Structuralism, as a distinctive methodological theory in science, humanities and philosophy, began to develop in the Czech region in the mid-20s of this century. It derives from the broad current of European structural thinking which aimed to overcome the crisis of traditional metaphysics and substance ontology by working out the categories of structure and function: cf. E. Cassirer, Substanzbegriff und Funktionsbegriff (1910), N. Hartmann, Grundzüge einer Metaphysik der Erkenntnis (1921). Like German Geisteswissenschaft and hermeneutics of nineteenth century (J.G. Droyse, W. Dilthey) Structuralism rejected the attempts of positivism to apply the laws and principles of inorganic nature to the sphere of social phenomena, especially language, culture and art. In this regard it has opposed conceptions which comprehend the whole as merely the sum of its parts. On the contrary structuralism stresses the analysis of individual facts in the context of the whole and comes to understand that the quality of a system depends on its inner structure.
In addition, to mention the special role of Russian Formalism, the development of structuralism in the social sciences and humanities was influenced by the methodological conceptions of W. Dilthey, F. de Saussure and K. Mannheim. Under the influence of E. Husserl, W. Dilthey in his later works began to employ the notions of structure, sign and meaning. According to Dilthey not only particular manifestations of life, but also cultural and historical forms have a structural character. The historical world is understood as the entirety of life manifestations realized in their "meaning connections".
Dilthey also criticized associanistic psychological theory against which he postulated a so-called Comprehending Psychology of Understanding ("Verstehen") aimed at overcoming the mechanistic conception of causality in research on psychic processes. At the end of nineteenth century, the notion of structure was applied also in Form Psychology ("Gestaltpsychologie"), conceived by Christian von Ehrenfels (Über Gestaltsqualitäten, 1890). By uniting concepts from Form Psychology with Dilthey's Psychology of Understanding, Mihailo Rostohar (1879-1966), professor at Faculty of Arts in Masaryk University, Brno, in the mid-20s of this century worked out the first comprehensive structuralist theory in the Czech regions. In his book, Essays on Developmental Psychology (1928), he distinguished between the notion of shape (Gestalt) which he considered to be static and the notion of structure, signified by its dynamic character. The notion of structure was comprehended from the dynamic point of view also by associate professor of psychology at Masaryk University, Ferdinand Kratina (1885-1944), who characterized inner structured psychic processes as "complex qualities".
The main representative of the Czech structuralist concept in sociology and social philosophy was Arnot Inocenc Bláha (1878-1960). From a methodological point of view he was influenced by T.G. Masaryk and especially by E. Durkheim whose structural-functional conception of society he assumed. Bláha's conception of society as the "rule of rules", conceived in the '20s, was very similar to later ideas of C. Lévi-Strauss' cultural anthropology. In his book Filosofie mravnosti (Philosophy of Morals, 1922) Bláha understood morality as the "function of order", but--under the influence of T.G. Masaryk--he laid stress on the specific role of the individual in ethical relations and social reality. Though in Bláha's conception man is determined by social norms, at the same time he is their co-creator.(95)
In the further development of his sociological and philosophical thought A.I. Bláha developed the conception of federative functionalism which--contrary to the theory of the other Czech structuralist philosopher and sociologist, J.L. Fischer--rejected a hierarchical order to social functions, considering them all to be equally important.
However, it was especially the works of structurally oriented literary scientists and aestheticians which found acceptance abroad, so we will introduce Czech structuralism through their thought.
In aesthetics, two parallel antipositivistic streams could be considered in the history of European thinking: the Anglo-Saxon line (the Cambridge School and American New Criticism) and the Slavic Formalism (Russian Formalism, Czech Structuralism, the Polish Integral School). Some researchers, such as V. Erlich,(96) have unilaterally accented the connection of Czech structural thinking with Russian Literary Scholarship Formalism (V. klovskij, V. irmunskij, R. Jakobson), but they substantially underestimated the continuity of Czech Structuralism with the tradition of the "Prague Aesthetic School" in the nineteenth century (Josef Durdík, Otakar Hostinský), which proceeded from J. F. Herbart's Formal Aesthetics.
The movement from Herbart's Formalism, to the structural approach, to art characterized the aesthetics of Otakar Zich (1879-1934), who created his own conception of form as a set of meanings. He elaborated this in connection with the German aesthetician, Johannes Volkelt's psychological semantic conception of aesthetics (cfr. his works: The Aesthetic Reception of Music (1910) and Concerning Poetic Types (1917-1918). Zich's emphasis upon sound and rhythmic qualities as substantial and constitutive values of poetry have had special influence upon the formation of Czech Literary Formalism.(97)
JAN MUKAOVSKÝ (1891-1975)
Jaw Mukaovský founded Czech Aesthetic and Literary Scholarship Structuralism. He was the author of pioneer works on the history of Czech literature, the theory of verse and on general problems of aesthetics, especially the questions of aesthetic norm, function and value. (See his Structure, Sign and Function.)(98)
His first papers were based on the analysis of significant Czech authors in the nineteenth century: K. H. Mácha, Boena Nmcová, Vítzslav Hálek. Through them he sought the formal character of the work of art which makes possible its aesthetic activity. To this he added knowledge of the Russian Formal School and of functional linguistics as developed in the Prague Linguistic Circle during the second half of the 1920s. The circle had originated in 1926 in discussions by such philologists and literary scientists as Vilém Mathesius, Bohuslav Havránek, Bohumil Trnka, Josef Vachek, Jan Mukaovský, N.S. Trubeckoj and R.O. Jakobson.(99)
The thesis of Mukaovský for the Prague Slavic Congress in 1929 contained the first complete elaboration of his structuralist methodology. He was evidently influenced by the 1927 thesis of J. Tyanov and R. Jakobson which underscored the need to research the relations between the separate levels of historical phenomena in literary research.
Mukaovský began to elaborate the problems of the evolutional dynamics of literary structure in the '30s under the influence of Marx's and Hegel's dialectics, as well as Husserl's phenomenology. In the paper, "Polak's Sublimity of Nature", he rejected an immanent conception of literary evolution and saw aesthetic purpose as inspiring this evolution: "The development of poetry is a continuous self-development, carried by the dynamics of development itself and controlled by its own immanent order".(100) Critical suggestions by significant representatives of the left-oriented Czech avant garde, as well as his own theoretical approach to the conception of a work of art as an autonomous sign, enabled him to overcome this immanent conception of the literary process.(101)
In the 30s Mukaovský turned his attention to problems of the semantic organization of literary works. His efforts to create a dynamic conception of literary structure were expressed by his conception of the so-called semantic gesture, elaborated in the paper "Genetics of Sense in Mácha's Poetry" in 1936.(102) This was understood as the principle organization of the meaning of a work of art, which could not be identified with any clearly concerned relation to reality on the part of the author.(103)
The conception of semantic gesture expressed at once both the dynamic semantic unity and inner differentiation and the human significance of the concrete work of art. But the founder of Czech Structuralism did not understand this semantic unity in the sense of an integration, which "is gradually realized only by reading with the help of a compositive ground plan", but as the unity "of a dynamic structural principle, which is valid in the smallest part of the work and consists in a homogeneous and unifying systematization of levels." This conception of semantic gesture manifests Mukaovský's problem regarding the relation between the inner energy of a work of art and its actual effect on the public. He has overcome the conception of a text as a non-human, logicized relation between empty structures. Mukaovský's sense of the structure as neither a feature of things nor a matter of individual psychic processes within man's consciousness impacted upon the further development of Czech structural thinking. He defined structure as "a stream of forces existing in the collective consciousness" through continuous time, but persistently reorganizing.(104)
The recent resurgence of the Prague School of Structuralism occurred in a situation in which "Classical" Structuralism was taken over critically by Post-structuralism, Neo-structuralism, Deconstructionism, Post-modernism. As before, structural methodology has a contribution to make. Especially Mukaovský's conception of semantic gesture, dealing with the problems of an inner dynamic meaning creating the energy of a work of art, can help in overcoming the traditional logocentrism.
The specificity of Czech Structuralism consists in its concern for the evolutional, dynamic conception of cultural and historical processes. Sartre's criticism of French Structuralism as static and unable to take account of evolutionary dynamics has not been true of Czech Structuralism since the 40s.(105) A comprehensive attempt to elaborate a dialectical conception of the literary process is found in Mukaovský's 1943 paper, "The Individuum and Literary Development". Here, Mukaovský based the dynamics of the literary process on the dialectical contradiction between literature and personality, i.e., between immanent evolutional regularity, on one hand, and random individual creative action, on the other: "an immanent evolutionary line, though very strong, always allows full freedom of chance--an individuum--not in the sense that the individuum could break an evolutionary direction, but in the sense that this is broader than its concrete realization".(106)
However, Mukaovský did not reflect deeply on the conception of development which he comprehended as continuous action, without considering the possibility of discontinuity or, let us say, motivated regress. At the same time, he reduced the complicated dialectics of literary process to a contradiction between personality and the immanent regularity of literary development. Also Mukaovský's conception of a continuous evolutional line, retaining its continuity even when deformed by the interventions of a personality, did not provide for the complexity of the motion of the separate levels of literary structure and their relation to cultural and social structures.(107)
In "Intentionality and Unintentionally in the Arts" (1943) Mukaovský suggested, an antisociological and antisaussurian turn. Joining phenomenology he approached the work of art as a non-sign in a real world, that is, as a message about human beings.(108)
Felix Vodika (1909-1974), Mukaovský's disciple, in his "Literary History: It's Problems and Tasks" (1940), made a significant attempt to integrate the immanent evolutionary dynamics of literary structure in the actual social process. He pointed out the mutual penetration of literary structure and the category of time connected with a live tradition, to which he added elements of causality and teleology. The teleological conception of social relations of Czech economist and philosopher, Karel Engli, enabled Vodika to comprehend works of art as the result of the author's intentional effort "to reach an aesthetic effect in the literary realm." In his Struktura Vývoga Vodika, took account also of the teleological and causal aspects of literary development, and of cultural and social processes: "There is no cause in the sense of the natural sciences, i.e., the state of culture does not lead to one effect but to a number of possibilities, which condition successive development and exist in inner tension."(109)
Undoubtedly Czech Structuralism, by taking account of the inner dynamics of contradictions, and the multiple possibilities of further development, overcame a vulgar conception of causality and contributed to the development of dialectical methodology in the social sciences. On the other hand, positivistic Evolutionism was not effectively overcome in Vodika's 1942 paper for lack of a deeper analyses of the concept of development and of such specific categories as e.g., change, time classification, historical line, evolutionary process, and dynamics.
The structurally oriented activity of the Prague Linguistic Circle was terminated at the end of 1948; from the beginning of the 50s Structuralism was unambiguously rejected by the official Stalinist ideology, and Mukaovský disclaimed Structuralism in 1951.(110) However, objective papers on Czech theoretical and methodological structural thought were written in Czechoslovakia at the end of the 50s. The book of Kvtoslav Chvatík about literary theoretician and historian Bedich Václavek (Bedich Václavek and Development of Marxistic Aesthetics, 1958) dealt with the relation of Czech Structuralism to the left-wing avant garde.
Oleg Sus (1924-1972), after 40s at the University in Brno, published many excellent papers dealing with semantic problems in the history of Czech aesthetics based on the heritage of Czech Structuralism. Sus rejected a unilateral deduction of Czech Structuralism from Russian Formalism; at the same time he showed Czech Structuralism's own evolution from the traditions of Form Aesthetics of the nineteenth century. He elaborated a deep and complex analysis of the category of development from the point of view of the literary process. In the article "Point and Field",(111) he demonstrated the need to differentiate regarding the concept of development between the broader sense of every change in literary structure and the narrower sense of motion from lower to higher, from simple to more complicated, from "less" to "better" function--in order to devote particular attention to development that involves real innovation. In those innovations new procedures and new relations between levels and connections with the non-literary world occur and energize which have a relatively high level of improbability and involve surprise. They are distinguished by the low level of probability that they be deduced from existing structures.
The conception of development, according to Sus, also involves the gradual realization of certain possibilities from a certain complex of potentialities. Here, the degree of innovation is smaller, the higher the level of predetermination (like a flower developing from a flower bud). The scientifically founded conception of literary development must take into account of feedback process changes, the so called motif's regress, like an antipode of innovation's progress. With recent literary and scientific Neo-structuralism and Post-modernism, Sus includes in the notion of structure even moments of discontinuity and destructuralization.
ROBERT KALIVIDA, ET AL
Kalivoda's philosophical thought represents a characteristic synthesis of some methodological conceptions of Czech Structuralism, engaging suggestions from Freudian psychoanalysis and from Marxist Avant Garde Art--as is noted in the chapter dealing with Czech Marxism. Mukaovský's definition of structure as the energy of objectivized meaning led him to look for certain parallels with Marx's thesis about the "essential powers" (Wesenskräfte).
Kalivoda underscored that the anthropological constant has nothing in common with man's metaphysical essence. What is constant in man is comprehended as man's constant structure. Kalivoda's use of psychoanalysis accented the conception of biopsychical energy, which is objectivized in a work of art and whose character is determined by its structure. Kalivoda considered biopsychic energy as ultimately a material factor, "the energy of this inner instinct drives a person into permanent conflict with reality". Hence, man's being is not only "a point of intersection of various influences, but it functions as a basic motor unit". Consequently, Marx's conception of freedom appears as "libertarian", directed to the versatile liberation of man's personality.
Some suggestions regarding the structuralist conception of relations between a work of art, on the one hand, and the creative activity of the human subject, on the other, were elaborated in the 60s, particularly in the works of Kvtoslav Chvatík and Milan Jankovi. Milan Jankovi enriched the heritage of "classic" Czech Structuralism through writing about Kant's aesthetics and Heidegger's philosophy of the being of the work of art.(112) Jankovi drew upon Kant's well-known thesis that the world is not simply given to us, but it is opened for us by our activity, by a performance of the human subject. In this light he tried to overcome the formalistic early structuralistic orientation to pure analysis of the formal structure of the text through attending to its relation to reality: "This contact with reality comes in the moment of creation, which allows us to feel the reality imagined in a work, formed by a work as the beginning or foundation of a sense".
Man finds his own freedom in an aesthetic experience, based on a purposeless view of things. In the experience of freedom the productive imagination returns to the existence of things before cognition: to the accord between the being of man searching for its determination and being itself. Inspired by the aesthetic meditations of M. Merleau-Ponty, M. Heidegger and J. Patoka, Jankovi formed the conception of a work of art as a sense activity which opens man's being before the whole of being.
Contrary to Gadamer's conception which substantially underestimated the aesthetic function of a work of art, Jankovi demonstrated the specific and irreplaceable value of the aesthetic attitude which, in its assumption of thing and form, "saves for man the moment which is lost in other attitudes: the moment of stopping before a pure phenomenon where we renew our primary contact with the being of things and with our primary question". The combination of the methodological conceptions of Czech Structuralism with the philosophical suggestions, especially Jan Patoka's aesthetic attitude as our capacity to enable being to appear, enabled Jankovi to develop a substantially deeper comprehension of the basis and sense of a work of art than that afforded by the traditional formalist and structuralist theories in the inter-war period.
In this context, it is possible to treat problems relating to the concretization of a literary work and the suggestions of Czech Structuralism for a contemporary hermeneutically-orientated aesthetics of perception. It was Roman Ingarden, the excellent representative of Polish phenomenological philosophy, who first articulated the concept of concretization. But, as he comprehended the structure of a work of art statically and in isolation, he did not take into consideration either the dynamics of the total literary process or the changes of social structure in the various periods of its reception. Felix Vodika added these dimensions in his paper, "The Literary History, Its Problems and Tasks in Our Time". Thus, in its theory of reception, Czech structuralism, in contrast to Ingarden, showed the need to conceive the structure of a work of art as part of a higher structure of literary development and, at the same time, in connection with the so-called collective awareness of the literary public.
Miloslav ervenka has shown, that in interpreting a text we must take into account the meaning of collective awareness, cultural wholes and supra-individual cultural contexts.(113) We must take account of semantic interpretation at all layers and levels of a work of art and in intersubjective codes and tendencies, and we must join both the levels of a text and the corresponding elements of collective consciousness in an homogeneous structural, theoretical model within the process of semantic unification. At the same time, it is evident that not only modern hermeneutics, but also Czech Structuralism admits a significant function for the so-called collective awareness and traditions in the interpretation of the work of art, as was shown in Mukaovský's paper "Aesthetic Function, Norm and Value as Social Facts".
The theoretical conceptions of literary tradition and the concretization of a work of art in the works of J. Mukaovský and F. Vodika made basic intellectual contributions to the post-modernistic aesthetics of reception of the noted German literary historian, Hans Robert Jauss. Under the influence of these representatives of Czech aesthetic thought, Jauss evolved his basic thesis about the process character of a work of art and in consequence of this formed his opinion that the reality of a work of art is inseparable from its effect upon its readers.(114)
Karel Kosík's book Dialectics of the Concrete also contributed to Jauss' aesthetics of reception. The social dimension of a work of art, according to Kosík, consists in its ability to be not only "a witness to an era", but also "a constitutive element of man's social being": "The life of a work of art depends on mankind's life as a producing and perceiving subject. . . . The work proves its vitality by communicating the relations and conditions of its origin. The work lives as long as it has influence."(115)
In his book Dialectics of the Concrete, Kosík understood the problems and life of the work of art, or let us say of the life of a philosophical text as consisting in its ability to be a source of new interpretations in various historical periods. H.R. Jauss, under Kosík's influence, underscored the need to conceive the history of arts as a process of the creation and reception of works of art, where "dialectical structures of question and response mediate between the past and the present."
Kosík's reflections in Dialectics of the Concrete have contributed not only to the development of the aesthetics of reception, but have shown also the mutual inspiration of the hermeneutic and structural conception of the influence of action on literary works and works of art. The actuality and life of a work of art consist, according to Kosík, in its dialectic character, in the analogy between social, cultural and individual psychological contradictions and conflicts in various historical periods, and indeed, in the continuous enrichment of art and theoretical cognition, of historical and everyday experience, through objective activity.
Transferred and traded information, motifs, symbols and archetypes also promote the text's understanding in different historical periods. But these supra-individual cultural wholes are once again being interpreted and over interpreted. They obtain new meaning and concretization in connection with the structural development of society, as well as with changes in aesthetic attitudes, man's imagination, sensibilities and emotions. There appears, at a text's reception, a specific intermediation between its meaning's structure, on the one hand, and, on the other, the vision of reality or "world vision" of the concrete subject in the understanding process.
At the same time, the theoretical conceptions of Czech structuralistic literary and philosophical thinking show that the so-called social dimension of the text is not only an external factor. It is the result of a complicated interaction between the author's creative activity, the ability of the text's reader to understand the dialectical relation between the social and cultural structures of the period of the text's origin's, on the one hand, and the concrete social situation, on the other. The comprehension of the text's social dimension also enables one to find its inner dynamic organizing principle, creating both the meaning structure of the literary work and the cultural activity of man.
Western literary science and aesthetics first took over the theoretical suggestions of Czech structuralism in the sphere of the interpretation and reception of a text or of art in the 70s and 80s of this century. It is regrettable that the works of J.L. Fischer, F. Vodika, R. Kalivoda, O. Sus, K. Kosík and other representatives of Czech structuralistic thinking were withheld from the official scientific and cultural life of Czechoslovakia itself during this period. In spite of that fact, Czech Structuralism, by its world, scientific and national connections, as well as by its own Czech contribution, maintains a prominent place in the development of modern European thinking.(116)
One must then consider the '30s as a turning point in Czech Structuralism's development, because it reached its significant formulation in that period, especially in the works of J.L. Fischer. In another place the orientation of Josef Tvrdý to the theory of emergent development is noted.
JOSEF LUDVÍK FISCHER (1894-1973)
Josef Ludvík Fischer participated in Czech philosophical life in the early '20s.(117) He intended to relate his criticism of Positivism to an effort to reach his own philosophical position, which focused not only on epistemology and ontology, but also on sociology.(118)
This was confirmed by Fischer's publications in the '20s and '30s: Über die Zukunft der Europäischen Kultur (Münich, 1929), O neklidu dneka (On Current Unrest, 1930), Zrcadlo doby (Mirror of the Era, 1932), Tetí íe (The Third Empire, 1932), ád kapitalistický a skladebný (Capitalistic and Structural Orders, 1933), Krise demokracie I-II (The Crisis of Democracy I-II, 1933). His most systematic book, Základy poznání (Foundations of Knowledge, 1931), was intended as the first volume of Soustava skladebné filosofie na podklad zkuenosti (Principles of a Structural Philosophy Based Upon Experience. All show Fischer absorbed in the social problems evoked by the great economic crisis of the capitalist world and connected to the moral and institutional crisis of the democratic countries. He traced these to the mutual relation between modern European rationality in general and philosophy in particular, on the one hand, and, on the other, the formation of a world by the conscious subject acting in society. Fischer considered that the narrow, mechanistic manner of thinking had fatefully marked not only philosophy (positivism and other orientations of thought at the beginning of this century) and natural science, but also technology and above all the entire realm of social praxis.
Fischer's work between the Wars had five main dimensions: first, it was above all a sharp criticism of the one-sided "quantitative" rationalism (naturalism) to which positivism also succumbed; second, it was then necessary to defend philosophy from the naturalistically conceived science; third, it was necessary consequently to advance the "qualitative" over the "quantitative"; fourth: in the social sphere Fischer identified Capitalism as corresponding to the "quantifying" mechanistic philosophy"; finally he tried to overcome these philosophical and social problems.
Socialism could not overcome capitalism because it itself is a product of quantifying thought and naturalism. Hence, it was necessary to turn to structural philosophy and to adapt the structures of society. Thus, an emphasis upon the dynamic structure of reality became the unifying framework of Fischer's philosophy. This appeared at the beginning of the '30s, when Fischer, in connection with his structural philosophy, rejected noetic subjectivism which had brought him close to Pragmatism and had characterized his early works.(119) This change enabled him to take the idea of order and structure as a logical hypothesis, even though subjectivism never quite disappeared from Fischer's works.(120)
Fischer sharply rejected the mechanical character of European naturalism; hence, with Husserl, he held a substantially negative evaluation of Descartes and of post-cartesian science and philosophy. Naturalism impoverished reality and abandoned the effort to explain the origin of anything new. Following Bergson he saw this rationalism as becoming effective only after something new had appeared, for the natural laws it developed were but the statistical averages of action which already had taken place.
Fischer understood science and philosophy, including his own, instrumentally. He used conceptual instruments other than classical mechanistic science and its related philosophies, building upon structures, relations, wholes, hierarchies and the conception of order.(121) In theses terms he interpreted the world in a dynamic and qualitative manner as permanently creating new order from chaos.(122) Fischer assumed a dynamic ideal for the development of separate levels and forms.
Some possibilities contained in individual levels are to a certain extent transferred in the sense that new possibilities and new levels of development can arise after an at least partial fulfillment of the possibilities contained in older and lower levels of development. These individual levels or "existential modes" are not mutually transferable, but are connected as parts in a whole. That is how we can speak about the entirety and unity of reality. Each lower sphere creates the conditions for a higher sphere; each sphere has its own order, but does not negate the order of lower spheres; higher spheres as richer are bound by a greater number of relations and are more fragile. As all parts fulfill specific functions, the discovery of reality's static and dynamic moments is a task of analyzing junctures. Thus, the conception of junction should be added to such often central concepts as system, entirety and structure.
Fischer conceived reality structurally; but in contrast to modern structuralism, he stressed its qualitative and dynamic character. He found a way out of conceiving society and culture simply as fixed structure by emphasizing the process of cultural development "as a consequence of spontaneous activity directed primarily to the qualitative development of mutually realizing individuals".(123) He introduced the conception of "developing" and "conserving" principles, as forces immanent to every social formation, which try to maintain and if possible to extend the existence of this formation. To a considerable extent these forces appear to be blind; the unity of a society is created either unconsciously by their mutual tension or consciously by human influence. Fischer's interpretation of society's development was an effort to identify this conscious influence.
On this basis, he constructed his idea regarding the possibility of influencing society's development in the future. His dynamic and to a certain extent pluralistic point of view brought him to a certain, though not absolute relativism. It enabled him to evaluate the development of culture and to state that European culture is in a crisis whose source is its mechanistic conception of the world aimed at economic efficiency by means of abstraction. In contrast to many other philosophers and culturologists, Fischer thought that Europe must overcome this crisis by itself rather than by adopting the values of foreign culture.(124)
Fischer's ideas about overcoming the European cultural crisis are closely connected with his idea of structural philosophy. Although he considered Socialism in the postwar period--in contrast to the prewar period--to be a possible new society, and although he was obliged to use Marxistic terminology in the '50s and '60s (which facilitated some aspects of his philosophy), he considered a structurally conceived society to be the way out of crisis. This must be done by science which is able to overcome its quantitativist and Mechanist character in order to attend to the qualitative dimension. This will lead to replacing impersonal relations by personal ones, to deepening man's perceptions of personal relations in the society. It will enrich man's perception of the world in both qualitative and quantitative manners and lead to establishing new techniques more in keeping with the new manner of thinking.(125) These meditations from 1967 showed that crisis was the permanent theme of Fischer's work and that he was convinced that the solution to this crisis lay in a new structural comprehension of the world and of the society based on a newly conceived science. According to Fischer, the European cultural crisis cannot be solved by simply applying mechanistic science or by escaping, e.g., into religion.(126)
Comparing Fischer's philosophical thinking with Modern Structuralism, on the one hand, we see convergences and connections, above all in his ability to see all reality as complexly structured and hierachical, and at the same time as a whole entirety controlled rather by its own inner laws than by external impulses. On the other hand, J. Fischer's conception of reality seems more dynamic and richer, due to his attention to a qualitative dimension to the world, in which he agrees with many critics of classic science. Whereas French structuralism works with that quantitative model of science, and in a certain sense was subsidiary to positivism, Fischer turned definitely against it. But like Bergson and the other critics of the ideal of classic science, he was obliged to confess an inability to explain novelty, and his model suffers from a certain indefiniteness and some errors.