Image and imagery in imaginal psychology (mental image and theory of science)

Ales Vrbata


This paper deals with theoretical concepts of image and imagery in foremost imaginal psychologists (James Hillman, Michael Vannoy Adams). Attributing primary epistemological status to image and imagery, archetypal/imaginal psychology school developed (both within philosophy and psychology) new theory of image and imagery, questioned older thesis about derivative and secondary epistemological status of image (image as imprint within human psyche, derivative of primary sensations). Using Jung’s concept of autonomous psyche of essentially archetypal nature, Hillman started to question Jung’s concept of “Self ” as the central archetype that — for him — symbolized sort of disguised traditional monotheism (Christian God, Jewish Yahweh etc.) similarly to Freud’s sexuality (id) or central cultural myth (Oedipus myth). Archetypal/imaginal psychology defends essential sovereignty and equality of all images (liberty to imagine considers as the first and the most important liberty of human being) and imagery and resultant polytheist psychology. Such direction that took place within Jungian Studies and give birth to imaginal psychology coincided with the development in different fields: in philosophy and theory of science. Derrida’s and Feyerabend’s rejection of ultimate referential frame is not identical with but parallels Hillman’s and Vannoy Adam’s discovery of fantasy rules of the psyche. This paper also discusses similarities and differences in Hillman and Feyerabend and their concepts of paradigmatical cultural shift from culture and science dominated by “monotheist psychology” to that dominated by “polytheist psychology” where all images are treated equally.

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eISSN: 2359-6384