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Month: October 2013

The Doctors of Soul: Sigmund Freud

The Doctors of Soul: Sigmund Freud

Freud, circa 1900 What can we say about the great Sigmund Freud that hasn’t already been said? Even though I disagree with him on many points, there is no doubt the man was one of history’s great minds. Without his paving the way for those who followed him, especially C.G. Jung, would we even be discussing depth psychology as we do today? Instead of rehashing Freud’s biography, I will merely quote two pertinent paragraphs from the Wikipedia article about him:…

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The Doctors of Soul: Wilhelm Dilthey

The Doctors of Soul: Wilhelm Dilthey

  Wilhelm Dilthey, circa 1855   Wilhelm Dilthey has earned a place among the Doctors of Soul, primarily, for his work in hermeneutics, and the humanities. Dilthey was a German philosopher, historian, and psychologist. In 1833, two years after the death of Hegel, Dilthey was born in Biebrich, Hesse, which is a borough of Weisbaden. His father was a Reformed Church theologian, his mother the daughter of an orchestral conductor. Dilthey studied theology in Heidelberg and Berlin, but then transferred…

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The Doctors of Soul: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Doctors of Soul: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  In his own words, Coleridge only ever ‘seem’d’ a poet (PW I 2 1145); what he was was a sort of Sandman, a weaver of elusive ‘Day-Dreams’, ‘Sorts of  Dreams’, ‘Reveries’, ‘Visions in Dream’, and ‘Fragments from the life of Dreams’ (Toor 1). Samuel Taylor Coleridge is considered one of the greatest of the English Romantic poets. He was born in 1772 in Devonshire, England to his father, the Vicar of Ottery, the Reverend John Coleridge, and his mother,…

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The Doctors of Soul: Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

The Doctors of Soul: Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling was born in 1775 to Joseph Friedrich Schelling, a chaplain and professor of Oriental languages, and Gottliebin Marie, in the town of Leonberg in Württemberg (now Baden-Württemberg). He was good friends with Hegel and the poet, Holderlin. The three were roommates for awhile at Tübinger Stift, a seminary of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg. Here, Schelling studied the Church Fathers and the ancient Greeks. We are now getting very close in our series to the beginning…

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The Doctors of Soul: Giambattista Vico

The Doctors of Soul: Giambattista Vico

Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen Giambattista Vico was born in Naples, Italy in 1668 to a poor book seller and a carriage maker’s daughter. Due to much illness, he was mostly self-educated. He was considered a fine political philosopher, Italian jurist, rhetorician, and historian. He was vehemently anti-Cartesian and anti-reductionist. According to Wikipedia, Vico is a precursor of systemic and complexity thinking, as opposed to Cartesian analysis and other kinds of reductionism. He is also well known for noting that verum…

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The Doctors of Soul: Marsilio Ficino

The Doctors of Soul: Marsilio Ficino

Marsilio Ficino was born October 19, 1433 and died October 1, 1499. It was reported that when Ficino’s father, a physician to the Medicis, brought the young boy along with him one day to court, Cosimo de’ Medici, his father’s patron, prophetically exclaimed that Ficino’s destiny in life would be to heal men’s souls. Due in large part to the patronship of Cosimo, and the fortuitous gift of a prodigious intellect, Ficino became a crucial figure in the success of…

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The Doctors of Soul: Plotinus

The Doctors of Soul: Plotinus

Plotinus, from The School of Athens, by Raphael Plotinus was the greatest of Neoplatonists. He never called his philosophy Neoplatonism. The name was created in the 19th century by stuffy European historians who enjoyed splitting history into periods. He lived circa 205-270 C.E. Plotinus considered himself a Platonist, even though he developed his own brilliant philosophy. His magnum opus was The Enneads, which were written in Rome. In the ways of soul, he was a master. On the surface, Plotinus…

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The Doctors of Soul: Plato

The Doctors of Soul: Plato

Woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493 Plato made an enormous contribution to depth psychology, as he did to philosophy. Jung’s theory of the archetypes is similar to Plato’s theory of Forms. Plato would say that for everything there is a Form, which is the original blueprint of a particular thing. Just so, the archetypes of the collective unconscious are patterns of inner workings which supply a certain “inborn manner of comprehension” (Bennet 69). But, instead of placing the Forms in…

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The Doctors of Soul: Heraclitus

The Doctors of Soul: Heraclitus

Heraclitus, by Johannes Moreelse (after 1602–1634)  The philosophy of Heraclitus is one of the most fascinating examples of thinking in the ancient world. It is possible that he was influenced by Eastern philosophies seeping into the Mediterranean region. He was certainly inspired by the Pythagorean and Milesian thinkers. He was rumored to be a pupil of Xenophanes. He lived circa 540-480 B.C.E. He is our first Doctor of Soul. Heraclitus understood the world to be a place where nothing remains…

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The Doctors of Soul

The Doctors of Soul

  Many of you who have read James Hillman’s Re-Visioning Psychology know that his psychology begins with C.G. Jung, who Hillman considers “the immediate ancestor in a long line that stretches back through Freud, Dilthey, Coleridge, Schelling, Vico, Ficino, Plotinus, and Plato to Heraclitus-and with even more branches which have yet to be traced” (Hillman xvii). I will be starting a series of articles on these illustrious Doctors of Soul. I plan on discussing the most significant accomplishments and contributions…

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