstellung, a presentation in
accordance with nature… which must correspond to the fundamental elements of the phenomenon in
question, such as the continuities, associations, contrasts and wholes that give it structure.
The initial work – collection, examination, & organization of phenomena – must be done with the
greatest of care, industry, rigor so that when wit and imagination are set loose they do not distort the
phenomena at will.
**-directed looking (Ansehen) leads to consideration (Betrachten) which can lead to reflection (Sinnen)
every reflection to connection (Verknupfen) and thus with every attentive look Blick at the world we are
**-Goethe thought of himself as inclined to the genetic (versus atomistic), dynamic (versus mechanical)
and concrete (versus abstract).
Genetic – seeing things evolving over time
-systems affect each other
-concrete = I’m looking at the world
Change in the use of the term “fact” in the 18th century.
Original sense in Latin, English, and the Romance languages. The word “fact” was something done, a
deed, and derivatively, anything that occurred. -The more modern acceptation of ‘fact’ has added a subjective component something known by actual
observation or authentic testimony (thus opposed to mere inference) – a datum of experience.
*-Dogma of facts was a prerequisite for the rise of positivism. Comte’s “positive” reveals an utter
dependence on facts… “coordination of observed facts.”
Fact: you and I agree that something has occurred, doesn’t mean it’s true
Goethe follows the logic of a phenomenal, experiential science of nature.
1. Begin with a question about a natural phenomenon… something that appears as a part of a whole-
what feelings and emotions are and place them in the natural whole (situations)
2. Discover through systematic experimentation, the conditions for this appearance.
-systematic experimentation – what will produce “it”, then vary it
3. Vary and recomplicate the elemental conditions so that the research leads back toward the original
standpoint from which the observer will see it with a sharper and better trained eye and with a better
grasp of the whole and its parts.
-vary it toward the original view – phenomenonwhat context will produce it? experiment to
recreate the phenomenon
-unified and comprehensive scientific phenomenon.
Goethe acquired the habit of taking careful notes of his observation; study the phenomena of nature in
The Greek philosopher Aristotle had written more than 2000 years ago that “the whole is prior to the
-Goethe refocused this idea on the intelligibility of things. He used the term “Gestalt” to refer to the
“self-actualizing wholeness of organic forms.”
**Goethe believed that all advanced structures of a plant or animal are transformations from a single
fundamental organ… a King of Systems Theory.
-how does a little seed know to grow up into a stalk of corn?
-built into the seed is the plan and there are structures that transform
*Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911)
**Dilthey argued in 1894 that conscious experience is not a collection of simple sensations and their
corresponding “ideas” but a “structured whole” combining intellect, feeling, and will. The whole is not
static but “dynamic,” a “living”, unitary activity within us.
*-argued “dominant psychology” could not grasp this idea because it reduces “all phenomena of
consciousness to elements imagined being atom-like” and constructs consciousness from hypothetical
entities (DON’T CONFUSE WITH GOETHE)
-argued to “proceed from the whole to the parts” and focus on inner life as the “experienced connection
of thought, feeling, and will”
-experimental psych starts in 1860s
-study of perception begins
-the way they thought about it was that in your mind you have isolated qualities (left side of table)
-Dilthey’s on right hand side: experience situation as a whole -whole situations -spoke of the person as a “psychophysical whole” who is formed by his or her own history and by that of
their society and culture.
**People are shaped by interactions with their cultural circumstances which formed what he called
their “character” or Gestalt.
***-Dilthey made an important contribution in his distinction between natural sciences and human
-In the surrounding physical world of the “natural sciences” (Naturwissenschaften) objective necessity
-we seek to explain phenomena in terms of cause and effect – left side
-In the “human sciences” (Geisteswissenschaften) inner experience was characterized by “sovereignty of
the will, responsibility for actions, a capacity to subject everything to thinking and to resist everything
within the fortress of freedom of his/her own person.”
-We seek to understand in terms of the relations of the part and the whole – right side
**-In the social sciences, a general theory of understanding or comprehension (Verstehen) could be
applied to all manner of interpretation ranging from aesthetics to events in the “life world”
Verstehen goes hand in hand with empathy; theory of understanding and comprehension
He stressed the interaction of the person and the environment (lebenswelt).
Behaviour = F(Person, Environment)
Two modes of Scientific Thinking: Aristotelian and Galilean (1931)
Aristotelian Mode of Thinking
*-Lewin criticized what he described as the Aristotelian approach to scientific thinking.
- according to this approach, the classification of phenomena defined their essence in a static manner;
hence there were different laws for different kinds of motion (e.g., on earth, in the sky).
-this relates to the problem of essentializing or defining something by a central property. In this
approach, lawfulness is equated with frequency and unusual events are regarded as unnatural or even
Galilean Mode of Thinking
-The Galilean approach is more dynamic.
-researchers should focus first on “those situations in which the determinative factors of the total
dynamic *event+ structure are more clearly, distinctly and purely to be discerned.”
-He was influenced by Ernst Cassirer “the first goal of experimental inquiry is to gain a pure
*-he wanted to recreate situations in which the structures of ideal-typical person-environment
interactions could be made to appear in the laboratory then researchers could derive formal
descriptions of their dynamics.
-The goal was therefore to develop idealized concrete psychological situations.
History of the Word Emotion and Early Concepts *- Aristotle used the word passion to include appetite, anger, fear, confidence, envy, joy, love, hate,
longing, emulation, pity, and, in general, various states accompanied by pain and pleasure.
- Incidentally, this Greek root appears in words designating physical disorder (pathology) as well as
passion (sympathy, apathy).
- The passions were roughly equivalent to what psychologists today call affective processes.
*-Ludovicus Vives (1492-1540), however, used the term passiones as appropriate only