Tagged: My Papers

Gestalt Psychology

WHAT IS GESTALT THEORY? Gestalt psychology (sometimes also “gestaltism”) is a theory of mind created by the Berlin School of Experimental Psychology in the first decades of the 20th century. The German word “Gestalt” means shape, or form. Gestalt psychology tries to understand the laws that govern the human ability to acquire and maintain perceptions of meaning in a chaotic world. Gestalt psychologists believe that the mind actively shapes perceptions, and aims to form units, or “gestalts.” For example, when we hear a melody we can remember it, and recognize it even if it is not played at the same...

Transference in Freud and Lacan

What is “transference”? “Transference” is a psychoanalytic term that refers to something that is very common in daily life: People displace unresolved conflicts, dependencies, and aggressions onto others (e.g. substituting a lover, spouse, etc. for one’s parent) for reasons that are not easily understandable. This operation occurs commonly in psychotherapy when a client transfers feelings that were previously directed to someone else to the therapist. The client sees in her therapist the return of some important figure from her childhood or past and consequently transfers on to him feelings and reactions from the past. Early childhood relationships, memories, and emotions,...

Poetry, Nature, Thought. Rilke’s Late Poetry.

And we, spectators always, everywhere, turned towards everything, and never towards the open. It fills us. We arrange it. It decays. We arrange it again, and decay ourselves. Und wir: Zuschauer, immer, überall, dem allen zugewandt und nie hinaus! Uns überfüllts. Wir ordnens. Es zerfällt. Wir ordnens wieder und zerfallen selbst. The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote these lines in 1922; they are a part of the eighth Duino Elegy. It describes us humans as spectators. We are turned towards life, hungry for experience and excitement, but we don’t want to look at ourselves, and we resist change, even...

Thinking and Being: Lacan versus Parmenides

Summary: There are two onto-epistemological strategies: (1) we can either assume that there is an underlying identity of thinking and being (Parmenides) or (2) the real is different from knowledge, and this gap or “unknowability”  means that our knowledge is just a historically determined construction.  The following short essay discusses the consequences of these opposing approaches for the question of truth. It was written in the Spring of 2000.  When Lacan describes his epistemology, he occasionally alludes to Parmenides, whose philosophy marks the beginning of the reflection on being in Western thinking. ’There’s no such thing as a metalanguage.’ When...

Subject, Ego, Person

This short essay, written in August and September 2001, could also be entitled “The Religious Roots of  Our Concept of the Person.” I argue that: we need to make a distinction between “something” and “someone;” this was done in the past through a religious definition of the origin of the human being; it has been secularized into the concept of the person, The term expresses the internal relationship of “having a nature.” Therefore we are not just “something”, we are “someone,” and as such not entirely subjected to nature. Since the distinction itself is not natural, it works only if...

Reason and the Subject of Philosophy

Summary: This short essay  traces the complex dance between rationality and subjectivity  in 20th century philosophy.  It touches on Kant, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Adorno, and  suggests that if we introduce a new  concept to the mix, we might be able to stabilize  the philosophy of the subject. The concept in question is the idea of “personhood.”  (This essay was written in Nov 2001.)   Philosophie, die einmal überholt schien, erhält sich am Leben, weil der Augenblick ihrer Verwirklichung versäumt ward. (Philosophy, which once seemed obsolete, lives on because the moment to realize it was missed.) (Theodor Adorno) REASON AND THE...