Is human psychology rooted in idealism

Between idealism and psychologism

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. Max Dessoir (1867-1947) - About the person

3. The context
3.2. Psychological aesthetics
3.2.1. The antipode - Georg W. F. Hegel
3.2.2. Gustav Theodor Fechner
3.2.3. Wilhelm Wundt
3.2.4. Theodor Lipps
3.3. Historicism, criticism of psychologism, objectivism
3.1 Psychologism
3.3.1. Wilhelm Dilthey
3.3.2. Edmund Husserl
3.4 The institutionalization of the arts
3.4.1. Literary studies
3.4.2. Art history
3.4.3. Musicology
3.4.4. Theater studies

4. On the way to a theory of aesthetics and general art history
4.1 The PhD: Karl Philipp Moritz as Aesthetist (1888)
4.2 Schiller's Fragment: The Ship (1889)
4.3 In Gerhart Hauptmann (1895)
4.4. Preliminary considerations on a general art history with Herrmann Hettner, Konrad Fiedler and Hugo Spitzer

5. The main work: Aesthetics and general art history (1906)
First main part - aesthetics
5.1 The history of modern aesthetics
5.2 The principles of aesthetics
5.3 The aesthetic object
5.4 The aesthetic impression
5.5 The aesthetic categories
Second main part - general art history
5.6. The artist's work
5.7. Origin and structure of art
5.8. Sound art and facial expressions
5.9. Word art
5.10. Space art and visual art
5.11. The function of art

6. The expansion and remodeling of the theory - essays
6.1. Skepticism in Aesthetics (1907)
6.2. Objectivism in Aesthetics (1910)
6.3. The Bismark National Monument (1912)
6.4. Address at the first Aesthetists Congress (1913)
6.5. Goethe's Faust. For the 1st and 2nd part (1914)
6.6. The new mysticism and the new art (1920)
6.7. Address at the second Aesthetists Congress (1924)
6.8. The drama in drama (1925)
6.9. On musical creation, copying and criticizing (ca.1926)
6.10. Address at the third Aesthetists Congress (1927)
6.11. About the connection of disjointed works of art (ca.1927)
6.12. The art forms of philosophy (1928)

7. Reception of the theory

8. Summary and conclusion

9. Bibliography
9.1. Dessoirs works
9.2. Secondary literature
9.3. Special source material

1 Introduction

The philosopher and psychologist Max Dessoir has been almost completely forgotten today - wrongly, as I would like to show. Apart from a little pamphlet on the life and work of Dessoir, which appeared in 1929, there is1, no monographs on him. There is also a lack of essays devoted to his work. It is all the more astonishing that after intensive research one finds a relatively large number of encyclopedia entries that honor Dessoir. Especially in older philosophy and aesthetics reference works you will find what you are looking for under his name or the keyword, general art history ‘. In more recent art history manuals you can also find information about his person and the historical idea of ​​a general art history. So far, however, there has been no more intensive examination of Dessoir's ideas. It is high time to catch up on this, especially within philosophy, because you can learn from Dessoir how to philosophize in an undogmatic and open-minded manner without having to deny your own tradition (s).

In Dessoir's theory, various theoretical traditions and constellations are reflected in a unique way. This results in two arguments, 1.) a historical and 2.) a systematic, which justify why one should even deal with it:

1.) The theory illustrates very well the problem-laden scientific-historical situation around 1900; she thinks about her time in the Hegelian sense. In my opinion, two scientific paradigm shifts take place around 1900:

a) First paradigm shift: If philosophical aesthetics had dominated research in the arts since the second half of the 18th century, around 1900 the art studies that were establishing themselves and institutionalizing gradually took over the helm. There are disputes over areas of competence between the two parties, the philosophical aesthetes and the art scholars.

b) Second paradigm shift: A change is also taking place within philosophical aesthetics itself. While idealistic aesthetics were decisive until the last third of the 19th century, psychological aesthetics have been more and more important since the 1870s. By 1900 at the latest, the latter clearly determined the philosophical-aesthetic scene. Both schools, idealistic aesthetics and psychological aesthetics, now lead disputes about the "only correct approach".

2.) Since basically nothing has changed in the situation from 1900 to the present day and the problems associated with it have lost none of their topicality, reading and discussing Dessoir's theory can also be systematic. Even today, the old opponents ‘- a) philosophical aesthetics vs. art studies and b) idealistic aesthetics vs. psychological aesthetics (or art psychology) - are unreconciled.

a) In the main, contemporary philosophical aesthetics differ from contemporary art studies in terms of goals. Roughly speaking, it can be said that philosophical aesthetics in general is still geared towards timeless and essential laws of art, while the individual art sciences concentrate on researching specific historical and systematic facts and dates from specific areas of art.
b) Modern idealistic aesthetes - usually philosophers who follow the tradition of Hegelian aesthetics - plead for the primacy of a purely conceptual-theoretical definition of the subject area art (= aesthetics from above). In contrast, contemporary psychological aesthetes and art psychologists - mostly natural scientists interested in art (psychologists, cognitive scientists, biologists) or scientifically-oriented art scholars (music psychologists, literary psychologists, etc.) - limit themselves to an empirical (experimental, statistical, etc.) approach to certain forms of Art perception or processing (= aesthetics from below).

Dessoir is involved in this twofold paradigm shift ad 1.) and discusses legitimation, method and discipline problems, which ad 2.) are still relevant today. In his time he was caught between two stools in every respect: between philosophical aesthetics and the arts, and between idealistic and psychological aesthetics.

By contrasting the approaches in such a polarizing way, I naturally run the risk of generalizing very much; on closer inspection, the transitions turn out to be fluid. Unfortunately, this problem cannot be avoided due to the lack of space and time. I try to cushion it with an overview-like reconstruction of the historical circumstances. The structure of the thesis is designed accordingly:

In the second part - following the introduction - I discuss Dessoir's personal and academic career in a relatively detailed manner. This seems necessary to me because it cannot be assumed that it is known. I also believe that knowing the biography of a theorist is helpful in understanding his considerations.

In the third part, the general and particular context in which Dessoir moves is examined. First of all, it should be clarified what the concept of psychologism is all about in the context of philosophy (I assume that what is meant by idealism is generally known). From there it will become understandable what is new about psychological aesthetics, or to what extent it differs from idealistic aesthetics. In order to at least echo the idealistic aesthetics, space should be given to the theory of its protagonist Georg W. F. Hegel. This is followed by the presentations of the three most important psychological-aesthetic theories (Gustav Theodor Fechner, Wilhelm Wundt and Theodor Lipps). They are followed by descriptions of the philosophical approaches of Wilhelm Dilthey and Edmund Husserl. Both have had a lasting impact on Dessoir's understanding of philosophy - first Dilthey as an academic teacher and supporter, later Husserl in his role as the rising star and savior of philosophy. The key words that are associated with both in different ways are historicism, criticism of psychologism, and objectivism. In order to show the beginnings of the establishment and institutionalization of modern art studies, the developments in art history as well as literature, music and theater studies should also be indicated.

In the fourth part of my master’s thesis, texts come up that must be regarded as the forerunners of Dessoir's main work Aesthetics and General Art Studies (1906), not least because he summarizes them together with later texts in the book Contributions to General Art Studies published in 1929. In general, this book provides me - in addition to the main work from 1906 and the doctorate from 1889 - the selection of thematically relevant articles to which I refer. Since Dessoir has published an extremely large number of aesthetic and art-scientific articles (in newspapers and magazines, some of which are no longer accessible today), I think it makes sense to limit the material. In addition, he obviously considered the selection himself representative, as the compilation in the contributions shows. The above-mentioned doctorate from 1889 is the first text that is viewed in the fourth part. It includes the portrayal of Karl Philipp Moritz as an esthete. The essay Schiller's Fragment: Das Schiff, published in the same year (1889), as well as the essay by Gerhart Hauptmann published six years later (1895) complete the picture of the early Dessoir and show that he earned his first spurs with aesthetic-historical and art-scientific work ' . In addition, reference should be made to some preliminary considerations on a general art history that were made in that period - independently of Dessoir - by Herrmann Hettner, Konrad Fiedler and Hugo Spitzer.

In the fifth and most extensive part of the present work, Dessoir's main work is presented. I use his chapter headings and go through the individual sections of the book one by one. Dessoir calls the two main parts of his work, roughly equal in size, aesthetics and general art history. This fact alone suggests that he is trying, on the one hand, to tie in with the tradition of philosophical aesthetics and, on the other hand, to create an equivalent inspired by the arts.

Part six of my work summarizes essays that Dessoir wrote in the years after 1906. As I said, they are taken from the anthology Contributions to General Art Studies from 1929. The essay Skepticism in Aesthetics appeared in 1907, one year after the main work was published. It marks the skeptical climax of Dessoir's already dubious way of thinking. The following essays present themselves with similar problem-conscious content, but with a more confident basic tenor: Objectivism in Aesthetics (1910), The Bismark National Monument (1912), Address at the First Aesthetists' Congress (1913), Goethe's Faust. Part 1 and 2 (1914), The New Mysticism and the New Art (1920), Address at the Second Aesthetists' Congress (1924), The Drama in Drama (1925), On musical creation, copying and criticizing (approx . 1926), address at the third Aesthetists Congress (1927), On the connection of unrelated works of art (approx. 1927) and The Art Forms of Philosophy (1928). Dessoir's inclination towards aesthetic objectivism can be found in all of these essays, i.e. that he always gives primacy to aesthetic-artistic objects in the investigation of what art is, starting from them and coming back to them. This preference is already indicated in his earlier works and in the main work itself, but not as explicitly as in the later essays. Because of his general theoretical tendency, Dessoir describes his own activities from a certain point in time as an attempt to design an art ontology.

The question of the extent to which his efforts are fruitful and carried on by others is dealt with in the seventh part of my master's thesis, which I call the reception of the theory. So much in advance: there is a modest history of reception. I have picked out two students who take on the basic ideas of Dessoir: Kaarle S. Laurila and Emil Utitz.

The work is concluded in the eighth part by a synopsis of the lines of argument. The development of Dessoir's theory is summarized once again and, based on its reconstruction, a critical-systematic outlook is dared. - Critical? Yes, critical of Dessoir's theory in particular and of philosophical aesthetics in general.

In my work I will not - as one might suspect - sing the song of praise to the aesthetician Dessoir, but rather (selectively) take him to court. However, I do not want to show that he is behind the "great philosophical aesthetes" of the history of philosophy; Rather, it is my aim to indicate the limits of his power of argumentation, which in turn are conditioned by 1.) the state of aesthetic research of the time and 2.) the general limitations of philosophical-aesthetic argumentation.

However, I will not be able to discuss the last two points in detail, because the actual topic of my work is the presentation of Dessoir's theory. The aim is not to skimp on quotations; On the one hand, to demonstrate Dessoir's ability to produce concise and stylish expression, on the other hand, to use the advantage of his pointed style of writing, because it would be a wasted effort in many places to summarize his already compressed and precise formulations.

One more word about what goes without saying: Although I value the most comprehensive possible presentation of Dessoir's theory and its context, I will still have to prove 'courage to gap' - in line with Dessoir's motto that “the ability to leave behind is only underestimated by a wrong conscientiousness [becomes]"2.

2. Max Dessoir (1867-1947) - About the person

Max Dessoir was born on February 8, 1867 in Berlin. His early childhood is marked by illness and joylessness and, according to him, "does not need to be mercilessly brightened up"3. When he was six years old, his father, the court actor Ludwig Dessoir, died. The boy knows little about him; Ludwig Dessoir, on the other hand, is best known to the public interested in art as “one of the most important German tragedies of the 19th century [...]. Every story of the theater names its name as one of the greats in the realm of the art of acting "4. Dessoir's mother, Auguste Dorethea Dessoir, “remains in poverty and is burdened with debts” after the death of her husband.5 That is why some "well-meaning men and good-hearted women" care6 about the boy, among them respected personalities of Berlin society.

The court actor Theodor Liedtcke, for example, introduced the deceased colleague's boy to the theater:

“It began with some Berlin court actors, above all Theodor Liedtcke, taking care of the fatherless boy, incidentally under urgent warnings, just not to take up their profession. In the house of my fatherly friend, Rudolph Peters, nothing was talked about as fondly and frequently as the theater. [...] Uncle Rengert [...] gave me [...] occasional theater tickets [...] as long as I was a pupil and student. For years I had been granted free access to the performances of the Royal Theater ”.7

The close contact with the theater naturally has a formative effect. But even though Dessoir felt closely connected to the art of acting from the beginning, he did not develop any ambitions for acting: "From childhood on, I had the greatest desire to see theater, but not the slightest urge to act."8

Instead, he becomes active in the field of music: at the age of ten he begins to play the violin. Apparently he is gifted because he makes rapid progress and even receives "a beautiful instrument as a present from the old Kaiser Wilhelm".9 The aged Dessoir expresses himself as follows about the relationship to his instrument:

“Our relationship was very happy in my youth; Later, when I slacked off in my advertisements - dominated by the lady science and the witch philosophy - the love of the violin also cooled down, and gradually the fanatic became aloof.After all, for six decades I played diligently, played chamber music, occasionally gave lessons, occasionally sat in the orchestra and gained so much experience with the instrument [...] ”.10

Dessoir attended the Kaiserliche Wilhelmsgymnasium in Berlin from pre-school to high school. The director of this school is Otto Kübler11who, in "a strictly humanistic sense"12 directs. The school is considered "overly pious"13, Dessoir's biographer Christian Herrmann even attests to a “one-sided philological drill”, from which the young Dessoir “suffered greatly”14 have. Dessoir himself says: “Since we [Dessoir and his classmates] were so unsatisfied with the lessons, we came up with the idea of ​​building a second school. We practiced physics and chemistry with zeal because the natural sciences were neglected in the curriculum and, even worse, in the implementation of the curriculum, but also art history and musicology ”.15

At the age of fifteen, Dessoir began "writing a history of philosophy"16. At this time he was "seized, shaken, intoxicated by Hegel's philosophy" and was intensively concerned with the "aesthetics of the Hegelian school"17. Because he provides a German essay with literal quotations from Hegel's aesthetics, his angry German teacher lets him sit down. With another German teacher, however, he met with more understanding and from then on achieved top grades. At the Abitur exam it becomes clear that Dessoir's aesthetic and artistic interests have got around in the teaching staff. His history teacher Rethwisch begins the exam with the words: “Well, Dessoir, you are our great aesthetician. We have to act differently than usual. I suggest that we read the history of the monuments together. "18 And so the high school graduate explains the story based on the Egyptian pyramids and closes his lecture with the Brandenburg Gate. Looking back, Dessoir made a negative judgment about the years at the Berlin high school: "In the picture that I have left from my school days, the gray and dull colors predominate."19

During the last school year, a special kind of experience ignited the young man's thirst for research:

“In 1884 the Berliners were amazed by the mind reader Stuart C. Cumberland. This miracle man showed his skills at court, in front of the scholars and in front of the press; then he let the masses attend his demonstrations for dear money. I too was seized with the fever, but did not go to bed, but set about imitating Cumberland's tricks with the ease of a seventeen-year-old. It was successful to the extent that not only the classmates, but also sedate men and women were amazed by it. Even the "Daily Review" (of December 14, 1884) brought a report. "20

From this point on he deals with secret artists and secret researchers, initially more out of pure interest, but soon with enlightenment intentions. He makes contact with supposed clairvoyants, miracle healers, spiritualists etc. and becomes "a member of several spiritualist associations and other occultist societies that were basically harmless, but also unspeakably foolish"21. Nevertheless, the young Dessoir is fascinated by these groups of people and the mystical-psychological phenomena (hypnosis, etc.) discussed there. From 1886 to approx. 1890 he wrote an unmanageable number of more or less scientific articles for relevant journals. In 1888 he even founds a society for experimental psychology with like-minded people, which tries to research the mystical sides of the psyche inductively and with scientific experiments.22 Dessoir's first book was published in 1888. It was entitled Bibliography of Modern Hypnotism. In 1890 the work Das Doppel-Ich follows, "in which the basic terms subconscious and parapsychology enter the scientific stage for the first time"23.

Parallel to these activities, Dessoir has been studying philosophy at Berlin University since 1885. From the beginning he was certain that philosophy was the right thing for him: "I knew that I had to become a philosopher, but I did not know exactly what the job was, nor how to start it."24 He mainly listens to Wilhelm Dilthey and Eduard Zeller, the two Berlin ordinaries, and attends events with Friedrich Paulsen and Adolf Lasson.

In 1889 Dessoir obtained his doctorate with the work of Karl Philipp Moritz as an aesthetician.25 He writes about the doctorate and the associated doctoral procedure:

“Dilthey had given me the wonderful task of portraying Karl Philipp Moritz as an aesthetician, and I did it well. [...] My doctoral examination did not go very well, preferably with Dilthey, because he asked me to sketch the history of the atomic concept from Democritus to Fechner, put on black glasses and let me talk for an hour; when I stopped he gave a start and said: "Very good". The solemn doctorate took place in the auditorium in front of numerous curious people and a few professors. My theses were: 'Psychology is the basis of philosophy'; , Psychology is an important foundation of criminal law ‘; "Psychology is a basis of therapy‘. "26

As can easily be seen from these theses, the interest of the "freshly minted" Doctor of Philosophy is primarily directed towards psychological questions. This interest is so great that Dessoir opts for a second degree: He studies medicine in Berlin and Würzburg with a focus on physiology and neuropathology - because at that time psychological topics are still primarily dealt with within the framework of medicine (and philosophy)27 - and obtained after eight semesters (1892) the medical doctorate with the thesis On the skin sense.

In the same year Dessoir completed his habilitation at the Berlin University in philosophy28 and starts teaching. He comments: “My first lecture was a four-hour private class on aesthetics. It took place in the summer of 1892 and had barely attracted more than a dozen listeners, but the first one to whom I entered my name in the registration book was Ernst Cassirer, later my colleague and friend. "29

In 1897, when Dessoir was thirty years old, he was given "a regular extraordinary position in the Berlin Philosophical Faculty and an annual salary of 2,400 marks - in addition to the collectively agreed housing allowance of 900 marks".30

In 1899 he married the respected soprano Susanne Triepel.31 The degree of her awareness or her artistic level can be read from the list of artists with whom she works: Bruno Hinze-Reinhold, Arthur Nikisch, Karl Straube, Max Reger etc.

A new tendency emerged in Dessoir's work around the turn of the century. Although he remains true to his main themes - aesthetics and psychology - the intellectual trends of the time also have an impact on his work:

“It is the psychologism that dominated philosophy at the time, to which Dessoir also paid homage in the 1990s. Both the general philosophical considerations from those years and the special psychological investigations were approached and thought through from this point of view. Around 1900 there was a profound change in his thinking. That year was a turning point for German philosophy. In Simmel and Husserl and other philosophers we find in these years a departure from psychologism and a turn towards objectivism. In this way Dessoir paves the way to an objectivist aesthetic, which for the first time finds a monumental representation in "Aesthetics and General Art History", published in 1906. "32

The book33 can be described as Dessoir's main work. It defines the framework for his further aesthetic studies, even if he does not have the character of a strictly systematic work.

In the same year, 1906, Dessoir founded a magazine that was also entitled Aesthetics and General Art Studies. She should:

“[...] working on a field that can be paraphrased as follows: studies on the history of aesthetics, experimental investigations into elementary conditions, research into the art of primitive peoples and children, about the work of the artist and general questions of poetics , music aesthetics and the theory of the fine arts, finally also meaningful discussions of the position that art occupies in intellectual and social life. "34

This magazine has survived to this day. It is still the only German-language periodical that deals with general questions about art in an interdisciplinary manner.35 Spurred on by initial successes, Dessoir founded the Association for Aesthetic Research in 1912.36 Under his direction, this organizes the 1st [international] congress for aesthetics and general art history in Berlin in October 191337 out. Since this scientific cooperation was interrupted shortly afterwards by the First World War, the next congress cannot take place again until 1924 in Halle. From then on, a society for aesthetics and general art studies endeavored38 to maintain contacts between researchers.

Meanwhile, in 1920 Dessoir - he has long been a nationally and internationally respected scientist - received a full professorship for philosophy and aesthetics at the University of Berlin.

"Secondary scenes" of his teaching activities are "the commercial college, the administrative academy and the adult education center"39 to Berlin. In addition, he gives lectures on the radio, "not only in Berlin, but on many broadcasters at home and abroad"40. Dessoir is a member of several cultural committees and competition bodies, and "numerous scientific societies at home and abroad"41 appoint him as a member.

From 1933 he was subjected to repression by the National Socialists who defamed him as a so-called quarter Jew. As a result, he is gradually expelled from all bodies to which he belongs. He applied for his release, which he received in December 1933. But Dessoir remains in the sights of the Nazis42: "Finally, Dr. Goebbels in his own decree every activity in the entire area of ​​the Reich Chamber of Culture. The ban ran from the ministry's cloaca maxima to all publishers, booksellers and editors. Nevertheless, my books were secretly put on the market and most of them sold out. "43

After Dessoir accepted another teaching position at the University of Frankfurt in the spring of 1947, he died on July 19, 1947 at the age of eighty in Königstein im Taunus.44

Dessoir left behind an extensive oeuvre. It includes (sometimes multi-volume) books on the history of philosophy, the history of psychology, rhetoric and aesthetics, numerous essays, newspaper articles and reviews on related topics, as well as obituaries for artists and colleagues.

3. The context

It should be evident that, despite the secret trade in Dessoir's books, the time of National Socialism and the Second World War had a detrimental effect on the dissemination of his ideas. The First World War already affected the success of the movement founded by Dessoir.45 The aim of this work is, among other things, to identify further factors that can explain why Dessoir's aesthetic and art-scientific ideas are hardly reflected in the philosophical discourses of the second half of the 20th century.

One factor can be found in the widespread departure of philosophy from so-called psychologism. Since Dessoir, on the basis of his training and his psychological work, could at first glance be regarded as the ideal type of a philosophical psychologist, it has apparently been considered superfluous to continue his thoughts in the post-psychological aesthetic debates after the Second World War to discuss. However, it was and is overlooked that his aesthetic studies go beyond what is commonly called psychological aesthetics from the start.

But what exactly is meant by the term psychologism in the philosophical context, and on which developments inside and outside philosophy is it based (3.1.)? What characterizes the so-called psychological aesthetics, which are attached to psychologism, and who are its founders or most important representatives (3.2.)? Finally, the question arises why psychologism and with it psychological aesthetics lose their influence in the context of philosophy (3.3.)?

3. 1. Psychologism

Paul Jannsen introduces the term as follows:

“P [sychologism] is a polemical term that is particularly applicable to philosophical positions of the post-idealistic 19th century, which before the constitution of psychology as an individual science assigned the task of laying the foundations for other sciences. The term P [sychologism] can be used universally and relate to different areas: metaphysics, knowledge, logic, ethics, aesthetics (P [sychologism] in the broad sense). But it can also serve to characterize a certain conception of logic (logical P [sychologism], P [sychologism] in the narrow sense) ”.46

With his definition, Gottfried Gabriel emphasizes the meaning of the term for the time after the constitution of psychology as a single science:

“Psychologism [is the] general term for the view that psychology has to provide the basis of all non-natural (" humanistic ") disciplines and sciences, especially philosophy. In substance, this view goes back to British empiricism (J. Locke, D. Hume) and its method of introspection ”.47

With the reference to (British) empiricism (of the 17th and 18th centuries) Gabriel assigns psychologism to a certain philosophical tradition. It would go beyond the scope of this work to retrace this line of tradition. However, it makes sense for the following explanations to shed light on at least briefly the German empiricism of the 19th century, which takes up French and British currents, because it is closely connected with psychologism and psychological aesthetics.

Quite generally (and thus in a simplistic way) one can say of the terminus technicus empiricism that it characterizes epistemological positions for which knowledge comes only from sensory experience. The empiricism is generally contrasted with the rationalism, for which reason is the sole source of reliable knowledge.48

In the German-speaking countries, the first empirically oriented philosophical conceptions, the first empirically oriented philosophical conceptions, break out in the first half of the 19th century as a reaction to the speculative philosophy of German idealism and its spokesmen Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg WF Hegel and Friedrich WJ Schelling to attribute a fundamental character to psychology, even before its institutionalization. The most important names in this context are: Jakob Friedrich Fries, who gives the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant an empirical-psychological twist and assumes that the basis of every critique of knowledge is the analysis of one's own consciousness (e.g. in the two-volume manual of psychological anthropology or doctrine of nature of the human spirit from 1820/21); furthermore Johann Friedrich Herbart, who in his 1816 textbook on psychology and in the two-volume work Psychologie als Wissenschaft, newly founded on experience, metaphysics and mathematics from 1824/25 transfers his realistic metaphysics ‘to psychology; as well as Friedrich Eduard Beneke, whose books have such programmatic titles as empirical soul theory as the basis of all knowledge in its main features (1820) or textbook of psychology as natural science (1833).

Around the middle of the 19th century, doctors, physiologists, chemists and physicists also emerged who - also critical of German idealism - advocate a materialist worldview with enthusiastic pleadings. This movement is called German materialism or - by contemporary opponents - vulgar materialism. The German-speaking materialists go beyond the intentions of French positivism and English neo-empiricism in that they are a metaphysical theory49 postulate that there is only material existence and that everything that happens in the world is exclusively materially conditioned. Their epistemological approach, according to which human cognition and action are determined solely or largely by sensory perceptions and can be traced back to sensory data, is called sensualism (a specified form of empiricism). The materialists with sensualistic epistemology deal primarily with "the way in which sensory perceptions come about, their truth and certainty as well as the explanation of general and abstract knowledge from perception".50 They are of the opinion that the psyche of a person is a tabula rasa at birth, and all knowledge that he acquires in the course of life is, strictly speaking, sensory perceptions and ideas derived from them. The founders of German materialism or sensualism are: the zoologist Carl Vogt, who in his Physiological Letters of 1847 made the famous comparison that thoughts are in the same relationship to the brain as the bile to the liver or the urine to the Kidneys'; also the physician Ludwig Büchner, who in 1855 published the book Kraft und Stoff. Published empirical-natural-philosophical studies, which had 21 editions (!) By 1904 alone; and the physiologist Jacob Moleschott, who in 1852 wrote his ideological food theory The cycle of life. Physiological responses to Liebig’s Chemical Letters are published, and which the philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach, himself one of the protagonists of the materialist movement, reviews with the winged words: 'Man is what he eats.' Helmut E. Lück writes about the underlying scientific understanding:

“Such a materialistic understanding of science was typical of the second half of the 19th century and was seen more or less as indispensable for scientific work. The functioning of the human body was according to scientific "laws", not the will of supernatural or divine powers. Hermann von Helmholtz, Emil Du Bois-Reymond, Ernst Brücke and Carl Ludwig, four leading German physiologists, physicists and physicians, had [even] founded a club in Berlin whose members had to expressly commit themselves to no other than physical-chemical forces in the organism to be accepted. "51

A connection between the empirical psychology conceptions of the philosophers and the materialistic-sensualistic views of the natural scientists is emerging. The latent consolidation of "Psychology under a different sign" is visibly taking shape.

At the same time, the natural sciences are making considerable progress, which is primarily due to their empirical and experimental methods. These progressions have a strong influence on the development of technology, the success of which is seen by the general public as evidence of the usefulness of scientific methods. However, they stand in contrast to the speculative methods of philosophy, which are thus able to justify their non-empirical, non-experimental methods or to critically examine them and thus their own practice. As a result, philosophy is split into - roughly differentiated - three camps: "In the 'forced struggle against its own superfluity' [Helmuth Plessner] philosophy becomes an ancilla scientarium as a science of science: [1] partly as a science synthesis, [2 ] partly neo-Kantian as a criticism of science, [3] partly positivistic by dissolving philosophy into science ”.52

The third camp, which tries to strengthen an orientation towards the factual or positive, does not immediately go with full consciousness and purposefully towards a "dissolution of philosophy", but for the time being looks for a possible foundation of philosophy. From now on we are looking for a science that is methodically oriented towards the so-called hard natural sciences and which can take on the fundamental role of philosophy. Many believe that they are discovering this science in psychology, which was constituted or institutionalized from around 1880, which is already deeply rooted in the philosophical tradition and borrowed empirical-experimental methods from physics, chemistry, medicine and, above all, physiology.53 Their first results are responsible for the renewed boom in psychological topics within philosophy in the second half of the 19th century.

3.2. Psychological aesthetics

The resurgent psychological enthusiasm extends to all areas of philosophy - including aesthetics. So far, this has been dominated by speculative-idealistic approaches, especially by the aesthetics of Hegel. Its basic structure should be briefly outlined at this point, 1.) because it has an exposed position in the history of aesthetics or art philosophy and 2.) to show that it serves as a negative foil for the gradually establishing psychological aesthetics, from which this intends to set itself apart.

3.2.1. The antipode - Georg W. F. Hegel

Sometimes it is said that Hegel invented or founded modern art studies with his philosophy of art. That this is not the case is shown by Gunter Scholtz in an essay in which he illustrates the situation in Berlin around 1800 and makes it clear that at that time there were three large institutions at which different kinds of confrontations with art took place, namely practical, historical and philosophical-aesthetic or art-philosophical:

“At the Akademie der Künste, the relationship between art and science was not explosive, as the focus was not on a strict concept of science, but on art practice; for this very reason one did not get into an argument about how to talk about art appropriately. The Academy of Sciences did not get into any conflict for the opposite reason: it was about scientific knowledge, especially of classical antiquity, and compliance with scientific rules, but not about the knowledge of art as an aesthetic phenomenon. In the university at the beginning of the 19th century, however, the relationship between art and science obviously becomes delicate; one could now mutually accuse one another of missing art through science, of bypassing it. And the most important reason for this is probably that science and art had now clearly separated, their difference was recognized - at the same time, however, art in general and especially in speculative philosophy was accorded a previously unasserted importance, namely to be the epiphany of the absolute . "54

I note that already in Hegel's time there were obviously two forms of theoretical preoccupation with art and the arts - a historical and an aesthetic art-philosophical one - and therefore Hegel should not be considered the founding father of art studies and his speculative art philosophy was not the beginning of art-historical research marked, although it later strongly influenced art studies.

The speculative philosophy around 1800 - including that of Hegel's - is still completely permeated by a pronounced systematic thinking. Nevertheless, Hegel must soberly acknowledge that systemic thinking is not going well: “An age that has such a multitude of philosophical systems behind it as a past seems to have to come to that indifference which life attains after it has tried in all forms. "55 Instead of abandoning the idea of ​​explaining the world as a whole, however, Hegel embarks on another attempt. His primary interest is directed towards the absolute spirit post postulated by him.

“This spiritual-philosophical foundation is also decisive for a 'philosophy of art' - both systematically and historically. Even the earliest notes that Hegel wrote down in a system sketch about art initially sketch - without going into details - this spiritual-philosophical framework: The philosophy of art is - together with the philosophy of religion - that form in which the spirit takes the form of one 'free people', returning to the pure idea and organizing the view of God '. Even before Hegel expresses any single definition of art - or the philosophy of art - he lays this spiritual-philosophical foundation for art and aesthetics: however art is to be defined more precisely - it is always the knowledge of the spirit of itself and in it return to oneself, knowing self-relationship. "56

Against this systemic background, Hegel develops - if you will - a cultural history of art and divides its genesis into three stages.

In the first stage there is art, symbolic ‘. Historically, Hegel focuses on the art of the ancient Orient. In his opinion, art is still insignificant in the ancient Orient, i.e. symbolic. He calls the second historical stage of art, classical,. What is meant is the art of classical antiquity (Greece, Rome). For him it forms the center of his art philosophy, because in it the highest possibility of art is reached or art comes to full bloom. For him, classical art is the ideal for artistic beauty. The third and final historical stage of art is "romantic". Not only romanticism in the narrower sense is addressed here, but the entire period from the end of classical antiquity to Hegel's present; the period in which the Christian culture is formative. In his opinion, romantic art represents a departure from the ideal of classical art, because it overemphasizes the inwardness of the spirit and thus negatively negates the balance of inwardness and externality of the spirit that existed in antiquity.

Hegel can now relate the three historical stages of art to the criterion of artistic beauty: symbolic art (ancient Orient) is 'not yet', classical art (ancient Greece and Rome) is 'completion' and romantic art (Christian Occident) the 'no longer' of the beautiful in art.

The "art beautiful" is the term of the Hegelian philosophy of art, which has a special meaning, and it is deliberately used to distinguish it from the "natural beauty" - the most important concept of the Enlightenment aesthetics up to now. In doing so, Hegel restricts the subject area of ​​his investigation to the beautiful in art (although he is inconsistent when he extemporates more extensively on the beautiful in nature than on the beautiful in art57 ). Because of this limitation, from now on Hegel only speaks of a philosophy of art and not, as usual, of aesthetics.

Hegel also devotes himself to the development of a "system of the arts", where he speaks in detail about the specifics of the individual arts. However, these specifications have a high level of abstraction and are only very slightly associated with historical examples.

At this point, I would like to state five points which, as it were, provide a framework for the following explanations of this work: 1.) Hegel's reflections on art are preceded by the construction of a philosophical system into which 2.) history is integrated as an essential element of the spirit ; 3.) art is presented as part of this (intellectual) history and 4.) divided into three major epochs; 5.) Hegel differentiates art by characterizing the specific characteristics of the arts.

So Hegel connects his philosophical system (point 1) very closely with the real history of art (point 3), whereby - and that is very important! - the system or the telos of the spirit ‘has primacy. One can therefore say that with Hegel the systemic claim takes precedence over the historical one, although with him it sounds as if the relationship between system (atics) and history is conceptually balanced: “The philosophical concept of the beautiful to at least hint at its true nature for the time being , must contain the two extremes given in itself mediated by uniting metaphysical universality with the determinateness of real particularity. Only in this way is he grasped in and for himself in his truth. "58

The extraordinary influence of Hegel on the philosophical aesthetics of his time is the reason why other approaches - among them the emerging psychological aesthetics - are only hesitantly gaining ground. Nevertheless, "in the second half of the 19th century, a whole series of aesthetic concepts emerged that were based on the pattern of the exact sciences in order to elevate aesthetics to the rank of scientific"59, above all psychological conceptions. If we look at these in a differentiated manner, they reveal, in analogy to psychology itself, two methodological tendencies: one experimental and one philosophical.

Both groups share an awareness of the need for a psychological approach and a return to the origins of aesthetics (with Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten). Since the term aesthetics - derived from the Greek aisthesis - refers back to perception in the broadest sense, it makes sense for psychological aesthetes to build on psychology, because this is about to - among other things - explore the processes of perception specialize.60 With this focus of psychological aesthetics on perception, it soon becomes apparent that the main difference between it and speculative-idealistic aesthetics is the topic itself:

"The subject of speculative aesthetics as the metaphysics of art is the appearance of the absolute idea and the systematic location of its questioning, this absolute idea itself. [...] The question location [of psychological aesthetics] initially shifted from the absolute to the human psyche, to life, to finite subjectivity. The subject is no longer the utterances of the absolute; The subject is now the utterances of the soul, the testimonies of life, the objectivations of consciousness. "61

One can therefore speak of a thematic limitation of psychological aesthetics, which admittedly followers of idealistic aesthetics pejoratively interpret as reductionism. They fail to recognize that, by concretising the question in psychological aesthetics, new questions arise, e.g. "the problem of the concrete beginning: should the starting point from the object, the result of the (emotional, judging or, however, more closely interpreted) production, or should it be taken from the subject, and if the latter: from the 'receiving' or the 'creative' subject? "62 Such and similar questions had hitherto been relativized or neutralized by idealistic aesthetics and its holism of the absolute; they played a subordinate role. For the founders of psychological aesthetics, however, they are the starting point for their research.

In the following, the pioneers and most important representatives of psychological aesthetics and their conceptions will be presented - in a highly compressed form - in order to show the other side of the context in which Dessoir was socialized and which shaped his early works. In any case, he had studied Hegel diligently.

3.2.2. Gustav Theodor Fechner

The pre-school of aesthetics by the versatile physicist (and author of so-called psychophysics) Gustav Theodor Fechner, published in 1876, is today considered to be the founding publication of psychological aesthetics, although Fechner published a small work entitled On experimental aesthetics as early as 1871, which are regarded as a forerunner can.63 In preschool, Fechner demands in the form of a declaration of war on idealistic aesthetics that the process of induction and the primacy of empiricism should primarily determine aesthetic research from now on. Aesthetics should not be pursued exclusively "from above", "by descending from the most general ideas and terms to the individual", but must also "from below, by ascending from the individual to the most general"64 to be tackled. Fechner opposes the one-sidedness of philosophical aesthetics and pleads for an expansion of research to include experimental psychological methods. With their help, "laws of pleasure and displeasure with the aid of the laws of ought"65 Such regularities are characterized by the fact that they promise a predictable, i.e. similar reaction to formally determinable sensual stimuli for as many people as possible.

Fechner himself has been experimentally on the trail of aesthetic laws for many years. For example, he deals with the perception of proportions in the golden section. However, he must not be regarded as a spokesman for a purely empirically oriented aesthetic, because he is at the same time an advocate of panpsychistic metaphysics and "until the end of his life the spiritual worldview of romanticism, which had drawn him under its spell in his younger years in the form of OKEN's natural philosophy faithful [...]. Fechner's metaphysical worldview [...] is essentially characterized by the fact that it requires a mystical-speculative approach as well as a statistical-empirical one. "66

In this respect he must be seen as a mediator between idealistic speculative and psychological experimental aesthetics. The supporters of idealistic aesthetics did not perceive his concern, on the contrary, accused him of only speaking out on one side of an experimentally oriented aesthetic.

“In this respect, it is more than just playing around with historical analogies to describe FECHNER as the GALILEO of aesthetic science: With the same incomprehension with which the cardinals and papal astronomers at the time of GALILEI rejected GALILEI's request to look through the To convince Fernrohr of the correctness of his assumptions, since one can find sufficient explanations in the text anyway, the 'aesthetes from above' also encountered the imposition, the empirical surveys and statistical recordings of concrete aesthetic judgments at best to correct their deductive theoretical ideas of the To use the laws of the relationship between the aesthetic object and the aesthetic judgment. "67

3.2.3. Wilhelm Wundt

In addition to Fechner, the psychologist Wilhelm Wundt deals intensively with aesthetic problems. His main features of Physiological Psychology contain, among other things, remarks on elementary aesthetic feelings. These are "feelings that are tied to our ideas" and between "the opposites of satisfaction and displeasure"68 move. The aesthetic elementary feelings are not, as the name suggests, the ultimate elementary sensations, but rather complexes of sensation. "The elementary feeling [is] not just a sum of sensual individual feelings, but it arises from the connection between them and a resulting feeling".69

Like Fechner, Wundt sums up the concept of aesthetics very broadly based on the Greek aisthesis and, again in analogy to Fechner, makes experiments on the psychological effects of art objects (e.g. music). He is of the opinion that art objects are indeed firmly connected with the elementary aesthetic feelings that they trigger, yet subjective life interests of the recipient are mixed in with the reception process (which is contrary to the Kantian formula of `` disinterested pleasure '').

Seen in this way, the approach of experimental aesthetics à la Fechner - to start from below - is at least questioned, since the recipient's perception is determined from the beginning by more than just the object (e.g. vital interests, forms or design of perception, etc. ).70 In later work, Wundt therefore looks for an expanded approach:

“Out of all his philosophical thinking, which is based on a scientifically empirical and experimental-psychological basis, he developed the idea of ​​ethnic psychology, which he strove to make fruitful for language and religion as well as for art. This peoples-psychological view of art, with correct recognition of the errors of previous art research, wants to combine both branches of the same, to unite historical facts [art historiography] and psychological explorations [psychological aesthetics] ”.71

Apparently, Fechner and Wundt, although the fathers of psychological aesthetics, are not one-sidedly oriented towards a psychological approach to aesthetic questions. They focus on psychological aspects of the aesthetic, but only to give them broader validity. On the other hand, her immediate successor Theodor Lipps, the advocate of an exclusively psychologically oriented aesthetic, is different.

3.2.4. Theodor Lipps

The philosopher Theodor Lipps developed an aesthetic of empathy that overemphasized the psychological aspects of the aesthetic to such an extent that other aspects seem to be neglected. “The aesthetics of empathy must be distinguished from the 'aesthetics from below' insofar as it was based on a different model of 'scientification' of aesthetics. While the 'aesthetics from below' was primarily about the experimental-empirical approach, empathy aesthetics were psychological aesthetics in the narrower sense. "72

Lipps can be seen as one of the leading figures in philosophical psychologism. He firmly believes that psychological analysis of the facts of consciousness must form the basis of all science. Aesthetics, too, can only adequately determine its object - the aesthetic - psychologically:

“Aesthetics is the science of the beautiful; also implicit from the ugly. [...] In any case, beauty ‘is the name for the ability of an object to produce a certain effect in me. This effect is now [...] as an effect in me a psychological fact. Aesthetics wants to determine the nature of this effect, wants to analyze, describe and delimit it. And she wants to make them understandable. For the latter purpose it must indicate the factors which combine in me to produce such an effect; In particular, it must show the conditions that must be fulfilled for an object if it is to be able to produce this effect; and it must find the law according to which these conditions work. This task is a psychological one. Aesthetics is a psychological discipline. "73

The central concept of Lipps’s aesthetics is "empathy". Lipps is by no means the first to give the term a special aesthetic meaning, he merely updates it.74 However, his idea of ​​empathy points beyond the realm of beauty and art. For him empathy is the unified principle of perception par excellence, i.e. a basic epistemological principle. Empathy with an (aesthetic) object comes about through instinctive affect movements in the subject. What the subject feels in the act of perceiving is its own personality, which it empathically experiences in what is perceived. In this way, Lipps can completely describe the feeling of beauty as an attitude towards life.

With the principle of empathy, Lipps does not advocate naive subjectivism, but emphasizes the willingness of the cognizing subject to apperceive. Nevertheless, he has the object-relatedness of the cognitive process in mind.

“In this conception of the aesthetic act of experience as an act of apperception, to the extent that apperception is always an object-related and at the same time subject-related process, which appears neither purely from the object nor exclusively from the subject, is at the same time a limit to a one-sided objectivism as well drawn towards a one-sided subjectivism. "75

With his empathy theory, Lipps connects a clearly formulated transcendental claim: He thinks he has found a general, ahistorical psychological law of aesthetics and the perception of art. Incidentally, he shares this claim with the other representatives of psychological aesthetics (Fechner, Wundt, etc.).

3.3. Historicism, criticism of psychologism, objectivism

Parallel to psychologism in general and psychological aesthetics in particular, so-called historicism emerged from the early 19th century. The diffuse term describes the emergence of a pronounced historical awareness on a broad social level, especially in the sciences. In this context, Hegel's philosophy of history marks a first theoretical climax. The theories of Wilhelm von Humboldt and Johann G. B. Droysen are further decisive stages in the discussion about the fundamental significance of history. Wilhelm Dilthey's understanding of history is (or are) particularly important for the depiction of the background that shapes Dessoir.

3.3.1. Wilhelm Dilthey

As a teacher and mentor, Dilthey has had a major impact on Dessoir's spiritual development. In addition, it has a lasting effect on the humanities, in particular on the theory of history and historiography. Dilthey's checkered approaches to the phenomenon of history can be summarized with Joachim Thielen as follows:

“Even at the beginning of his studies, Dilthey's distinct historical interests came to light. [...] [Soon] they advance in the journalistic articles to an independent subject area in which Dilthey deals intensively with contemporary specialist history. On the other hand, he has only carried out his own historical source studies on a larger scale [...] since the 1980s. In the following years they became a real need for him, as he increasingly sought distraction from the stagnant systematic work. [...] Dilthey's approach to history and the understanding of historiographical work is subject to considerable variations. There are essentially three directions from which his views are derived. From the tradition of the philosophy of history he adopts the tendency to speculate about the regular course and the underlying connections in universal history. This, philosophical view of history ‘became more and more insignificant in the seventies, without disappearing completely. Instead, the focus is on specialist historical detailed work, which is based on the achievements of contemporary history. Next to it stands the third root of cultural-philosophical thinking, which is embodied in the theory of cultural systems and social organization, and later in the much more abstract doctrine of "experience", "expression" and "understanding". All those influencing factors remain embedded in the broad term “humanities”, from which Dilthey assigns history to its theoretical and practical importance. [...] The intensive preoccupation with cultural theory has the consequence that finally the structure-related point of view outweighs the event-related one. The terms "law", "type" and "structure" indicate themselves as the central principles of the historical conception and the historical methodology. "76

Dilthey's attempt to provide a historical foundation for the humanities, however, fails because of the "progressive expansion of his scientific interests" and the "complexity of the task"77.

For Dessoir, this circumstance will be decisive for a reorientation in the search for a possibility to establish philosophical aesthetics or general art history. However, he cannot ignore Dilthey's starting point that history is to be seen as the real foundation of the humanities and the arts. The historical relativity of world views and systems of thought, which was only hesitantly formulated in Dilthey's late philosophy, as it emerges in the writings Das Wesen der Philosophie (1907) and Types of Weltanschauung and their formation in metaphysical systems (1911), is the consequence of Dilthey's many years intensive preoccupation with history, and Dessoir too will be attacked by this "virus" which is gradually destroying philosophy.

What he also takes over from Dilthey is his positive attitude towards empiricism, but neither with Dilthey78 still flows into a pure empiricism or positivism in Dessoir. In Dilthey, for example, there are reflections on psychology that are directed against the prevailing positivist psychology of his time and tie in with Friedrich D. E. Schleiermacher's hermeneutics. “In this sense, Dilthey turns against an 'explanatory' psychology that seeks to explain psychological events by tracing them back to general, mechanically operating laws. The peculiarity of the psychic is thereby missed; it is in principle not accessible to scientific methods. On the other hand, Dilthey calls for an understanding psychology (Ideas about a descriptive and dissecting psychology, 1894). "79

Dessoir takes up this understanding psychology - at the center of which is biography research80 - but without completely putting aside the scientific-explanatory psychology.

In addition, he internalized the art theoretical and aesthetic attempts of his teacher. In addition to literary studies, he writes some small studies on aesthetics, which reveal a psychological reception and production aesthetic and which emphasize the "experience", the "expression" and the "meaning" of art.

Dilthey's urge to mediate between the isolated (humanities) specialist disciplines or to unite them is another factor that Dessoir assimilates. With him, however, the mediation request is somewhat more modest; his efforts to mediate relate primarily to the arts.

3.3.2. Edmund Husserl

Edmund Husserl's effect on Dessoir is indirect and began around the turn of the century. Husserl, who studies physics and mathematics in addition to philosophy, is doing his doctorate and habilitation with mathematical work. But from a certain point in time he feels an intellectual narrowness in the natural sciences and turns exclusively to philosophy in order to combat the predominance of the natural sciences and the worldview associated with them.

“On this he agreed with Dilthey, who also fought against the domination of the natural sciences over philosophy‘. [...] At the same time, Husserl admired the modern natural sciences, although his respect was combined with strong resistance. So his relationship with them remained ambiguous and wavering. On the other hand, his rejection of the naturalization of spirit and reason, of so-called physical objectivism in psychology, was completely clear. "81

In the Logical Investigations of 1900/1901 Husserl undertakes - like Dilthey, but with different means - a fundamental criticism of psychologism with the intention of destroying it. In addition, he tries to re-establish pure logic and develop a phenomenological theory of knowledge.

“The basic motive of his thinking can be defined as the attempt to save reason from its relativization and its own contingency. He is one of the great writers who responded to the threats, breakdowns and offenses. Threats that at that time were already deeply effective in the university's philosophy of reason. One must keep in mind how neo-Kantianism was, for example, infiltrated relativistic, positivistic, irrational in terms of philosophy of life. H [usserl's] Logical Investigations are directed against these tendencies. "82

In his famous essay Philosophy as a Strict Science of 1911, he renews the criticism of psychologism and extends it, among other things, to historicism (which he called historicism ‘), whereby his attacks are directed primarily against Dilthey:

“Certainly, world view and philosophy of world view are cultural designs that become and disappear in the flow of human development, whereby their spiritual content is definitely more motivated under the given historical circumstances. The same is true of the strict sciences. Do they therefore lack objective validity? A very extreme historian will perhaps answer in the affirmative; he will here point to the change in scientific views, how what is considered a proven theory today will be recognized as null tomorrow, how some speak of certain laws, what others are mere hypotheses and the third call vague ideas. Etc. After that, in view of this constant change in scientific views, would we really have no right to speak of the sciences not only as cultural structures but as objective units of validity? It is easy to see that historicism, carried out consistently, passes over into extremely skeptical subjectivism. The ideas of truth, theory and science, like all ideas, would then lose their absolute validity. "83

Husserl therefore demands: "The drive to research must not come from the philosophies, but from the things and problems."84 In other words: 'Back to things!' Husserl is firmly convinced that he can get closer to the 'essence' of phenomena by means of an ontological, essence view.

“In his late philosophy, Edmund Husserl explicitly characterized his transcendental phenomenology as the ultimate and ultimate founded science. [...] The criticism [Karl Mertens and other authors] [however] leads to the result that Husserl fails to provide a satisfactory, skeptical-resistant ultimate justification of transcendental phenomenology. "85

Nevertheless, the phenomenological method ascribed to Husserl occurs86 in the first half of the 20th century and grew through Martin Heidegger and other students into an independent philosophical school. That Dessoir comes into contact with her is not only probable, but certain.87 In addition, Husserl exerts an indirect influence on aesthetics, art philosophy and art science (s), which Dessoir should not have escaped.“His [Husserl's] importance for psychological aesthetics results [...] not only from the fact that very important aesthetes of our century have emerged from his school, but also from the fact that Husserl, through the attempt to dissect the philosophy, was based on false psychological assumptions to purify and to establish a new, empirical psychology on a phenomenological basis, which became the exponent of epistemological positions that also played a decisive role in the dispute over psychological aesthetics. "88

It is precisely for these reasons that Dessoir's aesthetic and art-historical considerations have been focused on 'the things themselves', on the objects of art, since the turn of the century - that is, with the gradual popularization of Husserlian ideas - after having focused more on the psychological aspects of art in the previous years had focused.

3. 4. The institutionalization of the arts

Quite apart from the developments within philosophy, the fact that the institutionalization of art studies also began at the turn of the century is just as important for Dessoir and his understanding of aesthetics and art philosophy. The art sciences are quickly gaining scientific ground and are competing with philosophical aesthetics or art philosophy.

3.4.1. Literary studies

“Just in time before the turn of the century, literary studies took note of itself.” This significant sentence closes the 500-page book History of German Literary Studies up to the End of the 19th Century by Klaus Weimar.89 The author shows that the subject did not really establish itself as an independent discipline until the end of the 19th century, although German literature has been researched and taught in the context of poetics, philosophical aesthetics, rhetoric and history for a good 200 years. It is true that literary studies, alongside linguistics and philology, became an integral part of German studies from the middle of the 19th century - even today, independent professorships or institutes did not form in Germany until around 1900. Starting in France, comparative literature, also known as general and comparative literature (AVL), is being developed parallel to literary studies:


1 Christian Herrmann, Max Dessoir. Man and Work, Stuttgart 1929.

2 Max Dessoir, Aesthetics and General Art History, Stuttgart 1906, p. 406.

3 Max Dessoir, Book of Memory, Stuttgart 1946, p. 24.

4 Herrmann 1929, p. 5. On Ludwig Dessoir's biography and acting skills, see Christiane Sander, Ludwig Dessoir. A 19th century actor. Attempt to reconstruct his acting skills, Diss. Freie Univ. Berlin (1967), Berlin 1967.

5 Dessoir 1946, p. 24.

6 Ibid.

7 Dessoir 1946, p. 280.

8 Ibid, p. 279.

9 Herrmann 1929, p. 6.

10 Dessoir 1946, p. 253.

11 He is one of the 'well-meaning men' and promoter of Dessoirs.

12 Herrmann 1929, p. 6.

13 Dessoir 1946, p. 168.

14 Herrmann 1929, p. 5.

15 Dessoir 1946, p. 170.

16 Ibid.

17 Ibid, p. 171.

18 Dessoir 1946, p. 172.

19 Ibid, p. 173.

20 Dessoir 1946, p. 116.

21 Ibid, p. 118.

22 Cf. Adolf Kurzweg, Die Geschichte der Berliner, Gesellschaft für Experimental-Psychologie ‘with special consideration of their initial situation and the work of Max Dessoir, Diss. Freie Univ. Berlin (1976), Berlin 1976, p. 8 states: “Max Dessoir was not only the counterpart for certain processes within society, he was also the most important link to the trends of the 19th century, to their commonality and simultaneous incompatibility the founding of the society can be traced back to: The most important representatives mentioned are mesmerism and occultism, which are oriented towards natural philosophy, as well as experimental psychology, which strives towards the "positive" sciences. Through Dessoir, threads ran in all directions: to Leipzig spiritism and to Leipzig academic experimental psychology, to Munich theosophy and to those who combined hypnosis research and occult research in their person ”.

23 Dessoir 1946, p. 38.

24 Ibid, p. 29.

25 Max Dessoir, Karl Philipp Moritz as Aesthetist, Diss. Univ. Berlin (1888), Berlin 1889.

26 Dessoir 1946, p. 31f.

27 Although Wilhelm Wundt has held a chair for psychology in Leipzig since 1879 - the first in the world - psychology is still a long way from being established as an independent discipline. See e.g. Helmut E. Lück, History of Psychology, Streams, Schools, Developments, 3rd revised. Ed., Stuttgart 2002, p. 46ff. Or: Wolfgang Schönpflug, History and Systematics of Psychology, 2nd revised. Ed., Weinheim; Basel 2004, p. 270ff.

28 He submits 14 essays and offers three topics for the trial lecture in front of the faculty (1. Des Nic. Teten's position in the history of philosophy, 2. Joh. Aug. Eberhard and Herbart, 3. About H. Taine's influence on education modern aesthetics in France) as well as three topics for an inaugural public lecture (1. The efficiency of the experiment for aesthetics, 2. On the theory of pain, 3. On the belief of the mentally ill in the reality of hallucinations). Cf. Humbold-Univ. Berlin (1891/2), No. 1218.

29 Dessoir 1946, p. 34. According to Hermann 1929, p. 8, “Aesthetics on a psychological basis” is the subject of this lecture.

30 Dessoir 1946, p. 36.

31 Susanne Triepel “was initially a pianist, but then trained as an oratorio and concert singer (soprano)”. (Gurlitt, Wilibald (ed.), Art. “Dessoir, Max”, in: Riemann Musiklexikon, Vol. 1 Person Teil, 12th revised edition, Mainz 1959, p. 393.) “She became a famous concert singer, where she was especially valued as a song interpreter. [...] Until 1912 the artist had a brilliant career in Germany, Austria and Holland ”. (Kutsch, Karl J .; Riemens, Leo (ed.), Art. "Dessoir, Susanne", in: Großes Sängerlexikon, Vol. 1, Bern; Stuttgart 1987, Col. 721.)

32 Herrmann 1929, p. 8.

33 Dessoir 1906.

34 Dessoir 1946, p. 39.

35 The magazine for aesthetics and general art history is directed by Dessoir until 1937.

36 See Dessoir 1946, p. 40 and Christian G. Allesch, History of psychological aesthetics. Studies on the historical development of a psychological understanding of aesthetic phenomena, Habil. Univ. Salzburg (1985), Göttingen 1987, p. 417.

37 Ibid.

38 Ibid, p. 418.

39 Dessoir 1946, p. 60.

40 Ibid, p. 62.

41 Herrmann 1929, p. 10.

42 See the “Excursion: Der Emeritus Max Dessoir” in Christian Tilitzki, The German University Philosophy in the Weimar Republic and in the Third Reich, Vol. 1, Berlin 2002, pp. 609ff.

43 Dessoir 1946, p. 75.

44 Cf. Bruno Jahn (editor), Art. "Dessoir, Max", in: Biographische Enzyklopädie deutschsprachiger

Philosophen (based on the German Biographical Encyclopedia published by Walther Killy and Rudolf Vierhaus), Munich 2001, p. 80.

45 With regard to the collaborative partnership between researchers before the First World War, he writes: "Will the history of our science ever again be able to record such conferences at which representatives of all cultural nations, creators and teachers from all areas of art work together?" (Dessoir 1946 , P. 40.)

46 Paul Janssen, Art. "Psychologism", in: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy, Vol. 7, ed. by Joachim Ritter and Karlfried Gründer, Basel 1989, Sp. 1675.

47 Gottfried Gabriel, Art. “Psychologism”, in: Encyclopedia Philosophy and Philosophy of Science, Vol. 3, ed. by Jürgen Mittelstraß, Stuttgart; Weimar 1995, p. 401.

48 Jürgen Engfer, Art. “Empiricism”, in: Encyclopedia Philosophy, Vol. 1, ed. by Hans Jörg Sandkühler, Hamburg 1999, p. 318.

49 The theory is metaphysical because it claims to make a statement about the whole of reality, which in turn cannot be empirically verified.

50 Regina Srowig, Art. “Sensualism”, in: Metzler Philosophy Lexicon. Terms and Definitions, ed. by Peter Prechtel and Franz-Peter Burkard, 2nd revised. Ed., Stuttgart; Weimar 1999, p. 539.

51 Lück 2002, p. 46.

52 Odo Marquard, Art. “Philosophy, 19th Century, 5. Disenchantment: Philosophy as a Science and Science”, in: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy, Vol. 7, ed. by Joachim Ritter and Karlfried Gründer, Basel 1989, Sp. 724.

53 Gerhard Benetka, Denkstile der Psychologie, writes about the complicated interrelationship between philosophy, physiology and psychology. 19th Century, Vienna 2002, p. 50: “The question of the development of modern scientific psychology has been dealt with in the previous presentation exclusively from the perspective of the history of philosophy. This is self-evident insofar as psychology arose in the context of philosophy and - at least in institutional terms - remained tied to this context until the time of National Socialism. The beginnings of psychology as an individual science are also closely linked to the development of physiology. It was not for nothing that the work carried that in retrospect

The adjective, physiological ‘in its title is generally considered to be the first textbook of the new science: Wilhelm Wundts Grundzüge der Physiologische Psychologie, which was first published in 1874. For Wundt, "Physiological psychology" was synonymous with "experimental psychology". This already indicated in the title what psychology had mainly taken over from physiology: the experimental method of research. "

54 Gunter Scholtz, “The science of art and the institutions. On the change in the relationship between art and science in the age of Hegel ”, in: Art and history in the age of Hegel, (= Hegel interpretations, vol. 2), ed. by Christoph Jamme with the assistance of Frank Völkel, Hamburg 1996, p. 188.

55 Georg W. F. Hegel, Difference between Fichte's and Schelling's systems of philosophy, (unchanged. Reprint from: Hegel: Erste Druckschriften, Leipzig 1928), Hamburg 1962, p. 8.

56 Walter Jaeschke, Hegel Handbook. Life - Work - School, Stuttgart; Weimar 2003, p. 422.

57 Cf. Jaeschke 2003, p. 426. There the author says: "It is difficult not to see here an evasion of the self-imposed task."

58 Georg W. F. Hegel, Lectures on Aesthetics, Part 1 and 2, originally ed. by H. G. Hotho, Stuttgart 2000, p. 64.

59 Dieter Kliche, Art. “Aesthetics, Aesthetic, VI. 3. Aesthetics and the paradigm of the exact sciences ”, in: Aesthetic Basic Concepts. Historical dictionary in seven volumes, vol. 1, ed. by Karlheinz Barck et al., Stuttgart; Weimar 2000, p. 374f.

60 The differentiation of psychology later leads to a sub-area of ​​perceptual psychology.

61 Alois Halder, art and cult. On the aesthetics and philosophy of art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Freiburg; Munich 1964, p. 8. (= Symposium, Philosophische Schriftenreihe, edited by Max Müller, Bernhard Welte and Erik Wolf, Issue 15).

62 Ibid, p. 8f.

63 Allesch 1987, p. 303.

64 Gustav Theodor Fechner, Preschool of Aesthetics, reprint, Leipzig 1925, p. 1.

65 Ibid, p. 5.

66 Allesch 1987, p. 304.

67 Allesch 1987, p. 305.

68 Wilhelm Wundt, Fundamentals of Physiological Psychology, Leipzig 1874, p. 691.

69 Ibid.

70 Allesch 1987, p. 354 means to recognize the beginnings of a gestalt psychology.

71 Xenia Bernstein, The Art of Wilhelm Wundt, Nuremberg 1914, p. 2f.

72 Kliche 2000, p. 377.

73 Theodor Lipps, Fundamentals of Aesthetics (Vol. 1 of 3 Volumes. Aesthetics. Psychology of Beauty and Art), 2nd edition, Leipzig; Hamburg 1914, p. 1.

74 See Allesch 1987, p. 326 ff.

76 Joachim Thielen, Wilhelm Dilthey and the Development of Historical Thought in Germany at the End of the 19th Century, Diss. Univ. Trier (1996), Würzburg 1999, pp. 80f.

77 Hans-Ulrich Lessing, Art. "Wilhelm Dilthey", in: Großes Werklexikon der Philosophie, Vol. 1, ed. by Franco Volpi, Stuttgart 1999, p. 389f.

78 See Thomas Jatzkowski, The Theory of Cultural-Historical Understanding by Wilhelm Dilthey and Georg Simmel, Diss. Universiät Mainz (1998), Herdecke 1998, p. 16ff.

79 Emerich Coreth, "Wilhelm Dilthey", in: Philosophy of the 19th Century, (= Basic Philosophy Course, Vol. 9), ed. by the same, Peter Ehlen and Josef Schmidt, 2nd edition, Stuttgart; Berlin; Cologne 1989, p. 142.

80 See Seung-Nam Son, Wilhelm Dilthey and educational biography research, (= studies on

Educational Science and Educational Research, Vol. 12), Diss. Univ. Münster (1996), Opladen 1997, p. 41.

81 Franz Josef Wetz, Edmund Husserl, Frankfurt a. M .; New York 1995, p. 48.

82 Thomas Rentsch, Art. "Husserl, Edmund", in: Metzler Philosophenlexikon. From the pre-Socratics to the New Philosophers, 2. Ed., Ed. by Bernd Lutz with the assistance of Norbert Retlich, Stuttgart; Weimar 1995, p. 413.

83 Edmund Husserl, "Philosophy as a strict science", in: Edmund Husserl. Essays and lectures (1911-1921), (= Husserliana. Edmund Husserl. Collected Works, Vol. 25), ed. by Thomas Nenon and Hans Rainer Sepp, Dordrecht 1987, p. 43.

84 Ibid, p. 61.

85 Karl Mertens, Between Final Justification and Skepticism. Critical investigations into the self-understanding of Edmund Husserl's transcendental phenomenology, (= Orbis Phaenomenologicus, Dept. 6, Vol. 1), Diss. Univ. Cologne (1993), Freiburg; Munich 1996, blurb.

86 Husserl is considered to be its founder, but is not because Brentano developed a similar process before him.

87 In 1939 Dessoir wrote a French-language article on Husserl (La Phenomenologie de Husserl).

88 Allesch 1987, p. 322.

89 Klaus Weimar, History of German Literary Studies up to the End of the 19th Century, Paderborn 2003, p. 487.

End of the reading sample from 134 pages