In the early twentieth century, the German author and philosopher Salomo Friedländer, known as Mynona and especially active in the Berlin dada movement, produced several texts that clarified and revised the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Friedländer's philosophical writings targeted the limited scope of sensory knowledge employed in modern empirical scientific practice. Friedländer's engagements with art, science, and philosophy were inspired in no small part by a philosophical challenge to modern empirical sense physiology made possible by a unique reading of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's early-nineteenth-century work on vision. Friedländer sought to realize his philosophical revisions, in particular his understanding of the function of the Kantian imagination and its relationship to sensory perception, in his artistic parodies and short stories, or Groteske (grotesques). Situated in its proper historical and intellectual context, Friedländer's early-twentieth-century corpus thus should be understood as part of an effort to incorporate the diversity of human sensory experiences into a Kantian-influenced theory of knowledge, a theory of knowledge critical of perceptual standardization and the consequent devaluation of unique aesthetic experience. A comparison of the work of Friedländer, the philosopher-artist, with that of Walter Benjamin, the cultural critic, reveals the limits and the potentials in their attempts to recover and to celebrate the diversity of human experience in the face of modern empirical science's advocacy of perceptual conformism.
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Research Article| February 01 2009
“The Merely Illusory Paradise of Habits”: Salomo Friedländer, Walter Benjamin, and the Grotesque
New German Critique (2009) 36 (1 (106)): 119–147.
Thomas O. Haakenson; “The Merely Illusory Paradise of Habits”: Salomo Friedländer, Walter Benjamin, and the Grotesque. New German Critique 1 February 2009; 36 (1 (106)): 119–147. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2008-024
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