Max Dessoir  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Max Dessoir (8 February 186719 July 1947) was a German philosopher and theorist of aesthetics.

Dessoir was born in Berlin. He earned doctorates from the universities of Berlin (philosophy, 1889) and Würzburg (medicine, 1892). He was a professor at Berlin from 1897 until 1933, when the Nazis forbade him to teach.

In 1889, in an article in the German periodical Sphinx, Dessoir coined the term 'parapsychology' (actually in its German equivalent, 'Parapsychologie'):

"If one ... characterizes by para- something going beyond or besides the ordinary, than one could perhaps call the phenomena that step outside the usual process of the inner life parapsychical, and the science dealing with them parapsychology. The word is not nice, yet in my opinion it has the advantage to denote a hitherto unknown fringe area between the average and the pathological states; however, more than the limited value of practical usefulness such neologisms do not demand."

Considered a Neo-Kantian philosopher Max Dessoir founded the Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, which he edited for many years, and published the work Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft in which he formulated five primary aesthetic forms: the beautiful, the sublime, the tragic, the ugly, and the comic. He died in Königstein im Taunus.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Max Dessoir" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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