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Rauhala, L. (1970). Man—The Philosophical Conception and Empirical Study. J. Anal. Psychol., 15(2):148-154.

(1970). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 15(2):148-154

Man—The Philosophical Conception and Empirical Study

Lauri Rauhala

NOTE: Terms are used in this paper in the manner which is accepted in current phenomenological philosophy, and not necessarily with the meanings which are familiar to analytical psychologists. This applies particularly to the words spiritual and consciousness. (Editor)

IN THE EMPIRICAL STUDY of man and its various applications it has become customary to speak of the human being as an entity which must not, and indeed cannot, be broken down into parts. There is, of course, a measure of truth in the view. Nevertheless, observations along these lines are apt to remain mere platitudes if at the same time no attempt is made to examine the nature of the wholeness of man.

Talk of man as an entity will inevitably raise the question: what is man? Unless we know how man is to be conceptualized, there is no knowing what elements must be taken into account in any thoroughgoing study of him. However, the question of man's nature can find no definitive answer in the empirical sciences. It belongs to the sphere of philosophical inquiry into the human problem. The empirical sciences can each, by means of their own approaches, present a picture of man within the framework of their own sector; yet even together these pictures do not supply a true concept of man. Our basic view of human nature is of a metaphysical character, and its analysis must always be the task of philosophy. The mode of referring, in certain connexions, to ‘the empirical conception of man’ is thus an unfortunate confusion of terms.

To see what the above assertions imply let us consider a somewhat extreme example from another field. Let us suppose that one of us has undertaken to explain what Leonardo's Mona Lisa really is. He sets off for Paris and the Louvre, equipped with the measuring devices of classical physics, yardstick and scales.

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