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Ehrenfels, but also by Meinong, Husserl and Stumpf.
And as we haverepeatedly insisted, the power of Brentano’s philosophy consists precisely in itshaving set forth a means by which psychology and ontology can be developedin tandem with each other in fruitful ways. (It is this which is the theoreticalcore of his doctrine of intentionality.)The fact that our experience is structured is, according to Ehrenfels, amatter of certain special ‘
’ which are given in special experi-ences, superadded to our experiences of sensory elements. A two-level theoryof this sort was, as we shall see, characteristic of that ‘Austrian’ approach tocomplex experience which was developed by Ehrenfels, Meinong, Witasek,Benussi, Bühler and their followers. According to the later, ‘Berlin’ approach,in contrast, a collection of data (or any other psychological formation) does not
a Gestalt on a second level. Rather, it
a Gestalt, a whole whose parts arethemselves determined as being such that they can exist only as parts of a wholeof this given kind. The significance of this distinction, or of the transition fromthe Austrian theory of Gestalt as
to the Berlin theory of Gestalt as
,cannot be overestimated. The distinction can be seen as parallel, in somerespects, to that between dualistic conceptions of man as composed of body andsuperadded
, and conceptions of man as
, or in other wordsas a special sort of structured whole with both mental and physical aspects.The essay “On ‘Gestalt Qualities’” consists, first of all, in a termino-logical proposal. Ehrenfels suggests that the German term ‘Gestalt’, whichmeans ‘shape’, ‘figure’, ‘form’ should be subject to a certain generalization.
2. See Brentano’s own notes to these lectures in his 1982, and also Mulligan andSmith 1985. On the theory of dependence in general see Smith and Mulligan 1982.Note that Brentano himself did not accept Ehrenfels’ doctrine of Gestalt qualities, norany of its manifestations, and Kraus 1921 is a critique of Gestalt psychological fromthis orthodox Brentanian perspective.3. More or less extended or metaphorical uses of this term have a long history. Thereis a common use of the term to mean ‘external or visible form’ (e.g. of the devil, or of a ceramic pot), as also a family of uses allied to English expressions such as ‘cut afigure’, ‘Great Figures in Styrian Philosophy’, and so on. The term signifies also quitegenerally an integrated structure or complex, so that Clausewitz, for example, canspeak of a war as an ‘absolute Gestalt’, an ‘indivisible whole, whose elements (the