The place of Gestalt Theory in American psychology A case study
Gestalt theory, which arose in and was demonstrated with psychological phenomena, was one of the answers to a crisis in Western intellectual thought which is still with us. There has been, in the 20th century, a growing hostility toward science among the intellectuals, expecially the younger generation, which seems to be caused by the opinion that science offers them nothing when they turn to it for answers to the most fateful questions that confront them, namely, questions about the meaning of human existence. They are not content with the goods and services and with the domination of nature by man that are often pointed to as proof that science leads to the betterment of mankind as well as to the understanding of nature. Science, they say, ignores what human beings encounter in their daily lives.1) Some implications of Gestalt theory for dealing with the crisis are reflected in a paper written by Max Wertheimer in 1924. It is based on a lecture that Wertheimer gave that year at a meeting of the Kantgesellschaft in Berlin. He spoke from only a few notes and had no manuscript but the speech was taken down in shorthand while he spoke. Due to the urging of people who heard it, the shorthand record of the speech was published with minor changes (1924).
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.