Gestalt Psychology in German Culture, 1890-1967: Holism and the Quest for Objectivity (Cambridge Studies in the History of Psychology)

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9780521475402: Gestalt Psychology in German Culture, 1890-1967: Holism and the Quest for Objectivity (Cambridge Studies in the History of Psychology)
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This is the first full-length historical study of Gestalt psychology--an attempt to advance holistic thought within natural science. Holistic thought is often portrayed as a wooly-minded revolt against reason and modern science, but this is not so. On the basis of rigorous experimental research and scientific argument as well as on philosophical grounds, the Gestalt theorists Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka opposed conceptions of science and mind that equated knowledge of nature with its effective manipulation and control. Instead, they attempted to establish dynamic principles of inherent, objective order and meaning in current language, principles of self-organization in human perception and thinking, in human and animal behavior, and in the physical world. The impact of their work ranged from cognitive science to theoretical biology and film theory. Based on exhaustive research in primary sources, including archival material cited here for the first time, this study illuminates the multiple social and intellectual contexts of Gestalt theory and analyzes the emergence, development and reception of its conceptual foundations and research programs from 1890 to 1967.

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In the first full-length historical study of Gestalt psychology in Germany, this book challenges accepted viewpoints in the history of German science and culture. Although holism was widely linked with anti-modern opposition to natural science as well as political conservatism and later with Nazism, the Gestalt theorists tried to advance holistic thought within the natural sciences; and they stood on the modernist, democratic side in the Weimar period. The book also analyses the impact of the Cold War and the professionalization of psychology in Germany on the reception of Gestalt theory after 1945.

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"Mitchell Ash has written a book...that exemplifies the best current work in the social history of ideas." Geoffrey Cocks, Central European History

"Ash's book offers an ingenious web of various intertwined life histories....the book is a masterpiece....The book's expansiveness commands unadulterated admiration....His style undeniably displays an aesthetic view on research and writing....Ash writes in a clear, seeming effortless prose. His polished details include German words added between brackets. The well-chosen illustrations offer extra information and meticulously taken care of are the appendixes, notes and index." Trudy Dehue, Contemporary Psychology

"...a book that not only is the most comprehensive and authoritative narrative history of Gestalt psychology we are apt to see, but also a study concerened with recentering a number of our assumptions about what this research effort was all about-an effect achieved by situating it systematically in its various shaping, facilitating and constraining contexts: philosophical/intellectual....The work is particularly impressive for the author's dedication to integrating attention to the actual stuff of Gestalt psychology itself-the studies, what they were asking, how they were carried out-into a theoretically-sensitive, thickening and evolving narrative over more than a half-century of disciplinary formation, elaboration, and finally partially disintegration." Journal of the History of the Behavioral Science

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9780521646277: Gestalt Psychology in German Culture, 1890-1967: Holism and the Quest for Objectivity (Cambridge Studies in the History of Psychology)

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ISBN 10:  0521646278 ISBN 13:  9780521646277
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 1998
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Book Description CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This is a full-length historical study of Gestalt psychology - an attempt to advance holistic thought within natural science. Holistic thought is often portrayed as a woolly-minded revolt against reason and modern science, but this is not so. On the basis of rigorous experimental research and scientific argument as well as on philosophical grounds, the Gestalt theorists Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka opposed conceptions of science and mind that equated knowledge of nature with its effective manipulation and control. Instead, they attempted to establish dynamic principles of inherent, objective order and meaning, in current language, and principles of self-organization, in human perception and thinking, in human and animal behavior, and in the physical world. The impact of their work ranged from cognitive science to theoretical biology and film theory. Based on exhaustive research in primary sources including archival material, this study illuminates the multiple social and intellectual contexts of Gestalt theory and analyses the emergence, development and reception of its conceptual foundations and research programmes from 1890 to 1967. Seller Inventory # APC9780521475402

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