CAPT’s typings (and our considerations)

Even though CAPT (Center for Applications of Psychological Type) officially holds the view that only a person himself can gauge his or her own type, one nevertheless finds them offering the following list of typings on their website:

Katharine Cook Briggs (INFJ) January 3, 1875–July 10, 1968
Lyman James Briggs (INTP) May 7, 1874–March 26, 1963
Carl Gustav Jung (INTP or INTJ) July 26, 1875–June 6, 1961
Mary H. McCaulley (INFP) April 8, 1920–August 26, 2003
Clarence “Chief ” Gates Myers (ISTJ) May 25, 1894–August 11, 1984
Isabel Briggs Myers (INFP) October 18, 1897–May 5, 1980
Peter Briggs Myers (INTP) son of Isabel and Chief Myers; co-owner of the MBTI instrument
Katharine D. Myers (INFP) former wife of Peter Myers; co-owner of the MBTI instrument

Quoted from their document: Submission Guidelines (Section 12.14 / Page 27)

Our considerations

As mentioned, CAPT only offers the types of the people who identified themselves as a given type in order to comply with their self-professed ethical guidelines (i.e. that only the person himself can gauge his or her own type). However, there are three issues that seem to lack explicit address:

(1) Jung identified himself as an (a) introvert with (b) thinking and (c) “a great deal of intuition, too.” This seems to be the basis of CAPT’s claim that Jung self-identified as INTP or INTJ. Now, on a nitpicky note, being “characterized by Thinking and having a great deal of Intuition too” does not reasonably lend itself to the typing of INTJ, but only to INTP.

But perhaps more seriously, as we have previously covered on this site, Jung not only identified himself as INTP, but also as ISTP, explicitly in early life, as well as implicitly even in later life, as Jung kept stressing that – to his own mind – he was an empiricist dealing with facts, all the way to his death. Now to us, and also to modern-day Jungians, it is quite laughable that Jung should have been an empiricist dealing strictly with “facts,” but if the sole criterion of CAPT’s typings is what a person identified himself as, it seems that they need to address this claim of Jung’s.

(2) To the extent that the two are related, the MBTI Foundation posits that only the person himself can verify what type he or she is. We can certainly understand how such an assumption may be necessary when working with Jungian typology in a professional context, but the fact remains that, epistemologically, it is quite absurd. In such a case, then, we should remember that JFK self-identified as an introvert, which would then supposedly make him so, according to the MBTI Foundation. However, according to a collective of psychologists and historians, as reported in Rubenzer and Faschingbauer in their book Personality, Character, and Leadership in the White House, JFK was in the 99,6th percentile of extroversion as compared to the general population (Brassey’s Inc. 2004 edition, p. 262). Does such a person magically become an introvert because he says he is?

Now as we said, we can understand how taking such a precaution as to say that only a person himself can verify his or her own type might be necessary when working with Jungian type in the workplace, but in our opinion, the MBTI Foundation (and the multitude of other actors who engage in such practices) should cease to tout it as an ethical precaution because they thereby imply that actors in the field who do not follow the same constraints are unethical.

However, Myers herself engaged in exactly this sort of practice in her book Gifts Differing, wherein she identifies Ford, Darwin, Freud and many others as specific types. (Claims that we have reproduced on our website.) Thus, by CAPT and the MBTI Foundation’s own guidelines of ethics, Isabel Myers was an unethical actor in the field. (Please do not misunderstand us – we think Myers was great, we just think the notion that only the person himself can verify what type he or she is is – well, silly.)

A final bone that we have to pick with this notion that only the person himself can verify what type he or she is is is that by calling it an ethical consideration, the people who do so posit a very one-sided view of ethics, which they then deem appropriate for everyone. Their view of ethics is one that merely considers sparing the other’s feelings, but what about one’s ethical obligation to tell the truth? It is for each individual to decide which of these two considerations rank higher in her or her personal system of ethics and not for others to define for them, from the outside.

(3) And finally, on a note of minor interest, Peter B. Myers, identified as INTP in the above list, is identified as ENFP in the back matter of Gifts Differing, a book Peter Myers helped author himself. Reference: Gifts Differing (Davies-Back 1995 edition, p. 210) Again, given that CAPT leans toward the view that true type does not change, Peter B. Myers’ aforementioned identification as ENFP should probably be addressed in the document we cited above.