Excerpt from
L.Kleine-Horst: Empiristic theory of visual gestalt perception. Hierarchy and interactions of visual functions. (ETVG), Part 10, II

Comparing the ETVG with Berlin gestalt psychology
in greater detail

As I already mentioned in Part 0, the five Berlin gestaltists who received my theory seem not to have understood anything. In order to find out the probable reasons, the criticisms of B1, B2, and B3 who responded to the 1961 manuscript, will be reported and analysed here, which at the same time supplements the comparison between the ETVG and the Berlin gestalt theory already made in Part 0.  (B4 and B5 received Parts 1 and 2 of this book. .

B3 wrote to me in 1963:

 I did not intend to apply "gestalt psychological principles" (with which only those of the Berlin gestalt school can be meant ); instead, I wanted to propose new principles, moreover, even at the beginning of my 1961 manuscript I did relate perception to act, in a certain sense, as I showed that

But the last phrase of B3 has often given me pleasure: It was always through exceptionally forced generalization that I was able to solve an exceptionally difficult problem. 

1. "Constancy hypothesis": none, one, or two? 

One of the strongest statements of the early gestaltists was that the elementarists' "constancy hypothesis", i.e. the assumption of a set ("constant") relationship between sensory stimulus and experience ("sensation"), is wrong. B1 wrote in respect to the 1961 manuscript (probably without re-reading):

and stated that the gestaltists would, instead, from the beginning have raised an objection to the constancy hypothesis.

This was, however, not what I had said; I quote:

For the gestaltists, "constancy hypothesis" is an emotive word, that easily leads to misunderstandings: B1 thought that I should have returned to an old, but flaw riddled hypothesis. B2 was subject to the same misunderstanding, when he in turn believed in a misunderstanding on my part:

The emotive word led the two gestaltists to also overlook my contrary concept on the preceding page. I had even introduced, it's true, the constancy hypothesis into my own theory, but in quite a different form:

As Figs 10-7 and 7-1 show, there are even two "constancy hypotheses" in the ETVG, one valid for the physical level (as just mentioned), and one for the psychic level, where constant relationships are established between the psychic functions (PF, gestalt factors) and the psychic consciousnesses (PC, gestalt qualities) which are the gestalt factors' dependent correlates that form a holistic experience.

 2. Sensory and gestalt stimuli

 As quoted, B2 proposed to compare the phenomenal configuration with the configuration of the primary sensory stimulus.  B1, too, stressed this sort of stimulus as the only relevant stimulus concept to be used, and thus rejected the concept of "gestalt stimulus":

Here, and in the literature, we find essential B-hypotheses with which we can compare the respective ETVG-hypotheses, albeit without claiming completeness.   

B: The basis for forming configurated experiences are abstract relationships.
ETVG: Yes 

B: These abstract relationships that form the configurated experiences are such like those between local physical stimulations of the retina.

3. Explicit and implicit memory 

B1 rejected any memorizing concept for the creation of configurations.


B2 objected:

ETVG: At that time, there had not been much investigation into infant perception.  


4. Toward a synthesis of Ganzheit theory and "Element theory" using the ETVG 

criticized my not having used enough references; he recommended to particularly deal with the early discussions between the gestalt psychologists and their opponents.

It was not necessary to study the discussions in greater detail because I was discussing the topic at a higher level of abstraction: I found that both gestalt psychology and the opposing structuralism ("Element psychology") are grounded on a common axiom. If one drops this  axiom, as the ETVG does, new relationships are visible that do not contradict each other. Here are the respective claims of the 1961 manuscript: