Letters of C. G. Jung: Volume I, 1906-1950 (Vol 1)

[Carl Jung on the “Unconscious” as a “Romantic” philosophy or “Empirical” science]

To Arnold Kunzli

Dear Herr Kunzli, 4 February 1943

Many thanks for kindly sending me your well-meaning review of my little book.

Believing as I do that you are endeavouring to do justice to my conceptions, I venture to draw your attention to one questionable item which has often enough been the object of my curiosity and occasional investigation.

I cannot, to be sure, maintain that the latter has ever been crowned with success.

Permit me, therefore, to molest you also with my questions.

They have to do with that general fault-finding with my scientific attitude which is customary in Switzerland.

Supposing that my attitude really does exhibit such easily recognizable faults, how do you square this with the fact that I unite at least seven honorary doctorates upon my unscientific and/or benighted head?

I am, by your leave, an honorary member of the Academy of German Scientists and Physicians, a Fellow of the Royal Society, Doctor Scientiae of Oxford and Harvard University, and was one of the four guests of honour and representatives of Swiss science at the Tercentenary of the latter University.

Do these august bodies really consist of nothing but simpletons incapable of judgment, and is the Philosophical Faculty of Zurich University the brain of the world?

I would be sincerely grateful to you if you could enlighten me how it comes that the conception of science prevalent in Germany, England, America, and India, by virtue of which I was awarded degrees as a scientist, does not satisfy the scientific and theoretical requirements of the Philosophical Faculty of Zurich.

I would be all the more obliged for your kind information since I have never yet succeeded in discovering in what way my theories or methods run counter to the nature of empirical science and must therefore be condemned by the undisputed authority of the last-named worshipful corporation.

I reject the term “romantic” for my conception of the unconscious because this is an empirical and anything but a philosophical concept.

This is not altered by the fact that I share the initials “C.G.” with Carus and like him use the word “unconscious.”

He was a philosopher, I am not. I do not “posit” the unconscious.

My concept is a nomen which covers empirical facts that can be verified at any time.

If I posited the archetypes, for instance, I would not be a scientist but a Platonist.

Philosophically I am old-fashioned enough not to have got beyond Kant, so I have no use for romantic hypostases and am strictly “not at horne” for philosophical opinions.

People can only prove to me that certain facts do not exist. But I am still waiting for this proof.

Since your goodwill is apparent from your review I would expressly like to emphasize that I am not saddling you personally with the attitude of the Philosophical Faculty.

Your review was only the indirect cause of a renewed stirring of curiosity, combined with the hope of hearing something that would help to counteract my evidently only
local scientific inferiority.

With best thanks,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung [Letters Volume 1, Pages 328-329]