Weaknesses of Carl Jung’s Theory

The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875–1961) is a well-known figure in the history of psychology who is known to have followed the footsteps of Sigmund Freud. His contribution to the school of analytical psychology, particularly the concepts of archetypes, introversion, extroversion, and the collective unconscious, are monumental. However, there is a stark contrast and opposition to several of Jung's theories.

Weaknesses of Jungian concepts

One of the initial critiques of Jung's work was that it was unscientific in both intent and the inferences one can draw from his theories. Even before Jung's strayed away from Freud's circle in 1913, this belief became clear. Jung was ostracized by most of the psychiatric profession because of his theories on the symbolism of dreams.

Other psychiatrists may have been critical of Jung's views due to the precarious standing of social sciences like Psychology during the early 20th century. Only lately have psychology and sociology been acknowledged as valid academic disciplines; before that, Jung's theory of symbols seemed to question psychology's legitimacy as a "scientific" discipline. Jung's psychology has been deemed "unscientific" for the following reasons −

  • Certain of Jung's notions, including archetypes and synchronicity, cannot be established by the scientific method.
  • Jung's view that emotions and intuition are on par with cognitive processes impairs the reasonable objectivity required for scientific inquiry.
  • Jung's interest in esoteric traditions, such as third-century Gnosticism and medieval alchemy, as well as modern Asian cultures (Taoism and Tibetan Buddhism), amounts to a celebration of mysticism and irrationality.
  • Jung was an unreliable guide to what he called "ordinary" reality because of his professional expertise in treating schizophrenia and his experience with psychosis.

Archetypal Criticism

The archetypal criticism is vested in the idea that societal and psychological myths influence the form and function of literary works. The concept of archetypes does not have a concrete basis and is personified or concretized in recurrent images, symbols, or patterns with no scientific basis. These images, symbols, or patterns may include motifs like the quest or the heavenly ascent, recognizable character types like the trickster or the hero, symbols like the apple or snake, or images like the crucifixion, all of which are associated with a subjective meaning in the field of Psychology.

The idea that humanity possesses a "collective unconscious," or a form of a universal psyche, which manifests itself in dreams and myths and contains ideas and pictures that we all inherit, gave rise to archetypal critique. As a result of neglecting intertextual components and treating the text as though it was in a vacuum, archetypal critics view New Criticism as overly atomistic. Since we are accustomed to encountering black hats, springtime locations, wicked stepmothers, and other tropes, we can generate assumptions and expectations about tale patterns and symbolic linkages, if not instinctively. Readers are encouraged to engage ritualistically in their generation's fundamental beliefs, fears, and anxieties via archetypal pictures and tale patterns. These archetypal characteristics contribute to the text's comprehensibility and to a degree of human needs and fears.


Next to Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung was a well-known psychiatrist. The ideas of the extroverted and introverted personality, archetypes, and the collective unconscious were proposed by Jung and refined by him. His research has not only influenced psychiatry but also contributed to the study of religion, literature, and related subjects. Despite all of his successes, his discrete ideas have certain flaws, and though his concepts were groundbreaking, they occasionally went beyond comprehension and, consequently, lacked a scientific basis.


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