Jordan B. Peterson Ph.D
Department of Psychology
University of Toronto

Author of:
Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

Routledge 1999

Professional Information:

I am a professor at the University of Toronto, and have been since 1998. I am also a clinical psychologist, and see clients on a regular basis. Before that, I was a professor at Harvard from 1993-1998. Before that, I was a graduate student and post-doc at McGill. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta.

Current Courses:

Psy230H: Personality and its Transformations

It was issues of personality and its transformations that thrust psychology into the forefront of popular consciousness during the twentieth century. Psy230S addresses these intensely interesting topics.

The first half of the course deals with classic issues of psychology. The psychoanalytic thinkers -- Freud, Jung and Adler -- are placed in a context of pre-experimental religious and ritual thought, devoted to the transformation of habit and interpretive schema. The existentialists, phenomenologists, and humanists -- concerned with the relationship between the individual, meaning and health -- are discussed from the perspective of philosophy and political science. The constructivists are dealt with from a viewpoint that is simultaneously developmental and ontological.

The second half of the course deals with issues of modern experimental psychology, from a more biological standpoint. Issues of motivation and information-processing are considered from within a standpoint that is essentially cybernetic: how do human beings operate in the world? What are their goals, their ends and means? What role do emotions and fundamental motivational states play in adaptation to the environment? How might personality traits and disorders be understood, from within such a framework?

Psy434H: Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief
The world can be validly construed as forum for action, or as place of things.

The former manner of interpretation - more primordial, and less clearly understood - finds its expression in the arts or humanities, in ritual, drama, literature, and mythology. The world as forum for action is a place of value, a place where all things have meaning. This meaning, which is shaped as a consequence of social interaction, is implication for action, or - at a higher level of analysis - implication for the configuration of the interpretive schema that produces or guides action.

The latter manner of interpretation - the world as place of things - finds its formal expression in the methods and theories of science. Science allows for increasingly precise determination of the consensually-validatable properties of things, and for efficient utilization of precisely-determined things as tools (once the direction such use is to take has been determined, through application of more fundamental narrative processes).

No complete world-picture can be generated, without use of both modes of construal. The fact that one mode is generally set at odds with the other means only that the nature of their respective domains remains insufficiently discriminated. Adherents of the mythological world-view tend to regard the statements of their creeds as indistinguishable from empirical "fact," even though such statements were generally formulated long before the notion of objective reality emerged. Those who, by contrast, accept the scientific perspective - who assume that it is, or might become, complete - forget that an impassable gulf currently divides what is from what should be.

Psy5421H: Graduate Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief
This course is not being offered in 2014/2015.

This course offers a more in-depth and critical examinations of the topics covered in Peterson, J. (1999). Maps of Meaning. New York: Routledge.

Psy 430H: Personality Seminar: Self-Deception: A Comprehensive Analysis

The following conclusions have been reached by psychologists interested in the issue of self-deception and its sister concept, repression.

It cannot logically exist.
It is extremely pervasive.
It is a hallmark of the healthy mind.
It is at the core of the process that generates mental illness.

Psy430S has been designed to allow interested students to take a truly in-depth look at one of the most permanently contentious issues in psychology.

Contact Information/Office Hours Signup:

E-mail address

Office phone

FAX number

Office Hours Signup
Office Hours for JB Peterson: Every second Tuesday from 3:30-4:30 and every second Wednesday from 4:30-5:30. For 15-minute slots, sign up here.

Office 4046
100 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M5S 3G3