Graz School

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The name Grazer Schule refers to a group of philosophers and psychologists who were interested in experimental psychology, object theory and gestalt theory . The school was founded and directed by Alexius Meinong , who was a professor at the University of Graz , where he founded the Graz Psychological Institute in 1894.

The school took the position suggested by Franz Brentano , former teacher of Meinong, that philosophy should be pursued with the method of natural sciences. Hence the realistic (and experimental) philosophical and psychological orientation of the Graz School.


In contrast to the Berlin school von Stumpf , the Grazer Schule von Meinong developed a "production theory" of the figures. According to Meinong's students, shapes are not given spontaneously, but are "produced" by the subject. On the basis of (existing) sensory impressions, (subsisting) objects of a higher order would be produced by means of certain psychological processes: the shapes. (Smith, 1994, chap. 10.3)

It was mainly Vittorio Benussi who worked out the theory of production on the basis of very detailed experimental investigations. He concentrated above all on the phenomenon of shape change in optical illusions (eg the Müller-Lyer illusion ). Benussi had a significant influence on the development of the Italian School of Gestalt Psychology (including Cesare Musatti , Fabio Metelli and Gaetano Kanizsa .) (Albertazzi, 2001)


Among Meinong's students at the Graz School, Stephan Witasek , Vittorio Benussi , Rudolf Ameseder , Konrad Zindler , Wilhelm Maria Frankl , Eduard Martinak , Ernst Mally , Franz Weber , Wilhelmine Benussi-Liel and Auguste Fischer should be mentioned.

His former students, Christian von Ehrenfels (mastermind of Gestalt psychology ), Alois Höfler , Ferdinand Weinhandl (the founder of the philosophical Gestalt analysis) and Anton Oelzelt-Newin , the son of the builder Anton Ölzelt , can also be regarded as members of the school.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Austrian music researcher, philosopher and critic Harald Kaufmann (1927–1970), who did his doctorate in Graz with Weinhandl, applied his gestalt analytical methods to musical analysis.

See also



  • Alexius Meinong: Letters of Philosophers . Academic Printing and Publishing Company, Graz, 1965.
  • David F. Lindenfeld: The Transformation of Positivism: Alexius Meinong and European Thought, 1880-1920 . University of California Press, Berkeley / Los Angeles / London, 1980.
  • Barry Smith : Austrian Philosophy Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago, 1994.
  • Liliana Albertazzi, Massimo Libardi, & Roberto Poli (eds.): The School of Franz Brentano . Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1996.
  • Evelyn Dölling: Seeking Truth and Confessing Truth. Alexius Meinong: sketch of his life . Rodopi, Amsterdam-Atlanta, 1999.
  • Liliana Albertazzi, Dale Jacquette, & Roberto Poli (Eds.): The School of Alexius Meinong . Ashgate, Aldershot, 2001.


  • Geert-Jan A. Boudewijnse: The Rise and Fall of the Graz School. In: Gestalt Theory , Vol. 21 (1999), No. 2 ( PDF; 76 kB )
  • Liliana Albertazzi: The Time of Presentness. A Chapter in Positivistic and Descriptive Psychology. In: Axiomathes , 10 (1-2), 1999, pp. 49-74.
  • Liliana Albertazzi: Vittorio Benussi. In: L. Albertazzi, D. Jacquette & R. Poli (Eds.): The School of Alexius Meinong , Asghate, Aldershot 2001, pp. 1-35.

Web links


  1. ^ Gottfried Krieger: A pioneer of music journalism in Austria. On the life and work of Harald Kaufmann (1927–1970). In: Österreichische Musikzeitschrift 7-8, 2010, pp. 4–12.