In the early decades of the twentieth century, Psychologische Forschung was primarily an outlet for researchers from the school of Gestalt psychology. Otto Selz, whose views were closer to those adopted in the cognitive/information-processing revolution in psychology that began in the 1950s, never published in Psychologische Forschung. However, his work was the subject of a negative evaluation in the journal in a book review by Wilhelm Benary, which was followed by critical assessments published elsewhere by Selz and Karl Bühler of a chapter of Kurt Koffka’s. A lengthy rebuttal from Koffka then appeared in Psychologische Forschung. In the present paper, we describe Selz’s system and Benary’s assessment of it. We then explain the relevant aspects of Koffka’s book chapter (in: Dessoir M (ed) Die Philosophie in ihren Einzelgebieten. Ullstein, Berlin, 1925) and the strong critiques of it by Bühler and Selz in 1926, followed by details of Koffka’s (Psychol Forsch 9:163–183, 1927) response. This part of the history of psychology is of significance to contemporary psychology on several levels. We have embedded this episode against the historical backdrop of Selz’s life and tragic end.