Review of Metaphysics 25 (4):759-760 (1972)

This confrontation of analytical psychology with ethics is intended as a philosophical examination of the justification of Jung's and Erich Neumann's claim to have offered in their so-called individuation process the new ethics demanded by the discovery of the psychic reality of the collective unconscious. As a standard of evaluation the author first tries to establish the idea of self-realization as a moral imperative. Aware of the difficulty of finding agreement in matters of ethics, he turns to self-awareness as the source of his ethical principle. Beginning with a discussion of Kant's understanding of moral life, the author recognizes the categorical imperative as an expression of an absolute and universal law of practical reason to be an unsatisfactory representation of subjective morality, and rediscovers in the awareness of the individual law of G. Simmel the evidence of the immediate givenness of our self as a strict moral obligation. The awareness of the self as a moral ideal pre supposes freedom, which, following Sartre's existentialistic [[sic]] understanding, is identified with human reality as such and is found not to allow any kind of determination of human existence; consciousness of impulses implies "original choice," and unconsciousness means abdicated freedom. Compared with the ideal reality of the self and with the conditions of its realization as experienced in immediate awareness, the psychic reality of the individuation process as described in complex psychology lacks every moral qualification. Jung's individuation process does not represent a realization or even a recognition of the self, as the second part of the book attempts to show. A natural process enforced by an archetype of the self, demanding as moral obligations only a conscious awareness of alleged unconscious contents of a collective and personal unconscious in a confrontation of archetypes of the process, and an integration or combination of opposing conscious and unconscious psychic elements, is essentially different from a free and responsible realization of one's individual law in active confrontation with one's own historical situation and reality, and with the moral demands of the physical and social world. Confusing subjective interpretations with objective psychic facts in its doctrine of the archetypes, and morality with mental health in its understanding of the individuation process, analytic psychology is rightly found to ignore decisive aspects of human existence and especially to disregard moral reality as an essential phenomenon of human life.--M. S.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph197225469
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