Can There Be a Science of the Symbolic?

John Beebe

in Teaching Jung

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199735426
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914524 | DOI:

Series: AAR Teaching Religious Studies Series

Can There Be a Science of the Symbolic?

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The final chapter of the book, addresses the question of whether it is possible to practice a “science of the symbolic.” the chapter acknowledges that many people question the status of Jung's ideas and psychology theory as science, given the highly subjective, irrational, unrepeatable phenomena it studies. But as the chapter shows the scientific integrity of Jung's approach derives from its self-reflective method of analyzing people's worldviews, enlarging their horizons, and healing them when they are broken. The chapter draws on the hermeneutic philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer, particularly his notion of truth as the unfolding product of open-ended dialogue, to argue that good teaching is like good analysis: they both affirm the reality, autonomy, creativity, and purposefulness of the psyche. The spirit of scientific inquiry—that is, the discipline of observing reality, analyzing it, theorizing about it, and investigating its properties and processes—characterizes both endeavors.

Keywords: Jung; psychological theory; science of the symbolic; Gadamer

Chapter.  6883 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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