Hovhannisyan, G: Mythopoietic Cognitive Science


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Jungian (mythopoietic) psychology has often been criticized for being unscientific in its basic presuppositions. Conversely, more traditional, scientific approaches to psychology have often lacked the ontological depth perception that is afforded by the Jungian tradition in dealing with the complexities of human psychic life, particularly in its mythological dimensions. The aim of this presentation is to articulate a hitherto unexplored path to bridging this gap, namely by interfacing mythopoietic psychology with contemporary advances in embodied and enactive cognitive science (Thompson, 2007). This ambitious aim is accomplished in three steps. First, the basic narrative structure of myth is articulated from a Jungian standpoint, as involving an ongoing circulation between states of order and chaos, and the heroic mediation of the two (Peterson, 1999; Campbell, 2008). Then, the mythological categories of order and chaos are grounded within a cognitive scientific account of understanding, which entails an ongoing hermeneutical circulation between framing (order), misframing (chaos), and reframing (heroic redemption) (Hovhannisyan, Henson, & Sood, 2019). Finally, such a grounding of mythopoietic psychology in embodied-enactive cognitive science makes it possible to raise and address questions concerning the origin and function of myth in a way that is both naturalistically respectable and phenomenologically non-reductive—a particularly appealing outcome for those of us interested in bridging the human-science-natural-science divide in psychology (Hovhannisyan, 2018).

Presenter Bio:

Garri Hovhannisyan, MA, received his BA in philosophy at York University, and his MA in humanistic psychology at the University of West Georgia. He is currently a clinical psychology PhD student at Duquesne University with a broad research interest in bridging the natural-science-human-science divide within psychology, and a related interest in developing a theory of human motivation that is simultaneously naturalistic and non-reductive with respect to phenomenological reality. To this end, Garri’s work is both original and interdisciplinary, as it draws on and attempts to systematically integrate various insights from such fields as cognitive science, existential and phenomenological philosophy, and archetypal-mythopoietic psychology.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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