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Jung and ethics: A conceptual exploration

Colacicchi, Giovanni (2015) Jung and ethics: A conceptual exploration. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Despite Jung’s frequent claims that one’s moral and ethical stance play an important role both in the development and in the cure of neurosis, Jung’s ethical position had not been subjected to a critical assessment and the main sources of his ethical outlook had not been investigated. I take my point of departure in Jung’s definition of ethics as involving both consciousness and the unconscious. In the first chapter, Kant’s argument for the primacy of practical reason is shown to ground Jung’s conviction of the decisive freedom of the ego. Jung’s insistence on the importance of the moral development of both patient and therapist is also related to Kant’s call for moral independence. Having elucidated Jung’s understanding of conflicts of duty – the existence of which was denied by Kant – I discuss Jung’s Nietzschean legacy. I argue that Jung derives the crucial distinction between ethics and morality from Nietzsche, as well as the idea that ethics must consider the irrational and unintentional side of the Self; I also consider how Jung’s application of the ‘health criterion’ to ethics differs from Nietzsche’s utilisation of the same device. In Chapter 3, I highlight the critical convergence between Aristotle’s approach to ethics and Jung’s psycho-ethical paradigm: while both stress the importance of acquiring a balance between reason and the passions and place wisdom at centre stage, Jung adds that psychotherapy can successfully integrate ‘unconscious vice’. In the fourth chapter, I examine the (heterodox) Christian side of Jung’s ethics. Here I assess the role played by the psychologically ‘heavy’ notion of evil in Jung’s model and analyse the often-misunderstood link between evil and the Shadow. In Jung’s psychology, the individuated subject is the ethical subject, so depth psychology and ethics converge towards the same goal and can be mutually supportive endeavours.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Jung; Kant; Nietzsche; Aristotle; Evil; Shadow; Morality; Immorality; Ethics; Individuation; Neurosis; Virtue; ego-Self axis; Conflicts of duty; Health; Character; Sin; Akrasia
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Giovanni Colacicchi
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2016 12:36
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2016 12:36

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