Q: How can someone who is not a Thinker be a philosopher?
A: We are all thinkers to some degree. This system of typing does not say that someone is exclusively Thinking; rather it says that someone has a preference for Thinking rather than Feeling. For example, a person who needs to decide whether to give $100 to charity will have to use both Feeling (“do I want to support this cause?”) and Thinking (“can I spare the $100?”).
According to Jung, someone who was 100 % Thinking and 0 % Feeling (or vice versa) could not function in society and would have to be admitted to an asylum!
In the case of philosophy, the domain of aesthetics requires a good deal of Feeling, as does that of ontology and even some strands of ethics.
Q: What do you think of Isabel Myers?
We acknowledge a strong debt to Isabel Myers for understanding and applying Jung‘s thought better than most and for introducing the J/P dichotomy as a means of determining a given type’s dominant and auxiliary function. This innovation is now used by almost all practitioners in the field of Jungian typology and the credit for it belongs squarely to Myers. As such, it is grueling to see psychologists profiting from MBTI-like instruments that make use of Myers’ work without crediting Myers. Likewise, it is equally embarrassing to see people – psychologists and others – fault Myers for not being a trained psychologist while being seemingly unable to find fault with her actual work.
Q: What’s the deal with S = Concrete, N = Abstract?
A: In Jung’s original system he said that S = Senses and N = Intuition. This particular piece of terminology may not have been particularly well-chosen. Many newcomers to the system find it confusing that abstract-minded, often geeky and intellectually inclined people are characterized as “intuitive”. Furthermore, many modern philosophers have come to regard intuition as a sort of lightning-quick sensory summary. In other words, it is not clear that intuition is the opposite of sensation. Hence, we call them Abstract and Concrete, as detailed below:
| S / ConcreteAwareness
Precise fact and details
“Living in the real world”
The bottom line
Rarely interested in typology
| N / AbstractAssociation
Reading between the lines
“Living in one’s head”
Metaphors and symbols
Commonly interested in typology
Jung named the two “Sensing” and “Intuition” because he took his terms from Kant. But we find, that they tend to bewilder people. In fact, if we could go back in time and rename the functions, we would probably call intuition “introspection,” or “reflection,” whereas the sensing should be called “empirical,” “factual,” … or, perhaps even better, sensing should be called intuition. That would really fit well with our modern-day parlance, but the current terms; “sensing and intuition, are probably too ingrained by now to ever be renamed in the service of clarity.