Collective individuation offers a concise formulation of a philosophy of universal fulfillment (eudaimonism): every person should respect every person–oneself and others–as one who should actively bring about happiness. One should pursue happiness only because everyone should be respected as one who should pursue happiness, so that one cannot define or bring about happiness in a way that does not respect others as ones who should also actively pursue happiness.
The aim of collectiveindividuation.com is to offer an interdisciplinary social science grounded in practical philosophy. Practical philosophy includes ethical, social, and political philosophy, while interdisciplinary social science includes psychology, political science, sociology, economics, cultural and biological anthropology. The name of the philosophy is collective individuation. By ‘individuation’, we mean human flourishing. By ‘collective’, we mean universal and inclusive. The philosophy of collective individuation is therefore one of universal and inclusive human flourishing.
The approach of collective individuation is inspired and influenced by the social philosopher Jürgen Habermas and the political philosopher Friedrich Hayek and their respective traditions. Accordingly, it is responding to and developing two major projects: an interdisciplinary social science via the general praxeology of the Austrian School, and an interdisciplinary system of liber(aliz)ation and human flourishing via the critical theory of the Frankfurt School. On a deeper level, the approach is indebted to the (neo-)Kantian and (neo-)Aristotelian traditions. Naturally, our particular clarification of and proposal for a shared social and political understanding takes place within an historical context involving our own concerns, background, and biography; it is unabashedly American. Though many notions addressed have specific historical relevance, we nevertheless believe that the core beliefs and values offered here can have general validity and applicability. In this spirit, we wish to introduce a new vision.
Habermas is the foremost philosopher on the left; Hayek is the foremost philosopher on the right. Their differing perspectives can be understood as analogous to the different notions of the unconscious held by Freud and Jung. Freud thought that the unconscious was mostly our enemy to be brought under control of the conscious; Jung thought that the unconscious was mostly our friend to be respected through a kind of dialogue. Likewise, Habermas tends to think that social systems are our enemy, to be overcome through rational discourse and communicative action; while Hayek tends to think that social systems (especially, market and law) are our friends, to be embraced through a type of respectful dissent and liberty. Of course, there are many more influences and relevancies–shared and unshared–to their perspectives. This project is a very Jungian one involving the synthesis of opposites by appreciating the truth in both.
The critical theory of collective individuation offers an interdisciplinary research program for the social sciences with a moral-practical intent, aiming to rationally address human agency—including meaningful human action—within the context of a wider personal, social, cultural, biological, and material reality. The main points of reference include the Psychoanalytic School, as founded by Sigmund Freud and furthered by the work of Carl Jung and Ludwig Binswanger; the Austrian School of the Social Sciences, as it began with Carl Menger and matured into the work of Friedrich Hayek and Alfred Schutz; and the Frankfurt School of the Social Sciences, as it began with Max Horkheimer and developed through the work of Herbert Marcuse and Jürgen Habermas. Drawing on these traditions and their mutual influences, the critical theory of collective individuation entails a Habermasian synthesis of the socio-analytical approach of Friedrich Hayek with the psycho-analytical approach of Carl Jung. One implication of this synthesis is that (1) Jürgen Habermas’s approach, taken alone, overstates the communicative and pre-communicative forms of evolution at the expense of other forms of development, so that it is ultimately reductive and inadequate for human freedom and fulfillment; and that (2) Habermas does not adequately address the favorable functions of unconscious and unintended social-systemic processes, so that his approach perpetuates hubristic dangers inherent in Enlightenment thought. In this way, the project explores some wider implications of the proposed Hayek:Jung::Habermas:Freud synthesis, emphasizing the saving power of its (a) fuller understanding of flourishing and (b) compensatory respect for unconscious and unintended social-systemic processes, and revealing its improvements on and advantages over the Marx-Freud synthesis of the Frankfurt School.
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The remaining menus contain an overview of the critical theory of collective individuation. We recommend that you start from left to right, beginning with Ethics.
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