April 3rd, 2022: Giovanni Colacicchi
C. G. Jung’s ethics
ZOOM 4 pm ET, 10 pm Italy, 9 pm UK, Moderated by Ris Swank
In this seminar, Dr. Colacicchi will discuss his research on the ethical foundations of Jungian psychology and hopes to receive many questions and comments from the participants.
Jung appears to have developed his ethical outlook, which has a deliberately “wider” scope than Freud’s (see Merkur, 2017) from a variety of (not always acknowledged) sources: Kant, Nietzsche, Aristotle and Christian ethics in primis (Colacicchi, 2021).
Many post-Jungian authors appreciate the Kantian dimension of Jung’s ethics (even if they are not aware that it is Kantian): Jung’s focus on the moral obligation of the patient to “make the unconscious conscious” and integrate the shadow has indeed a decidedly Kantian flavor, albeit of a 20th Century Kant who has read Freud; others – again, mostly unaware of the fact – enjoy the Nietzschean Jung, with his focus on individual ethics vs collective morality, Nietzsche’s “master morality” vs “slave morality”; and many others, perhaps the majority of those who have been drawn to Jung as opposed to Freud, consider Jung’s ethical stance as an unorthodox way of maintaining the main moral tenets of Christian morality: a psychological re-vision of Christianity, for sure, but still within the Christian framework of sin (in Jung’s model, unconsciousness) and redemption (which for Jung is individuation, an openness to the Self – which may or may not coincide with an openness to God). Finally, other authors, such as the philosopher John Cottingham and the psychologist Ladson Hinton, have highlighted Jung’s Aristotelian approach to reason and emotion and his focus on practical wisdom.
Would it be a mistake to try and reconcile the kaleidoscopic variety of ethical views which are found in Jung’s vast opus since they reflect his pluralistic conception of the psyche (Samuels, 1989)? Or can a coherent ethical model be drawn out of his work, a model which may be called, for once and for all, “Jung’s ethics”?
Colacicchi, G. (2021), Psychology as Ethics: Reading Jung with Kant, Nietzsche and Aristotle. London, Routledge.
Cottingham, J. (1998) Philosophy and The Good Life: Reason and Passion in Greek, Cartesian and psychoanalytic ethics. Cambridge, CUP.
Hinton, L. (2019) “Jung, Time and Ethics” in Jung and philosophy (Edited by Jon Mills). London, Routledge
Merkur, D. (2017) Jung’s Ethics: Moral Psychology and his Cure of Souls (Edited by Jon Mills). London, Routledge.
Samuels, A. (1989) The Plural Psyche: Personality, Morality and the Father. London, Routledge.
GIOVANNI IVISON COLACICCHI, PhD, is an Anglo-Italian philosopher, independent scholar and teacher in the humanities. He holds an MA in Philosophy from the University of Florence, his hometown, and a doctorate in Jungian Studies from the University of Essex. He is the author of Psychology as Ethics: Reading Jung with Kant, Nietzsche and Aristotle (Routledge, “Philosophy and psychoanalysis” series, 2021). https://www.routledge.com/Psychology-as-Ethics-Reading-Jung-with-Kant-Nietzsche-and-Aristotle/Colacicchi/p/book/9780367529239. He is a contributor to the blog L’indiscreto (www.indiscreto.org) on which he has written on the relevance of Jungian psychology to the understanding of contemporary “selfie culture”, the cult of celebrity, and Dante’s Comedy. He lives in Ferrara, Italy, with his partner, Elisa, and their son, Francesco.