Insight into Value

An Exploration of the Premises of a Phenomenological Psychology

By Andrew R. Fuller

Subjects: Phenomenology
Paperback : 9780791403303, 296 pages, July 1990
Hardcover : 9780791403297, 296 pages, July 1990

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Table of contents


1. The Objective Space of Meaning


Conventional Psychology's Approach to Meaning

Descartes and the Rise of Modern Philosophy

Objectivistic Psychology

Inside and Outside in Modern Thought

Psychology as Philosophy

2. Phenomenology


The Lifeworld

Considerations of Method

Phenomenological Psychology

The Place of Everyday Meanings and Our Relation to Them

Phenomenology's Theory of Intentionality

3. Existence

Existential Phenomenology

Meaning, Involvement, World

The Present-at-Hand and Its Origin in the Ready-to-Hand

The World and Other People

Dasein: Openness to the World

4. The Existential Space of Meaning

Meaning and Existence

The Primacy of Perception

The Existential Space of Meaning

The Bodily Self

The Bodily Self's Familiarity with Lived Space

Closeness and Bringing Close


The Existential and the Objective Spaces of Meaning

5. The Gestalt Logic of Meaning

The Notion of Gestalt

Gestalt Qualities

A Gestalt Is Not the Sum of Its Parts

A Gestalt as the Organization of Its Constituents

Gestalt Quality as the Gestalt Itself

A Gestalt Is Not More Than the Sum of Its Parts

Organization and Variability

The Complementarity of Gestalt Theory and Existential Thought

6. Requiredness

The Nonarbitrary Character of Meaning Formation

The Law of Good Gestalt


A Rose Is a Rose

Dynamics: Within the World

The Tenseness of the Good Gestalt

Hierarchy of Requirednesses

7. Value

Definition of Value

A Gestalt as Value Itself

The Demand Character of Value

The Nonsubjective Character of Value

Some Types of Value

Psychological Theories of Value

8. The Behavior of Insight

The Turn to Psychological Processes

Köhler on Insight

The Limitations of Köhler's Theory of Insight

A Phenomenological Theory of Insight

Insight into Value

Insight into Negative Requiredness

Manifestness of the Law of Requiredness

Insight's Privileged Status

The Nonoccurrence of Insight into Requiredness

9. Insight as Impact

Insight as Impact and as Interpreting

Impact as Being Affected by Meaning

Impact as the Mattering of Meaning

Impact as Difference Structurally Told upon One's Life

Impact as the Holding Sway of Meaning

10. Insight as Interpreting

Insight as the Activity of the Self

Interpreting and Situatedness

Interpreting as Imagining

The Paradox of the Self and Its Meanings

Insight as Responsible Situatedness

11. Feeling

The Temporal Circle of Impact-Interpreting


Disposition, Feeling, Insight

The Positive or Negative Direction of Feeling

Feeling and the Bodily Self

Feeling No Inner Psychic State

Feeling and Knowing

An Illustration of Feeling: Fear

Disturbed Disposition

12. The Fulfillment of Gestalt Psychology

The Promise of a Nonobjectivistic Gestalt Psychology

Review of the Conventional Approach to Perception

Gestalt Psychology's Approach to Cognition

The Objectivism of Gestalt Psychology

Critique of the Objectivism of Gestalt Psychology

The Existential Phenomenological Alternative

13. The Variability and Validity of Meaning

The Decidability and Variability of Meaning

The Variability of Meaning and Its Validity

Interpreting, Variability, and Validity

Criteria for Judging Meaning's Validity

Balancing of Validities

Variability and Validity in Objective and Existential Space

14. The Self-Others-World System

Psychology Beyond the Subject-Object Split

The Bodily Self-World System

Structural Analysis of Behavior

The Bodily Self-Other Selves-World System

The Bodily Self-World System and Learning

The Bodily Self-World System and Remembering

The Bodily Self-World System and the Law of Good Gestalt

The Event of the Bodily Self-World System





This book presents a systematic working out of the basic concepts of phenomenological psychology through an interdisciplinary synthesis of gestalt psychology and existential phenomenological thought.

The author's theory returns to psychology's foundations and interrogates the psyche itself, applying it to the full range of human behavior as a living of value. This work is presented as a viable alternative to mainstream modern—Cartesian—psychology. The book's first half is devoted primarily to an examination of everyday meaning/value while the second half looks at the behavior of insight into meaning/value.

Andrew R. Fuller is Associate Professor of Psychology and Chair, Department of Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York


"The work is thoroughly researched, meticulous in its scholarship, and at once critical and imaginatively interpretive. The genuine merit of the work consists in its contribution to interdisciplinary study bridging the disciplines of psychology and philosophy. " — Calvin O. Schrag

"Fuller challenges the basic assumptions of our most prevalent psychological theories. He correctly sees that the mechanistic program of the dominant view in psychology and cognitive science eliminates the distinctive reality of human experience. What is exceptionally rewarding in this book is the way Fuller blends the insights of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty with gestalt psychologists to arrive at a distinctively original phenomenological program. " — Joseph S. Catalano