The philosophical foundations

Analysis, processing and representation of knowledge

Univ. Prof. i.R. Dr. Josef Zelger at the IX. Internationalen GABEK Symposium

The methodology of GABEK® – developed by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Josef Zelger – is based on philosophical concepts of explanation, understanding, learning and Gestalt-building.

Responsible development and use of knowledge systems is of great significance in our society. Yet information processing in an automatic and technical mode increases the difficulty of managing knowledge processing systems in relation to the individuals . Merely technical information processing makes a comprehensive and holistic understanding hard to achieve and promotes arbitrary decisions.
To counter such trends, we ask: How is it possible to evade technical and structural constraints by estimating the credibility and relevancy of information? How can transparency be secured? How can social organizations manage conceptual knowledge systems and technical information systems, so that the fundamental needs of those concerned can be understood?


Explanation – Understanding – Learning – Linguistic Gestalt building


To justify the core strategies or goals of an organization it is necessary to explain them on the basis of assumptions, values, experiences or norms of the concerned individuals. Using statements from employees, clients, experts or other individuals, small but meaningful text groups are built, which justify the core strategies and goals. The text groups must be consistent, must express meaningful connections between the topics, and should be founded on the experiences of the concerned individuals. Using GABEK, unsorted verbal data are structured in this way providing assistance to  decision makers in explaining their decisions.


For complex situations, understanding must not only be able to explain details, but must also arrange the explained details in a larger context. This enables decision makers to point to a larger context for each statement or decision they make, a context that shows that the statement is necessary and can be used for further patterns of explanation, orientation or action.


Similarly to the Gestalt building process of perception, the verbal data of respondents are lapped , networked and ordered systematically with the GABEK method. They are structured logically and hierarchically to form a “gestaltentree” such that all statements of the gestaltentree (with exception of the verbal raw data)  can be explained through text groups  and that all the statements (with exception of the highest results of the gestaltentree)  can be understood . In this way GABEK leads to a holistic understanding of the total situation.
The gestaltentree represents complex situations insofar as verbal data are available. Explications of partial texts answer the question, “Why do you believe that?” to aid discussion and debate or the discovery of core values..  The broadened context answers the question of relevance, “Why is this important to you and for which possible applications?)

Linguistic Gestalt building

The theory of linguistic gestalten was developed analogously to the theory of perception of gestalten by Carl Stumpf. Linguistic gestalten are consistent text groups fulfilling particular formal and semantic rules. The statements are structured logically and hierarchically, and together build a meaningful whole. The resulting gestaltentree is a holistic representation of the overall situation evinced by available verbal data.

Decision makers and employees of an organization can use the gestaltentree for learning. Decision makers can respond to requests for reasons and answer questions about aims and applications, and are thus able to communicate strategies in a transparent mode. As a consequence, employees and those concerned can comprehend decisions and are more  ready to co-operate with the implementation process.

The gestaltentree provides a quick overview of the overall situation as well as answers to specific questions regarding details. The basis of the gestaltentree is unsorted texts, most often from interviews. These texts express opinions and evaluations of the respondents and contain rich experiential knowledge, which is represented by the gestaltentree in a logical, comprehensible arrangement.


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