Jon Mills a Adler Graduate Professional School, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Despite it being the focal point of his theoretical system, I argue that Jung's notion of the archetypes is one of his least understood concepts because it was nebulous to Jung himself. Jung vacillated between viewing archetypes as analogous to primordial images and ideas inherited from our ancestral past, formal a priori categories of mind, cosmic projections, emotional and valuational agencies, and numinous mystical experience, but the question remains whether a ‘suprapersonal’ or ‘transubjective’ psyche exists. In what follows, I will be preoccupied with tracing the theoretical development of Jung's thesis on the collective unconscious, with a special emphasis on the archetypes, and hence pointing out the metaphysical implications of his thought. It is not possible to critique his entire body of work in the context of this abbreviated article; therefore, the reader should be aware that I am limiting myself to a narrow scope of interest in explicating and analyzing the philosophical viability of his major concepts. The greater question is whether the archetypes adequately answer to the question of origins, of an omnipresent and eternal dimension to the nature and structure of psychic reality.

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