The project being undertaken here is one of an investigation into the possibility of a psychological science from a Jungian perspective. The project will consist of a series of 3,000 – 4,000 word essays (of which this is the first). The primary source used will be Sonu Shamdasani's Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The Dream of a Science.1
My project is not about putting Jungianism on a pedestal. Rather it is about investigating the possibility of establishing psychology as a science.
Serious disciplines need to be tested and can prosper or die in the market of ideas. Jungian psychology has survived for a long time because Carl Jung was such a huge thinker. He was an erudite, a prolific writer, able to correspond with leading thinkers from other disciplines in worlds of science, religion and other fields including of course his own, psychology. His vast knowledge gave him the confidence to attempt to establish psychology as a genuine science. The interdisciplinary approach meant that this attempt was not at all cultist. But in the present day, whilst there are some very bright thinkers in the world of Jungian analytical psychology, they appear to be contained within a Jungian enclave that no longer seeks to branch out. There is an assumption that Jung's ideas are known. The archetypes and the collective unconscious are discussed as if psychology had already established itself as a science. Jung's project for a psychological science is dead in the water because of these assumptions.
[...] Shamdasani writes “Jung did not intend to form a particular school of psychotherapy, but in line with the unitary conceptions of psychology in the late nineteenth century, intended to establish psychology in general.”1 This was an encyclopedic endeavor. Shamdasani writes that Jung's signature concepts contained many ideas which attempted to resolve major debates in philosophy, psychology, sociology, biology, anthropology, comparative religion and other fields, and enable the formation of a distinct discipline of psychology. It is precisely this combinatory operation that gives his psychology its distinctive style and substance.”2 Where I diverge from Shamdasani and from the majority within Jungian psychology is on systematization. [...]
[...] Jung asked the right questions and he was an even more prolific writer than Sigmund Freud.2 Jung therefore established for second and third generation Jungian thinkers a basis from which to work from. But it is little more than that. In my project we are embarking on a quest, and lending support to Shamdasani's vision for Jungian analytical psychology, whereby Jung's ideas may or may not succeed depending on the quality or lack of quality regarding Jung's insights. Hence Jung (and his ideas) will be treated fairly. [...]
[...] In this essay we will discuss the problem of the possibility of psychology as a science as an old (as well as continuing) problem. In highlighting Shamdasani's work we will show that in the late 1890's and first half of the 20th century there was great desire amongst psychologists for their field to match the likes of physics, biology and chemistry, and to establish itself as likewise, a competent and unified science. We will also note what Jung was attempting to establish. [...]
[...] And it is precisely here where we can become objective and scientific about psychology. Notes Introduction Shamdasani, S Shamdasani describes his work as follows research continues to follow two intersecting verticies: the reconstruction of the formation of modern psychological disciplines and therapeutics from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, and a reconstruction of the formation of work of Jung, based on primary archival materials. The first volume of my intellectual history of Jung, Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The Dream of a Science was published in 2003, and I have been continuing to work on the second volume. [...]
[...] Here we can look at a little of the work of the Jungian analyst John R Haule. Haule agrees with Shamdasani that psychology hasn't established itself as a science and needs to be interdisciplinary if it is ever to achieve scientific status. In future essays we will look into Haules positive response to Shamdasani. Indeed, whilst we are agreeing with education as a method to heal neurotic exaggeration it will be argued in the following essay to this one that neurosis is unscientific precisely because of its exaggeration. [...]
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