Jung and apophatic discourse

Henderson, David (2015) Jung and apophatic discourse. In: 4th Joint Conference of the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP) and the International Association for Jungian Studies (IAJS): Psyche, Spirit and Science: negotiating contemporary social and cultural concerns, 9-12 Jul 2015, Yale University, New Haven, CT USA. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


There is a growing preoccupation among psychoanalytic writers with unknowing and the unknowable. The works of Goudsmit, Anderson, Grotstein, Merkur, Eigen, Schlamm, Tacey, Dourley and Henderson, among others, explore the interface of psychoanalysis and apophasis. Frank asserts that, “all ‘psychology’ which really sees its object and really takes account of its peculiar character must be ‘negative psychology’ (by analogy to negative theology).” This trend within psychoanalysis can be seen as part of a wider interest across disciplines, which Caputo has characterised as ‘generalized apophatics.’

It can be argued that Jung’s work is saturated with apophasis. As such it has a place within this ‘generalized apophatics.’ This provides an additional way of contextualising analytical psychology within the contemporary intellectual landscape. The coincidence of opposites, the nature of symbols, the transcendent function and individuation are aspects of Jungian theory that can be characterised as apophatic discourse.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Centre for Psychoanalysis
Item ID: 17215
Useful Links:
Depositing User: David Henderson
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2015 13:11
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:36
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/17215

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