Multistable FiguresOn the Critical Potential of Ir/Reversible Aspect-SeeingVienna: Turia + Kant, 2014
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Cite as: Christoph F. E. Holzhey, ‘Introduction’, in Multistable Figures: On the Critical Potential of Ir/Reversible Aspect-Seeing, ed. by Christoph F. E. Holzhey, Cultural Inquiry, 8 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2014), pp. 07–21 <>

IntroductionChristoph F. E. HolzheyORCID


Multistable figures offer an intriguing model for arbitrating conflicting positions. Moving back and forth between the different aspects under which something can be seen, one recognizes that mutually contradictory descriptions can be equally valid and that disputes over the correct account can be resolved without dissolving differences or establishing a higher synthesis. Yet, the experience of a gestalt switch also offers a model for radical conversions and revolutions – that is, for irreversible leaps to incommensurable alternatives foiling ideals of rational choice while providing the possibility and necessity of decision. Accentuating the temporal dimensions of multistable figures, this multidisciplinary volume illuminates the critical potentials and limits of multistability as a complex figure of thought.

Keywords: Aesthetics; aspect seeing; critical thinking; figure of thought; heuristic; knowledge, theory of; multistable figures: multistability; science

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