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Jarrett, J. (1988). Jung's Theory of Functions: Some Questions. J. Anal. Psychol., 33(4):355-372.

(1988). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 33(4):355-372

Jung's Theory of Functions: Some Questions

J. Jarrett, Ph.D.

In My The logic of psychological oppositionor how opposite is opposite? I argued that thinking in terms of opposites, which is central to Jung's whole intellectual procedure, and one yielding many powerful insights, can also be mischievous, especially in concealing, or at least minimising, compatibles between contrasting elements (JARRETT 2). After all, the North and South Poles must experientially be very much alike. But I did not on that occasion explore the possible underlying biases or predispositions for the emphasis upon opposition.

It is to this task that I now turn. My principal hypothesis will be that Jung's exceptionally powerful Logos led him to exaggerate the importance of differentiated, discriminative, abstract, divergent, oppositional—even polarising—understanding, and to underestimate the powers of Eros to rejoin what has been put asunder.

Let us first remember some of Jung's early moves toward typological thinking, an especially important instance of his conducting analysis through opposition.

It is well known that he was very much interested in personality types at the very time when he was breaking with Freud. In a lecture he delivered in Munich in 1913 (JUNG 4, par. 5, pp. 858-882) he proposed the fundamental distinction between introverts and extraverts, a classification that he compared to William James's ‘tough minded/tender minded’, Nietzsche's ‘Apollonian/Dionysian’, and Worringer's ‘abstractive/empathic’. In the concluding paragraphs of this lecture he doubtless surprised his audience by saying that It will come as a surprise to nobody to learn that in the domain of psychoanalysis we also have to reckon with the existence of these two psychological types. Later he was to say that he had been motivated to think ‘typologically’ because of his puzzlement about how two intelligent psychotherapists, Freud and Adler, could come up with theories so different.

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