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Analytical Psychology - is it just pseudoscience?

Daddy

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Since people seem to really hate on Jung and psychological types all over the internet, I'd like to try and defend Analytical Psychology with an emphasis on the theoretical validity of Psychological Types.

First, I want to say that I think it is neither science, nor pseudoscience, and definitely not "mystical" (as some people often claim); instead I'd like to change the names from "Analytical Psychology" to "Unconscious Psychology" and from "Psychological Types" to "Psychological Filters". I think in this way we can understand Jung's contribution to psychology as an attempt to frame the role of the unconscious through our more conscious mental filters. A mental filter can be anything from a conclusion someone reaches from a given dataset, a given perception about something witnessed, or just a way to understand or act on the world around us.

So we can infer a couple things here about these filters. First, they are just frames of reference, kind of like drawing a map, they are not the terrain, but a way to "differentiate" and "describe" the terrain. I think the map is important because otherwise we would be overloaded with the infinite details about the terrain. The map is simplifying, truly, but it's also very useful and logical to do so. And of course the maps can be more or less accurate, depending on the map maker and how much detail they want to include or in how their maps are organized. These maps are our cognitive filters.

Given the explanation for cognitive filters, the question to me then is what are the most basic forms of these filters? Well, I think you have to start with a basic reality - since cognitive filters are maps, a map does not fundamentally consider the entire terrain and because it does not have access to all of the details of the terrain, it also makes generalizations about reality. So we can differentiate between people that spend more time interacting with the terrain and taking in more details about it and people that spend more time dealing with their generalizations about the terrain and kind of drawing away from it; I will call this difference as between introvert and extrovert. Now naturally, I think it's easy to see how both depend on and influence the other. So we can understand the extrovert as being unconsciously influenced by introversion (or the architecture of its maps) and the introvert as unconsciously influenced by extroversion (how many details it takes into account).

So now we have defined the conscious and unconscious as relating to introversion and extroversion. The next question is, what are the most basic ways in which an introvert will architect its maps and an extrovert will fill in the details of its maps? Are there different kinds of designs for maps or different kinds of details to consider? Well, in order to interpret details, we first need a basis for what those details are. In order to do that, we need to define things. Take a mountain for example; since each mountain will be different from every other mountain in terms of finer details, we need to define what a mountain is in order to treat them as such. This becomes our perception of the terrain and helps us distinguish the details. This might seem similar to how an introvert deals with the architecture of their maps, but it is more basic than that, since perceptions preclude the details of the terrain, while generalizations do not have too (unless of course we are talking about introverted+perceiving).
And just as there are perceptive filters that define the details, there is also the opposite, filters that accept the details as they are. Such a filter deals with static details and can reason and rationalize them. This we can call judging for that reason. Of course, both rely on each other as well, since your perceptions will effect your rationalizations and vice versa. So again, we have another case for unconscious influence between the two.

So we've got introvert/extrovert, judging/perceiving and an understanding of how the two are unconsciously linked in some kind of duality. So I'm actually going to stop here, since this is getting long, but I think this is more or less what Jung was explaining and I'm curious if you guys think that helps steer away from the misnomers that Jung was a mystic or pseudoscientist or other such thing. I think if I'd describe him as anything, I'd say he attempted to mix dualistic philosophy with psychology to help frame the unconscious. And I find it interesting that it can be used to model AI research and how they form decisions.
 

Blarraun

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Most if not all of psychology and 75% of social sciences including most of economic theories are arguably insufficiently rigorous to be called scientific. Their research is not reproducible, is often financially or politically motivated and tends to last a short period of time before it is replaced by another seasonal fashion.

Anything typology or Jung related can be safely regarded as pseudoscience or feel-good science.

I think it's more polite to say that some part of psychology is unfashionable. MBTI is really unfashionable at this point, should be displayed in a museum. I guess this forum is its display case...

Psychology is what people do for small talk usually, so unless you are discussing the recent trends in psychology fashion you will not find people very receptive to your vintage psychology, might work as small talk with your grandparents or uncles.

But someone will say, 'MBTI and typology is genuine research!'
'It provides useful observations and discoveries that help you know yourself and others!'
'It was never created to sell piles of books about self-understanding!'

I'd say that, for the pioneers, selling piles of books about self-understanding was more of an afterthought, not a plan. Now it's a standard expectation.
 

Daddy

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Well, I don't really disagree with you. I'm not saying this would necessarily help someone understand themselves and others by itself and I think it would be futile to try and defend "that".

What I'm arguing instead is that I think it's a pretty solid foundation for modeling the unconscious with the conscious. More specifically it does not fill in the content of such, but instead models it. To give an example of the difference, consider MBTI, it attempts to model the psyche, but also attempts to fill in the content of the psyche for each type by describing each type as belonging to certain manifestations and traits. This I think is the misnomer and the constant point of contention because it attempts to fill in the content of each type's model. But I seriously doubt that was Jung's intention.

Basically, imo, what I guess it comes down to is that MBTI and typology in general are a huge strawman for psychological types and a big detriment to analytical psychology. And my goal here is to try and clear that up.
 

Niclmaki

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The best you can do to make psychology a “science” is to follow statistical analysis with applied scientific method. But, since the results will never be applicable to any specific individual, its use will be limited. CBT seems to be the best we have done so far. Aside from the physical study of the brain anyways.

Anything else is just ‘what’s in fashion’ or philosophy. While not scientific, it can still be useful.

On psychoanalysis specifically, I’d say it’s way more artistic than scientific. Not to mention, who’s going to fund a method that does not sell pills? Or, how many people seriously want to he self critical? This neo-liberal capitalism we’ve constructed is partially inherently at odds with psychoanalysis.

Most of the quick dismissal or even outright hate of Jung / typology is from folks who are taken in by ‘scientism’. I don’t say this as like a jab at those people, it’s just a different way of being. I just think if they were to stop and think about what their personal philosophies are, they’d come around to a different idea / perspective.

Now I can’t remember where I read this, but I think it was in Jung. That while there is an objective reality that can be measured, studied, tested, and learned from via the scientific method... there is also an inner, subjective world that ought to be measured, studied, tested and learned from as well. I think this was Jungs point about the individuation process.
 

Daddy

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Lots to unpack here.

The best you can do to make psychology a “science” is to follow statistical analysis with applied scientific method. But, since the results will never be applicable to any specific individual, its use will be limited. CBT seems to be the best we have done so far. Aside from the physical study of the brain anyways.
+
Now I can’t remember where I read this, but I think it was in Jung. That while there is an objective reality that can be measured, studied, tested, and learned from via the scientific method... there is also an inner, subjective world that ought to be measured, studied, tested and learned from as well. I think this was Jungs point about the individuation process.
Is exactly why psychology is more complex than science; it can't be science because it studies unscientific things, subjective experience, as paradoxical as that may sound. And so it can't be pseudoscience either. It is something else.


Anything else is just ‘what’s in fashion’ or philosophy. While not scientific, it can still be useful.
To be fair though, that's just human nature. Even science gets popularized with various sensationalist propaganda to get people talking about things they are not familiar with or may not really understand, however brief and fleeting it may be.

On psychoanalysis specifically, I’d say it’s way more artistic than scientific. Not to mention, who’s going to fund a method that does not sell pills? Or, how many people seriously want to he self critical? This neo-liberal capitalism we’ve constructed is partially inherently at odds with psychoanalysis.
Hmm. I agree with you and that's a problem, but I'm not sure it is just 'art'. I'm running short on time, so I'll have to think about it and come back to this.

Most of the quick dismissal or even outright hate of Jung / typology is from folks who are taken in by ‘scientism’. I don’t say this as like a jab at those people, it’s just a different way of being. I just think if they were to stop and think about what their personal philosophies are, they’d come around to a different idea / perspective.
Yes, which is why I'd like to clear up that psychology isn't just "not science" or "pseudoscience", but that it doesn't truly fall under the realm of scientific inquiry to begin with.
 

Niclmaki

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Hmm. I agree with you and that's a problem, but I'm not sure it is just 'art'. I'm running short on time, so I'll have to think about it and come back to this.

Firstly, thanks for responding to what was essentially just my rambling meditations on the subject lol.

Secondly, I just mean it is more like art than science. That is in the sense that while there are some ‘step by step’ guides for how to psychoanalyze someone, but it is not enough. You can’t just process someone through it and get results. The individuals involved matter, and the self-development process (individuation) will be different for everyone. Similar to how you can’t just teach someone how to create great art, then get great art as the output.

Related; I think this is where the scientific folks get their strongest criticism of psychoanalysis. Eg. It doesn’t work for everyone, results are not consistent, you can’t just change your method on a case-by-case basis. (But I guess this is just saying the same thing this thread has already has for the 5th time in a different way)
 
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