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

Comparing the ETVG with Leipzig gestalt psychology

1. The "transphenomenal psychic being"

At the same time as when the Berlin gestaltists were active, F. Krueger developed the "Genetic Ganzheit Psychology" in Leipzig which was accepted and developed further by Sander, Wellek, Klemm, Volkelt, and others.

It is not astonishing that Sander in particular was interested in my 1961 ETVG theory. First of all, in my manuscript I "rediscovered", so to speak, the subject and method of "actual genesis" proposed in the 1925 doctoral thesis of Sander's student E.Wohlfahrt (1932), and was able to conceive a plausible theory, capable of accounting for these previously unknown actual-genetic facts (see Part 6). Second of all, the Leipzig gestaltists had created the concept of "structure", which was designated "transphenomenal psychic being" by Wellek (1941). With this, they conceived a psyche that did not exclusively consist of consciousness, as it had since Descartes. They proposed that a "part" of the personality is "psychic", but not conscious, not phenomenal. This "transphenomenal psychic being" precisely corresponds to the ETVG "world" of "psychic functions" (PF). This "world" contains the hierarchy of gestalt factors which produce their specific (conscious) gestalt qualities when "actualized". The actualization of the functional hierarchy "from the bottom up" in the functional sphere leads to the step by step production of gestalt qualities in the phenomenal sphere, in the form of the "actual genesis" of a percept. In my 1961 manuscript, the "transphenomenal psychic being" (a concept and term that was yet unknown to me) was described as a hierarchy of functions, that, on one hand, with their "formative effects" behave like the "gestalt tendencies" (in Leipzig terminology), or like the "internal forces" (in Berlin terminology), i.e. they influence the forming of configurations in a certain way. On the other hand, according to the ETVG, it is the "informative effects" of the same functions that form these experienced configurations, i.e. cause them to phenomenally exist at all, whether they are changed afterwards or not. This was an absolutely new concept in visual science.

After my teacher Undeutsch, a  former Sander student,  had read my 1961 theory, he did not praise me because of my "intellectual effort", or my "interesting observations", he told me instead: "Mr. Kleine-Horst, you are taking new paths, and I am prepared to go along with you" (but he did not). A Berlin gestaltist (B2) thought enough of the theory to send it to Prof. Sander, who wrote me an enthusiastic letter in 1963 after a first reading, and promised to study in greater detail this "such weighty manuscript", this "investigation that is very interesting for me", this "opus, which arouses my scientific interest". "I have the definite impression that this is worthwhile for me!".

2. Sander adopts the basic hypotheses of  the ETVG actual-genetic theory

It certainly was worth his while. He did not resume contact and took the assumptions on the crucial principles of the actual-genetic process from the manuscript, and passed them off as his own.

(a) When Sander mentioned the visual "structure" before he had read the 1961 ETVG manuscript, he never gave any account as to what the structure that consists of psycho-physical conditions of experience looks like. This was so until 1962. After 1963/64, the visual "structure" is a hierarchy for Sander; before 1963, it was not considered to be a hierarchy.

(b) After 1963/64 also the gestalt tendencies, as conditions of experience, are considered to be hierarchically ordered by Sander, but no relationships between the gestalt tendencies had been claimed, before.

(c) Before 1963, Sander had described the actual genesis as a phenomenal process, i.e. as a sequence of gestalt experiences.  After 1963/64, he described it as a transphenomenal process and stated that the formation of configurations continues beyond consciousness and "surprises the experiencer himself, in its results, with the occurring configurations".  

(d) Before 1963, Sander had proposed an actual-genetic theory in which gestalt tendencies were considered to create only transient "simplifying", "regularizing", "symmetrizing" etc. effects on configura- tions, but were not actually involved in the creation, and development, of these configurations themselves, i.e. in the actual- genetic process of forming and enriching percepts. This means: Sander could not plausibly explain how and where the configurations themselves are formed, which are then "regularized" etc. by the gestalt tendencies. (This was the same mis-concept, from which Berlin gestalt psychology still suffers, as mentioned in Part 0.) After 1963/64, he claimed that the formation of configurations is established in the same transphenomenal structure, to which the gestalt tendencies belong as well. This is an absolutely new concept, compared to what he had claimed up to and including 1962. In the "structure", there are now the "psycho-physical conditions of experience, behavior,..... tendencies and so forth. The here relevant gestalt tendencies fall among the latter."  

Thus, after 1963/64, Sander proposed a visual structure that was a hierarchy of transphenomenal entities that form, in an actual- genetic process beyond consciousness, configurations. These occur, step by step, as experienced, conscious configurations, which are at the same time often changed by a number of "gestalt tendencies", that are also located and hierarchically ordered, in the visual "structure".

This, indeed, is an essential part of what I broadly outlined in the ETVG of 1961 (and still assume in this book). However, in the ETVG the "gestalt tendencies" which influence the forming of configurations in the "actual-genetic" process, are the "formative effects" of the same "transphenomenal entities", i.e. the "gestalt factors", which, with their "informative effects", primarily form these configurations.

If the new facts and ideas had been made public by the defrauder, his intellectual theft would have been insignificant in the greater picture of scientific progress. But precisely this did not happen here, as Sander hid his "new message" in three articles, where they would possibly be discovered posthumously by a biographer. Nevertheless, a reference to these manipulations by Sander belongs in this chapter in order to make clear that Sander, as an expert in actual genesis, attached great importance to the ETVG actual genesis theory of 1961,  not only in regard to his own glory but also in regard to the further theoretical development of perceptual science, which he, paradoxically, at the same time doomed to a standstill.

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