Werke von Alfred Adler (German Edition)

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Mach was mostly known in physics for his criticism of Newtonian mechanics, which lead to the development of quantum mechanics and relativity theory, both of which are actually not mechanical, but ultimately subjective the observer is an integral part of the observed system in both. Mach , p. Even if this materialism has a catch, it is not the worst possibility; it stands at least with one foot on secure ground. But if all psychical should be understandable physically, why not the other way round?

I would prefer […] to stand on both feet. There is no necessity to become dualist thereby for the one, who considers both feet as equal and both floor spaces under the soles to belong not to two different worlds. It is a question of the psychophysical relation. Many researchers such as James, Bergson and Stallo, but also Mach and Binet tried to answer the question how a new psychophysical epistemology might look like.

Their answers were as different as their approaches He noticed that the nervous system and even the behaviour of micro-organisms cannot be explained without taking reference to the psychological realm. Protozoa exist as well in humans, for example as brain cells. The question, how these specialized cells are responsible for intelligence continues into the same direction. By seeing the difference as only quantitative, not qualitative, Binet made a very far-reaching genetic claim against the absoluteness of classifications.

This claim leads him directly to the study of psychology. In his observations and experiments with hysterical patients from Charcot, Binet together with Ribot and Janet had discovered, that additionally to developing gradually, intelligence was not monolithical, but consisted of different parts, which only finally were constructed into a consistent-looking self and consciousness.

By illnesses, accidents and some special states of mind, consciousness and the self can disintegrate. This question seemingly led him to the question of self, will and consciousness conscience , so mostly philosophical questions. But, manifestly, this is erroneous. When an object excites in us a sensation, it accomplishes this through the intermediary agency of our nervous system. The pin rolling about beneath our fingers first irritates the corpuscles of touch that lie disposed beneath the skin for the reception of tactile excitations.

At that instant the conscious sensation is produced. In order to be exhibited, it is necessary that the peripheral excitation traverse all these successive stages, which even now we know so imperfectly. We see objects only in the presence of a self-illuminating body and these objects show their usual colour only with sunlight. I only hear the bell, if it is reverberated by a clapper. The way, how the bodies, which surround me appear to me depends on other bodies in my surroundings.

Among these bodies, the ones which constitute my organism have a special importance. The hand has to have sensation in order to feel the stone. Both see the functionality of physiology as an integral part of this psychophysical relation. But, while Binet is very detailed in his description of the nervous system part of the sensual relation, Mach is obviously much more detailed on the question of the physical part of the relation.

Finally, in terms of a monistic approach to genesis, he found that one has to include the epistemology, so the philosophical side of the relation as well. He himself stated that as a result of this, he had at least three different world views at different times. The world as we can know it consists only of the relations between objects or things, not of the objects themselves. We may state that bodies, such as pins, exist, because they are constituted by relatively more stable relations between their molecules than the air surrounding them.

The phenomenon of a pin, which can be touched, exists, because our sensual organs and our whole body including time perception is constructed in a certain way. When Binet describes the touching of the pin, he abstracts for instance from these motor sensations, probably because he does not focus his attention on them.

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Mach , pp. But this can also be exemplified by viewing emotions and feelings as a result of body perceptions, as Damasio for instance does. Mach disagrees with Bergson, Binet and the early James. For him the concept of consciousness is not very well equipped for analyzing this distinction.

He agrees with Kant that any assumed abstractions of concepts from a potential experience are useless phantoms. But contrary to Kant, he counts the thing-in-itself among those phantoms. The thing-in-itself is not a physical, but an intellectual i. Probably one has to state here that Binet is too little of a physicist in order to notice the contradiction. Interestingly, Mach , p. He holds the result of his research for something objective, which can be generally applied and that deserves more trust than the special perception.

But as soon as an analogous induction prompts him to add perception to the purpose of his research, he fancies that he is leaving the objective and entering the area of the unknown, intangible.

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He does not think about that the physicist does constantly make use of these analogous inductions, for example when he sees the moon, which is only accessible to his eye, as a tangible mass […]. Additionally it happens, that one of our senses, for example sight, shows a world, which another, our sense of touch, cannot correct. Sometimes this world is not even the same for the right and the left eye. This product is doubtless in most cases the last link in a chain of perceivable dependencies, the other end of which lies beyond these organs. There are certain cases, where the individual is unable to discover for himself, without help from outside, up to which point from the last link this chain goes.

He certainly had writings from Binet through his complete collection of the Monist and The Open Court in which both of them frequently published Seen from a Machian perspective, Bergson is clearly genetic in his approach 26 , but abstracts from the psychological roots phenomena of this genesis in a peculiar way. He does see that there are psychological roots of scientific and philosophical concepts. Later he would regard them as potentially dangerous for sprouting more metaphysical fungus.

The Thing-in-itself impermissibly abstracts from the sensual elements of perception. It is not by chance that Mach has a much broader concept of memory, i. It is thereby just the difference to the self of others. The elements remain whole, as the border is a result of them in the first place. Like the concept of self, it is formed still instinctively, but only as intuitive gestalt from primary instincts and perceptions. All delusions depend on the fact that we do not sufficiently know the circumstances under which we make an observation, or that we do not pay attention to them, or that we suppose other circumstances than the prevailing ones.

As they are linked in a continuous co-evolutionary feedback cycle, no purity in this distinction is possible, neither is this distinction possible between action and perception. Because of this, hapts are so central for learning. Nevertheless, this question will become very central for Binet and later for Piaget see below. He also sent some of his publications to him. In his reply letter Thiele Bergson also stated his very high admiration for Mach.

As Bergson was a good friend of William James, who in turn was a high admirer and friend of Mach, this is not so surprising. If one starts with [examples from Adler, but this part seems to be generalizable], so one already assumes hereby an already relatively developed natural world view.

The initial phase of my natural world view, from which I wrote the Analysis of Sensations, was a different, more primitive. I thought myself artificially back to the point of view of a child, which just begins to differentiate between its body and the surroundings. From this results first the double way of dependency of the elements from each other, which in the first place leads to the concepts of subject, object, from the self to [example from Adler], which are nothing fundamental here. If one knows the elements, but not the self yet, there is no reason for distinguishing the elements of the self form others.

Consequently, Mach goes back to the genesis process, before this construct was formed. Chuhar is an Indian chief, who interprets an optical phenomenon i. He likens it to the psychological attraction of depths and interprets it as a physical phenomenon Mach , p. Mach suggested that an experiment e. Piaget , p. What for Mach was two concepts, from which the one closer to the description of phenomena could be found by appropriate experiments i.

We have found 5 to 6 year-old children, who had reached already later stages. If one does not take historically earlier or culturally different explanatory gestalt concepts serious, one will never be able to help people to see their inconsistencies and move on to more consistent scientific concepts. If not addressed and connected to the old gestalt, newly taught concepts will remain superficial.

Gestalts tend to be psychologically very stable see also Lorentz This leads to a functional identity between the object of psychology and that of physics, the idea of which according to Larguier is not new. He wants to add this view to psychology, from which it seems to be lacking. He certainly felt that the issues had not been settled. And maybe he took on this Machian research program with the method he was so fond of, the experimental genetic method, the method that Larguier explicitly attributed to Binet p.

Pedagogy cannot be analyzed without its underlying epistemologies. In this sense, Binet in his pedagogy used two different philosophies, which in the following will be called Binet I and Binet II to discern them for discussion purpose. As he wrote his pedagogical book shortly before his death, he was probably not able to make a synthesis of the two philosophies for which it is all the more important in a historical work to distinguish them for future synthetic work. Binet II is genetic, evolutionary and close to Mach. This of course does not lessen the value of the insight, but it makes the work more difficult for the intellectual successors such as Piaget to distinguish between the two processes.

Binet II p. Thus while we welcome with immense satisfaction what has been achieved in America [by Dewey, Hall, etc. In a certain way, Binet p. The children of immigrants to the US showed larger physical differences to their parents, while the differences between them became increasingly marginal with each generation after immigration. The whole of craniometry was therefore measuring cultural traits instead of being a proxy for biological ones as it itself supposed. In [lower] animals we posit it because the variations brought about by environment are small as compared to the fundamental, stable characteristics.

In contrast to this the physiological and psychological characteristics of the higher animals and particularly of man, are highly variable and can be stated only in relation to environmental, including physical and cultural conditions. The traits of personality belong to this class and have meaning only when expressed as reactions of the individual to varying types of environment, of which the existing culture is the most important.

The ideas of Binet on the individuality of learning correspond to this idea see Zazzo This conclusion is not reached from a study of individual behaviour, but from the traditional beliefs and customs of primitive people. The mass of material accumulated in the collections of modern superstitions proves this point and it would be an error to suppose that these beliefs are confined to the uneducated.


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Their existence does not set off the mental processes of primitive man from those of civilized man. The assumption that at some time the mental qualities of man existed in vacuo is untenable, for all our knowledge of man is derived from the behaviour under given cultural conditions. A candid study of the inventions, observations and evaluations of man in the most diverse forms of culture gives us no basis for the claim that there has been any development of these qualities.

We only find an expression of the application of these faculties to more or less highly individualized cultures. Therefore any definition founded only on one culture must be fundamentally flawed. Binet often uses the very same position he criticizes in his definition of intelligence e. Every time he notices resulting inconsistencies, he carefully retraces his steps and tries another construction closer to empirical evidence. This process becomes the motivation for many of his intuitions for empirical studies and experiments.

Even when Binet measured workers children as being on average two years behind p. He notices that something methodological in education needs to be done, not for the top children, but specifically for the laggards the same idea that Bruner and his teacher had. This is so because any knowledge is summarized into an action which this very knowledge enables one to execute. Consequently it is possible to learn through action […]. To know multiplication does not consist of being able to repeat the definition of this operation, but of combining any multiplicand and any multiplier and giving the correct product.

It is therefore always possible to replace the formula by the exercise, or rather to begin with the exercise and to wait until the practice of it has resulted in training and the formation of a habit. Then the rule, the formula, the definition, the generalization can be introduced. It is therefore an intuitive empirical method, which had no influence on his philosophy anymore probably because he found it seemingly only shortly before his death. Otherwise Binet might have noticed the relation of these exercises with the sensualism of Mach.

Thought is not, as many still hold by tradition, an event that takes place in a supra-sensuous, ethereal, inapprehensible world. Interestingly, this is a question, which Piaget picked up again in a late phase of his work. Beth], which represents the second synthesis of epistemology as conceived by Piaget, Beth analyzed the foundations of mathematics while defending the principle that logic and the psychology of knowledge should be autonomous principles. In empirical research based on introspection, they found that images cannot be completely accounted for by conscious association.

Uznadze states that in a social being purely personal needs are supplemented by needs "directed toward the satisfaction of the needs of a wider circle of other individuals. In the course of development of life, these social cares The process of strengthening of this social tendency is directly related to the development of In this connection Uznadze also concludes, "Man became a man in the true sense of the word only when he acquired the ability to take trouble" p. Adler's basic disagreement with Freud was over his mechanistic and zoomorphic approach to human dynamics.

Adler found many psychologists inclined, like Freud, "to present their dogmas disguised in mechanistic or physical similes. At one time they use as a comparison a pump handle From such a view, to be sure, little can be seen of the fundamental differences which human psychological life manifests" p. Adler maintained instead that human dynamics can be adequately presented and approached only if we make central the fact that man is guided in his actions by his future as he anticipates it and as he wants to effect it.

Thus his dynamics became one of final causes rather than efficient causes, one of purposes where drives or instincts are subordinated to an individual's purpose as are all his other functions. Through the individual's comparison of his present state with the one aspired in the future, the dynamics also become dialectical as will be discussed in more detail below-. Adler's terms for describing human dynamics, as used already in this paper, were "fictional final goal" or simply "goal", "plan" or "life plan", "personality ideal", "guiding lines", all of which were eventually subsumed under the term "style of life".

Adler expressed his position most forcefully in the following: "The most important question of the healthy and the diseased mental life is not whence? Only when we know the effective direction-giving goal of a person may we try to understand his movements In this whither?

Causes, powers, instincts, impulses, and the like cannot serve as explanatory principles. The final goal alone can. Experiences, traumata, sexual development mechanisms cannot yield an explanation, but the perspective in which these are regarded We find very similar views expressed in Soviet psychology. According to Smirnov : "Soviet psychology decisively rejects all theories which argue that man's personality and experience are determined by biological, natural drives. Such conception assumes the immutability, i. In Teplov we read: "The character of a person is determined primarily by his attitude Einstellung toward the world, to other human beings, to his work and finally toward himself.

This attitude finds its conscious expression in the world view of the person, in his convictions and opinions, and is experienced by him in his feelings" p. But what distinguishes from the start the worst architect from the best of bees is that the architect has built the cell in his head, before he builds it in wax. At the end of the work process we get a result that existed already from the start in the conception of the worker" p.

Regarding the dialectical method a main issue is: Do the objective events in the physical world follow the principle of dialectics, or do only our thought processes operate in this manner? Soviet psychology appears to accept the first alternative. The psychiatrist Myasishchev cites the following from Lenin as relevant to personality theory: "Concepts and their relationships, transitions, and conflicts are shown to be reflections of the objective world- The dialectics of material objects creates the dialectics of ideas, and not vice versa" pp.

Rubenstein indicates the same understanding when he writes: "The key to the solution of the [matter-mind] problem is that - according to an expression of Hegel which Lenin particularly emphasizes - one and the same thing is itself as well as something else depending on different contexts and relationships. More concretely this means: Psychological phenomena - as well as all other phenomena - appear in different systems Adler accepted the second alternative.

He held that the dialectical, antithetical mode is based on abstractions and applies only to thought processes. In the objective world there are no definite categories, antitheses, and dichotomies, only continua and distributions according to the normal bell-shape curve, nor can in reality the same thing be something else.

Thus Adler wrote: "People often believe that left and right, From a scientific standpoint they are not contradictions, but varieties. In the same way, good and bad, normal and abnormal are not contradictions but varieties" pp. Likewise for Adler consciousness and unconsciousness, remembering and forgetting, truth and imagination were objectively not "two antagonistic halves of an individual's existence" p. Here Adler had Freud in mind who in a positivistic manner treated these opposites as if they existed as such in the objective world, which Adler considered Freud's tendency toward anthropomorphism.

In that event the principles of dialectics would, according to Adler, not apply to these opposites. For Adler these opposites were useful human thought constructions, fictions, guiding lines, with which man deals with reality.

Regarding such fictions in general Adler held: "The normal person does not lack the open-Handedness In the psychoses it is elevated to a dogma or anthropomorphized" p. Dialectics apply only to man's way of thinking. In terms of the reflection theory, it applies only to the manner in which man contributes to external reality, to the method he employs in creating it, but not the reality itself, including the material products of his creativity.

The difference between Adler and Soviet psychology regarding the dialectic nature of objective processes could in some respects make a great difference in dealing with these processes. But there is no difference in the understanding of psychological processes, and the difference in the first does not seem to detract from the similarity in the second. Due to this and the other similarities described earlier there is also little difference between how a Soviet therapist and how an Adlerian therapist would understand and deal with a given patient.

For example the description by Myasishchev of a case of his and E. Yakovleva was easily translated into Adlerian terms by Ansbacher : "A woman with a pampered life style developed symptoms [of deep hysteria I when confronted with situations where she could no longer dominate without being challenged. She recovered when she was able to understand the mistake in her style of life, changing her self-centered attitude toward one of better cooperation and greater social interest".

In this paper on some parallels between Adler and Soviet psychology we attempted to demonstrate in the introduction that Adler can be considered the prototype of many of the current developments in Western psychology. This can be ascribed to the fact that Adler provided in his Individual Psychology a complete alternative to Freud's psychoanalysis, an alternative which has increasingly proven its philosophical and therapeutic validity.

The paper itself is devoted to a description of Adler's positions on various aspects of the unconscious, and to showing how similar these are, in some cases, to views represented in present-day Soviet psychology. The discussion of differences between the two orientations was not within the scope of this paper. Yet the difference on dialectics, although more of a philosophical than psychological nature, was considered important enough for inclusion. We may conclude that whereas Freud represents the difference between the Eastern and the Western psychological worlds, Adler represents, to some extent, the common bond between them.

By giving his psychology a better hearing on both sides, this bond could be greatly strengthened, even as he considered his psychology "a liaison work Adler, Alfred. The science of living Garden City, N. Die Technik der Individualpsychologie. Die Seele des schwerer-zieiibaren Schuikindes Einfuhrung von W.


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