Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The Dream of a Science

Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The Dream of a Science

Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The Dream of a Science

Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The Dream of a Science

Synopsis

After decades of myth making, C.G. Jung remains one of the most misunderstood figures in Western intellectual history. This comprehensive study of the origins of his psychology provides a new perspective on the rise of modern psychology and psychotherapy. It reconstructs the reception of Jung's work in the human sciences, and its impact on the social and intellectual history of the twentieth century. The book creates a basis for any future discussion of Jung by opening new vistas in psychology.

Excerpt

Is psychology a science? Few questions have been more vexing for psychologists than this. Reflections upon this issue have been intimately bound up with formations and reformations of psychology. A plethora of related questions immediately follow: What is a science? What is psychology? In what ways is psychology a science? What criteria should one use to adjudicate this issue? No less significant, who is a psychologist? The difficulty with approaching these questions is that while there has been no end of attempted solutions put forward in the form of psychologies and in the shape of psychologists, there has been no consensus, nor even the remote possibility of a consensus. While judgments are not lacking, there is no possibility for any forum for adjudication. However, one approach to these issues is possible. This is to reconstruct the manner in which they have been posed and “answered” historically. Psychology's “questionable” status as a science, and the variety of conceptions of its scientificity makes it important to reconstruct how different psychologists conceived of their enterprise. Furthermore, as Lorraine Daston has demonstrated, debates about the scientific standing of psychology at the end of the nineteenth century were not only significant for psychology, but also had critical impact on reshaping conceptions of science (1990).

This section commences by reconstructing debates about the scientific standing of psychology at the end of the nineteenth century. It traces how psychologists tried to establish a science of subjectivity in the form of an “individual” psychology. From this, it situates Jung's attempt to develop a critical psychology in the form of a psychological typology and the problems that this ran into. Finally, it draws together his reflections on the status of psychology, and shows how these shaped his own attempt to found psychology as the superordinate science, the only discipline supposedly capable of grasping the subjective factor that underlay all the other sciences.

In academic psychology, from the 1920s onwards, it was generally held that the use of experimentation and statistical methods formed the crucial . . .

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