The Transcendent Function in Artists and Musicians

Since many of our visitors are having a hard time accepting that many of their favorite artists might be S types, we will now provide a Jungian argument for why that might that may be the case. We do not personally agree with Jung on this point, but we have not seen the point elaborated online, so we will lay it out for interested parties.

We start with a quote:

“Jung attaches great importance to the creative activity of fantasy, which he even puts in a category of its own, because in his opinion it cannot be subordinated to any of the four basic functions, but partakes of them all. He rejects the usual notion that artistic inspiration is limited to the intuitive type. … Fantasy is indeed the source of all creative inspiration, but it is a gift that can come to any of the four types.” – Jolande Jacobi: The Psychology of C.G. Jung p. 24

Here at CelebrityTypes we have previously touched upon the enantiodromia and its importance for Jung’s conception of his own typology. Briefly stated, it is a theory of a unity of opposites, as first discovered by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, and then adapted by Jung to fit his conception of his psychological system.

Heraclitus himself would express his own conception of the unity of opposites in the following manner:

road up / road down / still same road

cold things warm / warm things cool / wet things dry / dry things soak

That is, opposites exist in a state of tension, but they’re really one – still the same road – still the same thing.

This is the thought of Heraclitus, but Jung then morphs it, as he did with many other philosophers that he read. In Jung’s conception of Heraclitus’ thought, then, we are not merely content to see how all things are really one – in Jung’s version the principle becomes a regulatory principle that pulls extremes back towards the center. (Though in Greek philosophy, that principle should actually be attributed to Anaximander, not Heraclitus.)

The Transcendent Function

In Jung’s view, then, extremes should be mediated in order to be pulled back to the center – back towards a sort of middle ground. That is one reason why Jung always stressed the importance of manual and somatic activities like chopping wood and going sailing in his own life.

Since a function-differentiation is an extreme in Jung’s view, the very fact that one is a type implies that one is an extreme with regards to one’s conscious orientation. For example, being an INFJ implies that one is subject to an extreme polarization of N (into consciousness) and S (into unconsciousness).

Yet as we saw from Jung’s reading of Greek philosophy above, whenever there is an extreme, there is (according to Jung) also a regulatory principle that attempts to pull that extreme back towards the center. Within the psyche, this process of mediating the extremes is what Jung called The Transcendent Function.

However, in Jung’s view, the Transcendent Function is not merely pulling every manifest quality back towards an undifferentiated black block. It is not (like Anaximander’s theory) a regressive force that aims to level every high and low – to pull every quality that has emerged in adult life “back up in the womb,” so to speak. (Like with Jung’s theory of Buddhism in Jung: Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido [Franz Deuticke 1925 edition] p. 332-n3) In Jung’s view, the Transcendent Function is a Hegelian progression that takes the emergent qualities (e.g. superior Ni and inferior Se) and elevates them both into a higher unity. (Jung: Psychological Types §824-827)

Here we must state that the Transcendent Function should perhaps rather be called the Transcendent Process to avoid confusing it with the actual functions. We will refer to it as such for the rest of the article.

The Transcendent Process, then, is a process by which the cognitive functions are dislodged from the usual fixed positions in consciousness. When the Transcendent Process is active, it allows for the free play of the functions within the psyche, and the activity of the Transcendent Process is especially related to creative work. (Jung: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche §168)

Since the function positions are usually fixed within the psyche, the Transcendent Process can only be active at certain points during an individual’s life. But since the Transcendent Process is especially related to creative work, it is reasonable to assume that this process is more often active in artists and in those musicians for whom music is an artistic endeavor.

Transcendent Intuition

If we look at an S type artist then – an artist who is not particularly intuitive in his normal state – we may nevertheless say that insofar as his work is a genuinely creative work – a work that has been born under the auspice of the Transcendent Process – then no matter what type the artist is, he will still have unbounded access to Intuition in his creative work. (Jung: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche §348)

In fact, one could go so far as to argue that with regards to creative work, only S types will have access to Transcendent Intuition whereas the N types will only have access to ‘normal’ Intuition and vice versa (i.e. only the N types will have access to Transcendent Sensation whereas S types will only have ‘normal’ Sensation), but that may be going too far.

At any rate, the point here is to make it clear that neither by our (the CT admins’) standards nor by Jung’s is there any upper limit to the creativity of S types. The notion that this should be so is of a newer date and may well be a facet of the general bias in favor of N types that exists in type communities rather than a true facet of type.

84 Comments

  1. Do you not agree with the entirety of enantiodromia or simply the particulars regarding exactly what role it may play? I’m a little dubious about the “Transcendent Process”; I don’t really feel an individual will ever be able to use their inferior function with the proficiency of a superior function. However, I could certainly buy that the influence of the inferior function may take on an exaggerated, dramatic quality for a time. I think repressing any function could to lead to some deficiencies leaving certain psychological needs unfulfilled which will have a deleterious effect on his mental health and general well-being.

    Another concept which has been floating around in online typology circles for a while now (its original source apparently being this book: Was That Really Me?: How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality) is the inferior function blowout. I find the idea interesting and find it sounds plausible.

    At any rate, I don’t really see why an artist would really need to have such a process come into play in their artistic expression to be creative. Isn’t much of music capturing feeling and expressing it through sound? It sounds like the ones who would be at the advantage here are the Feeling and Sensation types, not the iNtuitive types — not that I don’t see how use of iNtuition could result in some creative lyrics.

  2. Do you not agree with the entirety of enantiodromia or simply the particulars regarding exactly what role it may play?

    The latter :-)

    I’m a little dubious about the “Transcendent Process”; I don’t really feel an individual will ever be able to use their inferior function with the proficiency of a superior function.

    So are we. But then again, we never cared for Hegelism.

    At any rate, I don’t really see why an artist would really need to have such a process come into play in their artistic expression to be creative. Isn’t much of music capturing feeling and expressing it through sound? It sounds like the ones who would be at the advantage here are the Feeling and Sensation types, not the iNtuitive types…

    Well, we agree, but the point is that there is this flagrant overvaluation of N online. And since some people wouldn’t listen to us, or to Ric Velasquez, we thought maybe they’d listen to Jung.

  3. “And since some people wouldn’t listen to us, or to Ric Velasquez, we thought maybe they’d listen to Jung.”

    I see this argument from authority fallacy way too often in typology discussions. Vide the inadequate metaphor made in “On Learning Typology through Spurious Sources”.

  4. It’s not really an argument from authority when we clearly denote that we don’t even agree with Jung ourselves.
    The point in On Learning Typology through Spurious Sources is twofold, but you seem to have focused on the one. There is also the point that the system is far more complex than people have allowed themselves to believe.

  5. At the very least you’re appealing to the credulity of others in this argument from authority fallacy.

  6. It’s indeed very funny that you don’t adhere to this particular excerpt from Jung’s theory yet use it unashamedly to convince others that you’re right about artistry among S types.

    By the way, I agree with you and Velasquez on that point.

  7. Look what we write: “We do not personally agree with Jung on this point, but we have not seen the point elaborated online, so we will lay it out for interested parties.”

    Also, look around the net – the critical commentaries we get almost always revolve around authority and fail to address our arguments. Since we’ve been arguing in the same way for years, we just thought that we would show them how someone who had a lot of authority thought the same thing that we do, but for different reasons. No matter how you approach the issue, the conclusion is valid in terms of authority. But we don’t even want to pin anything on authority, we want to pin it on arguments. Good arguments are valid, no matter who makes them, as you can see from our News page, where we regularly give ground to good arguments and good research that is sent to us.

    In a sense, it is like the people who say that Bill Gates is INTP “because he invents stuff.” The argument is invalid, but since people don’t take account of the good arguments against INTP, there comes a time where one eventually feels that one has to address even the bad arguments (Bill Gates did not “invent stuff.” – That is to say, he did invent things, but not the things that people think. He did code, but not to the extent that these people think.) But even if Gates did code and invent, that whole line of reasoning is still inferior to cognitive inference of his functions, as we’re sure you’ll agree.

    So to sum up: Of course the argument from authority is a fallacy. But when people say that if someone believes that an S type can be extremely creative, then it shows they don’t understand the system, and these people fail to take stock of valid arguments to the contrary, then it may serve some small purpose to show them how even by their own manner of reasoning their argument is invalid.

  8. Again, look at what you wrote: “And since some people wouldn’t listen to us, or to Ric Velasquez, we thought maybe they’d listen to Jung”. That’s an unmistakable use of the authority fallacy to converge the views of others – if they are imune or not to logic and/or valid argumentation, that’s a whole different subject – with your own; somewhere along the lines of ends justifying means.

    And I fail to see how the number of uses and/or users of this fallacy makes it less of a fallacy.

    If you’re trying to convince me that people are stupid and/or make stupid arguments and/or fall for stupid and/or fallacious arguments, save your energy, because I’m already more than convinced.

  9. Seeing how the argument was about what S types are capable of in Jungian typology, I don’t understand why you would get testy about referencing what Jung had to say on the matter. Even were I not to believe Sensors are not very creative, I would find it apropos for for it to at least mentioned what Jung had to say on the matter. Perhaps were this presented as having to be correct because Jung said as much, I would understand dismissing the argument as fallacious. But to be unable to bring up what may be relevant to the discussion because you’re not allowed to speak of what Jung had to say about Jungian psychology is getting a bit absurd. Quoting Jung and asserting Jung’s word is irrefutable and infallible are two very different things.

  10. I don’t put much stock in this “enantiodromia” business, but I think it could be used as an arguement for why Introverts can be good public speakers, such as yours truly.

    As for sensory musicians, I think Ozzy Osbourne is a good example of an ESFP rock star. I can see him as having the Se and Fi duality going, and he seems extroverted.

    P.S. I am also the “Anonymous” INFP commenter, but now that I am a… mainstay of sorts in the comments sections, I’ve decided not to go by “Anonymous”.

  11. Have you guys ever heard of the Highly Sensitive Person? Perhaps, considering it as a factor can help make sense of this creative artist business. Find it here:

    http://www.hsperson.com/pages/hsp.htm

    Please, Mr. Pieters I’m only supplying a new or an-other angle to consider. Please don’t chew me up. Lol.

    For me, I don’t see the point people make about Sensors being uncreative. We are all creative, just through different routes, if we would just be more confident to as Popper would say, try and err. Perhaps, having to fit in is the root of the problem. Just think about the shackles that would be placed on a Sensor because his immediate enviroment that he can see, hear and touch, does not allow him much freedom of movement, whereas an Intuitive orients by his images and so would be less encumbered by this (even then the sad story of Russell’s search for “redemption” and Bruno’s various escapes from tyrannical dogma make us think different, not to forget Jung’s own devastating realization that he had been a mere conventional robot).

    The Transcendent Process does look dubious but having counseled quite a number of isolated misunderstood individuals, victims of great trauma (including heartbreak), I can see how it could be. These people were not reaching the potentials they could or used to because they had come to believe they were “less than themselves”. But with a few tweaks here and there, in a short time, they grew to these awesome giants. While we are all always learning, a transcendent event is remarkable because the individual begins to partake in what he was always meant to without the former self-doubt albeit over a course of time. You should be a witness to a transcendent event – it’s awesome! And maybe you could also have different conceptions of what happened – another awesome.

  12. To be quite honest, I sometimes have a difficulty with this issue of fantasy vs intuition.

    It seems to me somewhat similar to my difficulty with the issues of “emotion” vs “the feeling function” albeit, I find I have resolved that issue quite well. Often people quote the Jung lines on those issues and take them at face value, but frequently they don’t really clarify as much as one would hope.

    My sense though is that fantasy in the normal case, when not intuitively oriented, is akin to the normal progression of mental life, with thoughts, feelings and sensations appearing at will, images and so forth as well, which may be termed of a creative nature (which means they’re not reproducing the already known, and are “fresh” in some sense).

    Sometimes, I wonder if the traditional attribution of “possibilities” isn’t better associated to fantasy than it is to intuition. It seems the unconscious plays a role both in fantasy and in intuition, but that intuitions can frequently seem to create more of a sense of certainty, albeit a certainty whose justification is mostly unconscious.
    Whereas in the case of creative fantasy, the intent really is centrally on allowing the new into consciousness.

    In one case the role of the unconscious is to spew forth the new, that is, the as-yet-not-available-to-consciousness.

    Whereas with intuition, it really seems more like one is treating unconscious perceptions as facts of their own right – Jung himself attributes to them a sense of psychic certainty that is distinguished from physical certainty.

    I suppose in cases where people are *both* oriented by fantasy significantly and by intuition, their aim is essentially to envision possible realms. Probably this isn’t infrequent because both forms are oriented to the unconscious in some way.
    These might be the artists and poets Jung talks of.

    On the other hand, I don’t get the sense the prophets are talking about possibilities so much as certainties transcending the traditional means of knowing (and less out there examples would include intuitive scholars and philosophers who don’t go as far as pronouncing prophecies but sometimes come close).

  13. The justification being mostly unconscious for intuition, above, corresponds to the mostly unconscious chain of associations Jung talks of in his online video where he explains intuition (Freeman interview).

    It is possible the root of this sense of certainty is simply perceiving the heart of something, i.e. the impersonal archetypal truth to it.

    Arguably the place this gets corroded is the unconscious is both house to the personal and the impersonal and universal, and when someone mistakes one for the other, it leads to disastrously misplaced sense of “psychic certainty.”

  14. @ptypes

    Jung was most likely an Ni dominant, so it makes sense to me that his descriptions of the “intuition” function would revolve mainly around Ni – which is very much a function that can give the person a sense of “psychic certainty” (like gamblers who believe that they’ll win back the money they lost yesterday, or Jesus, who believed the world was about to end).

    Ne however, is much more fantasy-based and interested in ideas in a much more distanced/objective way. If anything, dominant Ne is the opposite of Ni in that it gives a person a sense of “psychic uncertainty” where anything could be possible and nothing can be known for sure.

  15. @ptypes

    In fact, I suspect it’s this Ni>Ne bias that made Jung call the function “intuition” anyway. The name just doesn’t make sense applied to Ne.

  16. Basically the point of my philosophizing there was simply to uncover different ways of looking at the unconscious and its role in intuition, which is the function with the most intimate interplay with the unconscious.

    In one sense, to the conscious side, the unconscious is a sort of womb of possibility. But it strikes me that envisioning a possible experience (sensory, for instance) that you could have is better placed in fantasy than in what we’d truly call the intuitive function.

    Whereas, the role of the unconscious in intuition appears to me in part to be to uncover what is “forced” on consciousness as opposed to what is manufactured. Hence why it’s often termed a sort of instinctive apprehension which is difficult or impossible to deduce (because, rather than offering deductions from premises, it essentially offers the premises in a certain primal form).

    As Jung notes, the one major place where it’s essential to go to your intuition is when there’s nothing to build on – no deductions you can make, and instead must await the maternal soil of the idea to grow clearer via an intuition of sorts.

    Here, the function of the “womb” of the unconscious becomes more identified with being exactly that: a womb, a place of birth (so more like the source/essence), than quite a source of possibilities, which to me, again, while certainly very true of what intuition offers, isn’t specific to intuition and appears equally true of fantasy.

    Those remarks regarding Ni/Ne likely have something to them by the more modern definitions yes (where Ne is a feature of NP types’ openendedness and Ni one of NJ types’ seeking greater convergence).

  17. This view of intuition also to me emphasizes its connection with the irrational factor: i.e. that which isn’t shaped, but instead is an absolute perception of occurrences, which reason can at most approximate (albeit an analogous opposite is also true in a sense, depending on which you view as more fundamental, generally that indicating your own psychological type).

  18. @ptypes

    I’m not sure why you think the N function is more connected to the “unconscious mind” than other functions (S, for example)? Why do you think that? I’ve heard others say the same, but I don’t buy it. I’d suggest the only function that is “conscious” by necessity (in the sense it needs to be consciously monitored or it won’t work properly) is Thinking; the other three all seem to have some unconscious elements attached, but unlike with Thinking this doesn’t seem to cause many problems.

    I’d suggest the S function is just as much a part of the unconscious as N. But then, I guess it entirely depends on what definitions of the functions you’re using.

    Fantasy vs Intuition: I’d suggest Ne is more fantasy-oriented while Ni is more “intuition”-oriented. I think these are just tendencies however, and that both fantasy and intuition are innate human traits that everyone uses daily to some degree and can’t truly be pinned to a single function.

    But you seem to be using Jung’s very primitive/early function definitions so I may be completely missing what you mean (I’m an INTP, but from my understanding of Jung’s typology he’d probably type me as ESTJ or something similar).

    Sorry if much of this is irrelevant to what you said, but I find your writing style very hard to follow! (Maybe an Ne-Ni difference?) :)

  19. Seem to have lost a reply I typed, but anyway, the basic response is N as defined by the MBTI is indeed =/= to Jung’s intuition, and the latter is what I was describing.

    I don’t pretend that that’s the only thing one can call intuition – it’s just a word after all.

    But for what it’s worth, it’s a pretty common use of the word that Jung’s making – Keirsey even notes NTs *repress intuition* so he obviously gets that N=/=intuition as well. Yes, one can be a Jungian thinking-sensation type and a NT.

    I do think there’s something to the idea though – think of it this way, there’s two viewpoints on the irrational factor, namely the raw absolute experience out of which rationalizations can grow. One is that one apprehends new stimuli. The other is simply that there are various transactions between the unconscious and conscious, and new experiences amount to simply becoming conscious of what we weren’t before.
    Perceiving the nature of the former events involves as absolute a knowledge of the stimulus as possible, whereas in the latter one strives for glimpses into one’s unconscious psyche instead.

    I think it’s a pretty natural way to divide up the irrational factor personally, but it certainly isn’t anywhere close to exhaustive of the possible meanings floating around in the academic literature of the term “intuition”, albeit it’s one pretty common use of the term as far as I can tell.

    Hope this clarifies.

  20. As further comment, I’m with you on the thinking function being a good candidate for the most consciously deliberated, and also am with you in wagging a potential finger at Jungians for slightly overstating the consciousness of the sensation process.

    If I had to put it in MBTI terms, I’d say sometimes the sensation-intuition contrast seemed to include aspects of J/P.

    I think it is all too tempting here, because sensations are more amenable to quantification and calculation directly, so one tends to sometimes accidentally write about thinking activities instead of sensation. For instance, “facts” are often more logical than sensation-based.
    I like to keep the concepts as pure as possible, and prefer sensation to be as truly irrational as possible.
    When people have to feel that logical models only approximated the events of the irrational factor of reality, sometimes they’re probably getting a taste of the irrational-rational chasm.

  21. And as a last sort of tl;dr note, yes N functions in common MBTI sources don’t seem to uniformly describe something anywhere near as intimately tied to the unconscious as Jungian intuition.

  22. Rachel: The unconscious has two places in Jungian typology:

    (1) As as threshold of consciousness relative to the functions where, somewhere between the dominant and the inferior, a shift from conscious to unconscious occurs. This is (crudely speaking) the Freudian or general psycho-dynamic conception of the unconscious. We say a bit more about that here: https://www.idrlabs.com/articles/2015/04/the-puerile-nature-of-the-tertiary-function/

    (2) As the repository which supplies Intuition with its impetus. This is (crudely speaking) the Jungian conception of the unconscious as a collective unconscious in which archetypes reside. Charts explaining both conceptions may be found in this article (it is not necessary to read the article itself): https://www.idrlabs.com/articles/2014/02/jungs-concept-of-archetypes/

    Since the Jungian conception of the unconscious ultimately contains the sum of all possibilities, images, thoughts, and motifs previously known to the species akin to a version of the Platonic Forms, it makes sense to Jungians that Intuition, by virtue of having a special link to this repository, is able to peek inside it and furnish consciousness with non-immediate (sensory) observations. But as we note in the first article we linked to, one can really be agnostic (or even reject) this Jungian conception of Intuition as “perception via the unconscious” and the theory of types would still be the same.

    However, you appear to be using the term unconscious in the general modern and more sciency sense where it simply means ‘elements of mental processing that are not conscious.’ So in a way, everyone is right, since you’re really talking about different things. We’d say that in spite of Jung’s vehement assurances that he was a *good* scientist, the sciency version of the unconscious doesn’t have much of a place in his typology at all. Even in Jung’s own time, there were people who pursued this sciency version of the unconscious, but Jung gave that up when he threw his lot in with Freud (and indeed those people never produced anything like typology).

    With the psycho-dynamic version of the unconscious, we’re not so much dealing with the unconscious as a biological entity, as much as a shadowy counter-conscious where thoughts, memories, fantasies, and feelings are tugged away in contradistinction to the conscious mind. That is, the kinds of content harbored by the unconscious in the psycho-dynamic view (or at least the kinds of contents that analysts like Jung and Freud examined) are not the primitive and inexpressible impulses of mammal functioning (as the sciency version of the unconscious might hold), but rather thoughts, feelings etc. of the same type that the conscious mind might hold (but for whatever reason does not). For this reason, the psycho-dynamic version of the unconscious has sometimes been criticized for being more literary than sciency and the criticism is not without merit. It is, however, chiefly the psycho-dynamic approach that makes sense when dealing with typology.

    ***

    We should add that the distinction between a Freudian and Jungian unconscious with regard to (1) and (2) is not something that Jung would have agreed to, but we do believe that it is the most faithful way to portray the different operationalizations of the unconscious in Jung’s type theory. Jung owed an enormous debt to Freud in almost all of his thinking after 1907. Jungians often deny this, but Jung basically got the whole psycho-dynamic mindset and paradigm from Freud, even if he did apply it in novel ways and to subjects that Freud did not.

    ***

    That was a long answer. When are you going to come and have a drink with me?

  23. More or less I think there’s a pretty good link between Jung’s ideas on intuition and what we tend to associate to the idea of having a “pure intuition” as to something – the idea being that all these versions of intuition are perceiving the fact that something must appear so to the mind, based on the very reality of its structure.

    All introverts tapped into the structure of the mind, but unless they were intuitive types, generally in tandem with their main process (sensation, thinking, or feeling). Observing the subjective mental factors behind how a sensation appears in consciousness (which is as much a feature of how the mind assembles the phenomenon as of the stimulus which apparently caused it) would for instance be the work of the introverted sensation type.
    Thus, all introverts, to Jung, had an intimate relation to the unconscious.

    The intuitive introvert just took one step farther – instead of knowing the mental side of one of the 3 processes, I think the idea is that all mental phenomena are distinguished as such due to the ideational side to them. So the intuitive introvert says, all the other 3 processes’ psychic background is known if we perceive psychic reality’s many facts (the fact that such associations *can* form at all) in totality.
    This means not merely observing their relation to consciousness, but also their origin in the unconscious: how the mind assembles associations at all.

    As the admin said, Jung believed there was an impersonal repository of the essence of mental structures, the collective unconscious, which theoretically explained how these associations arise (or their most primordial forms), and these were the archetypes/primordial images the intuitive introverts perceived.

    It’s like an extreme version of what happens when you figure something out and have a flash of not just its meaning but where the associations you formed as part of figuring whatever out fit in with the rest of your mental life.

  24. @ptypes

    This confirms my suspicions I’d be an extravert in Jung’s typology haha – I don’t understand how it’s even possible for one to be conscious of one’s unconscious in the way you describe.

    How is Ti linked to the unconscious then? :)

  25. I think all introversion relates around the same way to the unconscious, basically in that introversion to Jung was about relation to the Self, whose primordial form is the unconscious repository of images the admin mentioned, which you can view the conscious ego as shaping in accordance with individual adaptation needs. Think of the unconscious mind as the sort of raw unshaped material, which the irrational function of intuition perceives as directly as possible, but which other functions in the introverted attitude successively abstract towards an approximation of (much as extraverted functions successively approximate the external stimulus).

    So I’d say introverted thinking might glimpse into the inner structure of the mind for the root idea behind mental construction of a logically formulated construct. But always it does this in conjunction with the process of shaping a logical concept, rather than perceiving the material in its rawer form. It’s like it’s observing the contribution of the archetypal structure of the mind to the thinking/logical conceptual formulation process, much as introverted sensation is observing the contribution of the archetypal unconscious mind to the formation of sensory images of perception.

    I get the sense (from just my reading of the spirit of Jung’s way of thinking) rote logic itself might even be more related to the extraversion of thinking, in that it seems the projection of this mental process onto a definite logical construct would be one concrete external manifestation.
    Jung kind of hints this:

    – his extraverted thinking type is the one who is oriented by a formula, a sort of rigid logical formula to which all is subordinate

    – in discussing introverted rationals, he notes how introverted feeling/thinking (or at least hints, if not notes) may flit in and out of the realm of standard logicality in discerning their truths

    It’s kind of similar in my mind to how Jung’s introverted feeling types might be quite impoverishment in actual expression of feeling, and thus appear feelingless – I’ve seen references by Jungians to the idea that introverted thinking can be impoverished for language and words in a similar sense.

    Basically, impoverished for what constitutes the externalization of the process.

    I have no doubt that some of what Jung called introverted thinking fits more as something like Ni in modern typologies.

    I’d say in fact that modern typologies kind of shave off the intuitive type from Jung and turn it into something more “realistic” that applies to more people than Jung’s rather more out there notions.
    It’s probably highly unrealistic to think even close to 50% of modern Ni-doms are Jungian intuitive introverts.

  26. Oh, and my own preference (and really this is a matter of labeling) is to refer to people like Jung in his typology as intuitive-thinkers – somewhere in between observing this repository and sticking to what can be logically formulated, but certainly not remaining true enough to the thinking function’s nature to be called not-impure thinking types.

    This doesn’t really constitute a disagreement with the admins of the site, or yourself, as some of this stuff probably translates to INJ in a more modern typological framework.

    For all I know, this symbolically oriented, synthetic style of introverted intuitive-thinking admixture fits quite well with some views of Ni.

  27. No problem; do you consider Jung a NiFe or NiTe type, out of curiosity? And why if you feel up to sharing?

  28. In modern typology?

    I’d consider him a clear Ni dominant type. I don’t think I need to go into why?

    I think, from what I’ve read by him and about him (admittedly not a great amount, so I’m willing to change my mind) that Jung was INFJ (Ni, Fe, Ti, Se).

    What I see mostly from his writing is dominant Ni, and tertiary Ti in his love of developing pretty complicated systems – such as typology – that fit together quite logically but aren’t really empirical or open to scientific testing. I think an INTJ would throw at lot more “hard facts” at the reader without fleshing out the internal logic so much, and would probably be more interested in putting his ideas to actual use in the world than Jung appeared to be. Also, Jung seemed to see people as being pretty much the same – or at least having the same spiritual goals – which suggests Fe rather than Fi to me (being too much of an individual, or too extreme in one’s type, is seen as very unhealthy by Jung – the aim is for everyone to move beyond their type and reach a kind of wholeness. As I understand it anyway. Fi types would want to be MORE individualised, or at least develop in their own unique ways). Another pointer against Fi is the lack of emotional engagement in Jung’s writing – it’s much more Ti philosophizing rather than Fi engaging.

    So I see mainly Ni and Ti in Jung from his writing. I think his Ni is much stronger than his Ti. This can be seen I think in his vague, at times just plain odd writing style (it seems to me his goal in writing was actually to make his ideas look MORE mysterious than to shine clarity on them!) – his unwillingness to clearly define his ideas points strongly against Ti dominant in my opinion.

  29. But yeah, his coming up with weird unprovable theories (eg. Collective Unconscious) and not having any desire at all to test them – yet still believing in them – points more towards INFJ than INTJ to me. Isaac Newton (INTJ) had crazy theories too (about alchemy, the Bible etc.) but unlike Jung he spent very large portions of his life actually testing his ideas experimentally, or gathering more and more “facts” to support his ideas.

    It just seems to me Jung fits the INFJ model better.

    What do you think?

  30. Well, I think that’s a fair discussion using the function-attitudes definitions you provide, sure.

    In Jung’s own system I call him an intuitive-thinking type, like I posted in my long response, and a dogged introvert (again by his own definition). His top two function-attitudes in his system are introverted intuition and introverted thinking as per my understanding. I’d even go as far as saying in the early days, when Jung identified as sensation>intuition, he was talking of introverted-sensation or something closer to it than extraverted-sensation.

    My theoretical stance tends to be that, if you define introversion/extraversion as Jung did, this Myers hypothesis of needing balance between introversion/extraversion (thus needing top two functions in opposite attitudes – a hypothesis orthodox Jungians often staunchly opposed) doesn’t make any more sense than if she said you need to balance thinking/feeling and sensation/intuition.
    I don’t see a good reason why she should accept the idea that differentiating a dominant function leads to an inferior function, yet not accept that differentiating introversion as one’s preference leads to inferior extraversion (as in Jung’s theory).

    That said, my stance is modern definitions of introverted and extraverted attitudes of functions often have significantly less to do with introversion/extraversion as defined either by Jung or by the five factor model or other empirically established sources.

    I don’t think, for instance, Jung would suggest things like being less shy/affable/etc has little to do with extraversion/introversion – indeed, he pretty much described the extraverts as your typical outgoing individual, albeit he also ascribed multiple other features to them, such as concretism, reliance on facts, and other forms of “outer” – basically he stuffed many different types of “inner” and “outer” orientation into the same category.

    What’s going on is this idea of subject v. object is so broad and general that people can define a subject-orientation of a function many ways, and ditto for the object-orientation of a function – thus, some such ways have little to do with either Jungian or common parlance or empirical soft-scientific (e.g. Big 5) versions of introversion and extraversion.

    So the reason I mention all this is really to say that, in Jungian or modern Five Factor Model style interpretations, I would not accept the standard models like NiFe and so forth. I think in his system, to claim Jung had an extraverted function as his secondary is a losing battle, and not really one I think can be defended without twisting the facts and ideas both.

    But, I view the models used nowadays as more like a holistic philosophical portrait than as measurements of individual functions or attitudes. If one takes a philosophical stance like, e.g. “people are mostly the same” rather than “people are mostly individuals and different” and calls that Fe, then fine, one can be Fe-oriented without being extraverted by the Big 5 definitions or the MBTI instrument definitions or by Jungian definitions.
    They also wouldn’t necessarily even be feeling types by Jung’s definitions.

    That version of NiFeTiSe is just a different idea for categorizing people, which admittedly may be insightful, but simply isn’t the same Ni or Fe Jung talked of except loosely.

    As for what I call Jung in the modern typologies, I’m a little undecided to be honest; I do think it’s probably a reasonable guess that he’s a Ni-dominant in modern typologies, rather than Ti-dominant. I’m not entirely committed to that view, but I think it’s quite entertainable.

  31. @ptypes

    When it comes to trying to type Jung by his own typology, I’m very much out of my depth. :)

    I think it’s best to view modern typology as being a system-in-itself, and not directly related to Jung’s typology or the Five Factor Model. They’re all related – and they often correlate – but all three are distinctly different ways of viewing personalities/minds.

    I think that your point about some people having two introverted/extroverted functions at the top of their “stack” is perfectly possible, and I would say is not going too far outside the modern view. I think in the vast majority of cases the I-E-I-E (and the extroverted counterpart) model holds true, but that there will be a small handful of I-I-E-E’s out there.

    Jung may well have been an Ni-Ti-Fe-Se type. If so, he’d be INFJ in the modern system (an unusual one, but that would be his type).

  32. Well, Jung, by his own account, thought he was like Goethe and Nietzsche. With Goethe, Jung ended up concluding that he was an Fe-N type. And with Nietzsche, as already discussed, Jung thought Ni-Ti. But I’d say it’s abundantly clear from Nietzsche that he hated Ti and saw it as weak, empty and irrelevant.

    Nietzsche: “‘How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?’ Kant asks himself – and what is really his answer? ‘By means of a means’ – but unfortunately not in five words.”

    Nietzsche: “It is high time to replace Kant’s question: ‘How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?’ with another question, ‘Why is belief in such judgments necessary?'”

    Likewise with Nietzsche’s criticism of Parmenides: Impartial logical demonstrations are empty and worthless because they do not accomplish things in the real world. They are not strong and enabling to the individual.

    What conclusions can we draw from this?
    * Jung experienced himself to be profoundly like Goethe. Even Jung saw Goethe as an Fe type.
    * Jung experienced himself to be profoundly like Nietzsche, too. Jung himself saw Nietzsche as an Ni type.
    * Nietzsche, who is the prototype of the Ni-T type for Jung, is clearly unlike Jung in his manifest impatience with Ti.

  33. @admin

    What exactly was Nietzsche’s problem with Kant’s ‘synthetic a priori judgements’? They seem perfectly possible to me. :D

  34. *…perfectly possible to me IF WE FOLLOW KANT’S THINKING AND DEFINITIONS* (which I don’t) just to be clear.

  35. @admin

    I see. Yeah, Nietzsche was definitely not a logical “system-builder” haha.

    She’s VERY charming, and clearly a world-expert on the topic. :D

  36. Using your more modern definitions, yes I can see I think the distinction admin/Rachel are drawing. The idea is basically that Jung shared the whole structural logic focus of Kant, even said he was thoroughly into Kant, yet didn’t pursue the same kind of logical classification system as did Kant, preferring a more organic interpretation of the psyche. I suppose one could build upon this, if one had significant expertise working with the more modern paradigms.

    I don’t commit much only because I am just much more familiar with/comfortable making firm statements about the classic Jung stuff.

  37. On Jung vs. Myers

    With typology, Jung was “struggling in the dark” (as von Franz would have it) and on broad swaths there is scarcely a classical Jungian typology that is fundamentally distinct from Myers. Myers herself wrote her book on the basis of Jung and especially van der Hoop (whom Jung considered quite competent). Besides von Franz’s testimony, the notion that Jung’s typology isn’t fully formed, but stands in need of elaboration from other angles, is also evidenced by the fact that even classical Jungians do not agree on what Jung meant. And then of course there are the contradictions in Jung too, which have to be worked out. Furthermore, even his own associates, von Franz and Jacobi, have called him an Intuitive dominant (even an obvious Intuitive dominant), just as many other Jungians, trained at Zurich, called J an Intuitive type without qualification or discussion in their books.

    All of this suggests to me that there isn’t really a wealth of difference between Jung and Myers, but that Jung, Myers, Hoop, and Franz together form the classical body of Jungian typology, with room to disagree on some things, but (I would posit) not nearly as much as you seem to imply.

    Of all the arguments hitherto given, I would suggest that the argument that Thinking as “someone who conducts intellectual analyses of concepts” is a quasi-behavioral argument that presents a serious impediment to what I understand to be your operationalization of Thinking: In spite of Jung’s frequent vagueness and self-contradictions, basing one’s analysis on behavioral, static, or empirical (in the modern sense of the term) properties of individuals is just so extremely far from his method or anything I have ever heard him say.

  38. I should say that I really give zero room for the authors/theorists to disagree. In fact, inter-scholar disagreement pretty much just frustrates me. I believe in making precise definitions and stating one’s relative confidence in one’s claim – to the extent you don’t know, just say it.

    So when I say they differ, I mean one of two things:

    a) Someone is wrong, and simply not being reasonable
    b) They are not disagreeing in meaning, and merely *differing* in conceptual focus.

    Even in the most empirical theories based on factor analysis and all that, two factors in separate models that are in some ways quite similar need not really contain the same things. It depends what ideas we want to compare and contrast, what aspects of personality we really want to bring out in our analysis and so forth.

    When I say modern typologies define intuition differently, this is no slur or such…so many philosophers have made points about something called intuition, and not in a small many of cases, they really were trying to illuminate different points in terms of actual conceptual meaning.

    When you say Nietzsche and Jung are obviously significantly different, despite being supposedly introverted intuitive thinking types, I’m all with you, but you have to remember that everyone of a given type in any system will end up with some key differences.

    That’s the whole point of subcategories – in factor analysis based theories, they develop subfactors. Someone could be in-the-middle in a factor just like another, yet very different in subfactors of the same factor.

    The distinction between intellect and intuition roughly as Jung portrayed them doesn’t even belong to Jung, but to many philosophers of the ages, and I don’t think that distinction is going to go away. Einstein spoke of it, others spoke of it – it’s really only meaningful to those who experienced that difference.
    I don’t think it’s about the behavior of an intellectual but the difference between rational and intuitive knowledge, which Jung was on about.

  39. Other notes – I’d not say that version of intellect/thinking function is my own, but my interpretation of Jung. I personally would categorize things differently from Jung.

    However, I have high relative confidence in correct interpretations of Jung’s typology as compared to interpretations of the more modern ones.

    I stand by what I said, that this idea of Nietzsche as one kind of “INJ” and Jung as another is fine, I see the meaning of what you seem to be saying, and it sounds like a fine distinction.

    The difference is I’m saying I’m more or less agnostic on what “the” meaning of N, S, F and T are. They are symbols! What meaning you assign to them and how you describe the psyche is a matter of internal coherency and good conceptual understanding.

    This does not mean anything goes: there are many wrong answers, much fewer good models, but I’d not say there is only one good model out there.

  40. I do think I have a sense of where the hang-up is, now I think about it.

    You seem to be jumping from the notion of describing people based on 4 very basic ideas, one of rational intellect, and assuming the method for classification will also be basic – just observe if someone does rational thinking or not.

    That’s really not the point to me at least – the point is that these elements of consciousness are so basic that their relative prioritization often uncovers complex psychological factors, and it’s *this* complexity I think Jung was interested in.

    What you talk of in terms of forming intellectual concepts is just the process of thinking – I’m sure you’re aware Jung could define the processes sometimes carelessly in just a few words. Clearly he thought it’s a simple task, and remarked, to think is something anyone knows the meaning of, except a philosopher.

    He did not *intend* that to be the complicated part of his typology – the definition of the process.

    The complicated part is uncovering people’s psychological relation to that simple process, which is what took hundreds of pages of an ongoing experiment.

  41. I also think it’s worth bringing up the line that a function’s contents can be conscious, but the principle of that function must be absolute for the function to be considered conscious of its own right.

    I don’t think anything is clearer than that in dismissing the idea that, just because the thinking function is in fact “intellectual thinking,” that just the fact someone *does* intellectual thinking makes them a thinking *type*.

    Again, you seem to view the definition of thinking as overly simplistic, but I would suggest all the functions are overly simplistic in definition, and it seems intentionally. It’s people’s psychological relations to them that are complex.

  42. @ptypes

    1. When you say you “give zero room” for theorists to disagree, I have to strongly disagree with you. Even in my field, physics, not every physicist agrees on every topic – in fact, I’d argue they disagree most of the time! And physics is a real science, with real evidence, and there is lots of extensive peer review. So what chance does typology, a very abstract non-scientific theoretical model, have of having its ideas be universally agreed upon by people in the field? In science, there are hundreds of theories flying around – anyone is free to make one – and all of them are “possible” until enough good evidence comes in that we can start to sort the likely theories from the unlikely. Create a theory, develop it using logic and imagination, make predictions, test predictions, analyse the data, have others check your results.

    2. I think modern typology also suggests N types are more likely to be “intellectual” than S types, in the sense that they’ll normally be more interested in abstract academic topics. But it’s important not to confuse “intellectual” with “intelligent”. Intelligence isn’t related to typology, as far as I know.

    3. Thinking isn’t related to “intellectualism”. If this was the case, most ISTPs and ESTJs would be easily mistaken for N types.

    4. The functions are really not that difficult to understand, if you take the time to learn. The definitions used by this site are much clearer and more logically coherent than Jung’s ideas. If you want to learn about the functions read the articles on here – WITHOUT just comparing them to “what Jung said”. What Jung thought is really irrelevant, as far as I’m concerned – he was an awful writer and and a poor scientist.

    5. I don’t think “rational thinking” is particularly related to the Thinking function – or any function. I think the admin will agree with me. Rational thought is a human trait, and so are emotions, sensations and intuitions. Dominant F types can sometimes be far more “rational” than most T types.

    6. The rest seems to be about typing Jung, and I have no more to say on that topic – he could be ESTJ for all I know. :D

  43. Your responses 2-6: I think a lot of this amounts to differing definitions. While I’m more familiar with Jung than the other typologies, I’m actually quite familiar with the others too. I’m not a dogged Jungian, and I use my own conceptual categorization scheme over Jung’s, and also think he got a good bit wrong.
    However, I found it more palatable to improve off him than to move onto other models that change a lot of things.

    Regarding point 1, not sure what you mean here at all – there is a big difference between disagreeing as to the truth and differing in the path you think will uncover the truth. I’m quite sympathetic to the latter, as being on the frontiers of knowledge implies not having already seen the light. But I hope you’d agree that the goal is eventually to illuminate the way for two people stumbling in the dark so that neither is left to subjective claims about what lies ahead.
    To the extent theorists are truly interested in this light, I have respect for them even if they differ initially. But my point is when they differ and there’s no apparent resolution it is because often neither understands the situation fully yet. Or, maybe one does and the other doesn’t.

  44. This whole “thinking isn’t really thinking” and “feeling has nothing to do with emotion” stuff is part of why I mistrust some of the modern takes. Neither of these is true of Jung at all, and while that isn’t in and of itself a problem, I just find some of the modern theorists get caught in methodological nitpicking instead of seeing the totality of how the ideas fit together. The important thing is if you’re really saying something fundamentally advancing our knowledge of fine conceptual distinctions. If someone’s T category doesn’t include thinking as traditionally defined, great. I know the MBTI instrument’s T isn’t terribly about rational intellect, even though its items involve the exact word “thinking” multiple times.

    But for me, when I say thinking, I mean Jung’s function. When I mean the MBTI-T I generally denote it that way.

  45. @ptypes

    I think you misunderstood me – which is perfectly reasonable, as I was pretty unclear.

    Everyone can use rational thought, and everyone can have emotions. So in that sense, using one or the other at any time doesn’t make one an F or T type. That’s simply what I was saying.

    What makes a person a dominant Thinker is that if you were to analyse the person’s worldview and normal methods of operation, you would see that the Thinking type’s worldview is very carefully shaped by the T function in comparison to other types. They may still be wrong in their beliefs of course, but you’d be able to eventually find the error of logic/facts in their thinking process. Contrast that to an N dominant type, and you may never find the error, because the mind is much more fluid in an N dominant type: the “reasoning” isn’t as often consciously processed.

    Also, Feeling isn’t about emotions, but emotions are often related. It’s about how we find value in things.

    I’m not sure that’s very clear either, sorry haha.

  46. Sure, I mean it’s not controversial at all that using a function doesn’t make someone that type, because we all use all the 4.
    I can mine back to things I’ve said in this thread, and it’ll contain that idea as well.

    But, I don’t think I misunderstood, and think I am right (and you formerly agreed) in the idea that Jung’s definition of the functions/attitudes isn’t the same as with the modern ones.

    Or else, I can’t see how you could say Jung might call you a Te-dom and you call yourself TiNe. Seems to me you agree there are different definitions of thinking/T and intuition/N.

  47. And to be clear, I’m just saying some of your remarks on what is N and T won’t apply to what I was saying, because I was describing what is true under a different model/framework.

    And I pointedly emphasize that models of categorization are like cutting a cake into meaningful pieces. Depending on what we think makes a neat cut for the features we wish to emphasize, we cut it up a certain way.

    Even some of the rigorously tested factor analysis based models don’t converge in exactly where they make the cut, and often what happens is one model makes cleaner, better work of describing certain aspects of personality.

    This sort of thing happens all the time. Models work for whatever they are precisely designed to do, with advantages and disadvantages, and I prefer stating those expressly to opining dogmatically that one is superior (without properly understanding both).

  48. @ptypes

    Yes, from my reading there are differences between Jung and modern ideas. So yes, we’re talking about different things.

    And yes, I agree that there are many ways of conceptualising this stuff and dividing the parts – and that none is “correct”.

    However, like the most canine type of dogmatist, I will continue to assert that the modern one is better, even though I don’t understand Jungian typology (or even modern typology, let’s face it).

    Modern typology is better.
    Why?
    Just because.
    That’s dumb!
    I know how to make bombs… :)

  49. Alright, I mean, I can at least live with that attitude – at least, if you’re going to hold a canine dogmatic opinion, you recognize it for what it is. I’m not the person you would speak with to get into a prolonged argument over such things, just because I tend to be cautious to assert much in the way of “betters” and “worses” and tend to maintain mostly detachment to those.

    If someone presented a good argument about something modern typology does well which the older stuff doesn’t, I may be noncommittal on saying if it is overall better than the older ones, but I’ll tend to give it credit where due.

  50. @ptypes

    I was joking. But the fact you thought I was serious tells me a lot about your impression of me.

    I’ve quite enjoyed our discussion, but you clearly haven’t. So I’ll leave you be.

    Have fun on the site. :)

  51. I don’t want to give a mistaken impression, so to put it this way: I quite enjoyed the discussion too, particularly when you comment on your take on the same ideas I’m analyzing via one framework, through another.
    Comparing systems is one of my favorite things, and it’s doubly encouraging if the same meaning comes through via different formal designations.

    Regarding the canine part, I thought you were half-joking, half-serious: joking about being completely canine-dogmatic, but somewhat serious about preferring the modern frameworks. The reason I got that impression is when you stated

    “What Jung thought is really irrelevant, as far as I’m concerned – he was an awful writer and and a poor scientist.”

    From my point of view, Jung was a lot easier to understand than Myers, despite his writing style. Maybe I’m in the minority?

  52. @ptypes

    Oh, I’m definitely serious about preferring the modern framework. But I’m not sure I’d say it’s “better” – I don’t understand Jung’s typology enough to even come close to making a judgement like that.

    I haven’t read Myers. Or Kiersey. Or van der Hoop. Or von Franz. So I can’t say how they match up with Jung on understandability.

    I don’t really have any wish to read them either. I’m happy enough with my current understanding (it achieves all the goals I want from a typology system), gained almost entirely through internet descriptions, and I think reading those writers would be a complete waste of my time, like reading Jung was.

    But you seem to take a much more academic style approach to typology than I do, which is fair enough. You want to learn purely to understand the systems, and I want to learn just enough that I have a good grasp of the basics and can move on to other things (or put this to some use – particularly in fiction writing).

  53. Sure, and I think part of the reason I don’t confine myself too sharply to one system is I don’t have the need to apply it too soon — you can’t really apply a system if you’re stuck foraging around multiple ways of putting the rules together. My approach is mostly absorbing the ideas of various systems, making fine distinctions in how people think about the same ideas, and the like.

  54. One other comment occurred to me: I think there is a big difference between characterizing two people’s styles of employing the thinking function as given by Jung, and characterizing their types in the broader typology he used, where he dealt with people who did very little of an intellectual nature but had other profound abilities.

    Classifying types of thinking is a valid pursuit. Some think more reductionist in style, others synthetic, and so on. But in Jungian typology these are subcategories of the thinking function.

    When distinguishing two people who both were naturally oriented by the intellect, one can certainly talk of distinct sorts of this intellect oriented individual.
    Like fine distinctions between two philosophers.

    But the more general distinctions between intellect and other means of knowing were what seem to have interested Jung in his typology.

    It is also worth noting, on this issue of behavior vs type, that Von Franz expressly stated what someone habitually does is often a good indicator of type, and she most certainly thought of the thinking function in terms of gaining standard intellectual knowledge. Thus, I would wager for someone to truly explain what he or she means by suggesting doing intellectual thinking is too behavioral to be a Jungian indicator of type, a good deal of clarification is necessary.

    Simple use of a function does not constitute a type formation, no, as Von Franz states, a little cooking does not mean you assimilated sensation.
    But to go the other extreme and suggest it self-evident that intellectual means of knowing are unrelated to how Jung or Von Franz saw the thinking function is to me impossible to defend, so the purported meaning must lie elsewhere.

  55. @ptypes

    I agree.

    In fact this is almost exactly what I’ve been writing in my posts. So I think you must be replying to the admins or something.

    The only part I think we “disagree” (and there not much at all) on is the last sentence. And I think that’s only because we’re using the word “intellectual” in slightly different ways.

    We’re on the same page I think. :)

  56. The Thinking function relies very much on “intellect” – or a reasoning process.

    If you call anything that requires a careful reasoning process “intellectual” then I agree wholeheartedly.

    But in normal language use intellectuals are seen as professorial people who are usually thinking rationally about abstract topics (intellectuals of this sort are usually N types).

    However, more concrete activities require great levels of good reasoning too – an aircraft engineer or car mechanic for example, or even playing tennis at a high level. But people don’t tend to refer to these people as “intellectuals”, so the label is a little confusing.

    That’s what I meant by “intellectuals” having more in common with N than T.

  57. I was replying to admins yes.

    On N and thinking, definitely what Jung called thinking oriented belongs in modern N more than T as far as I am concerned. N correlates well with big 5 Openness, and in particular shares a lot of the content of the NEO-PI’s facets of Openness to Intellect and Fantasy.

    T definitely =/= Jungian thinking albeit it overlaps some. When I write thinking, I refer to Jung generally. If I write T, then I often mean the MBTI.

  58. @ptypes

    Oh right, thanks for making that clear. :)

    I think you’ll get more replies from the admins if you put “@admins” or something at the top of your post. It just makes it easier for everyone as it lets us know who you’re replying to, and who you want a reply from. :)

  59. Good tip; albeit, I do sort of just comment for anyone involved (and it’s no problem if I don’t get a response – the discussion might be useful to someone later anyway).

    I don’t think I actually “disagree” on the thinking function based on my reading at least, it’s just “thinking” means two different things in two different places. I’d actually argue Jung’s notions of the functions, however insane and convoluted he may be elsewhere, are closer to standard terminology than are the MBTI’s.

    When Jung said think, he really meant think. Like, reflect as to what things mean.

    There is a logical aspect to this, but it’s definitely a mix of idea and logic. I tend to think the difference here is between rationality and logic. Logic is the structure with which you present a rational argument, but the fact that some argument is reasonable is far from equivalent with the logic: it’s actually an idea in your mind that encodes whether the logic communicated something reasonable or not.

    My reading is a lot of the modern typologies like socionics put T~logic more than they put T~reason. So in socionics, e.g., Ti is structural logic, Te is pragmatic/algorithmic logic. Indeed, the ideational content of rationality appears to be relegated more to N than to T.

  60. In Jung, some of the more pragmatic intellectual pursuits were deemed a mixture of sensation and thinking. The purer the focus on reflection and reason, the more the person is a thinking type.

    After all sensation was the function of apprehending tangible reality. The idea of bringing ideational-logical constructs into the tangible sphere of reality would be a combination of sensation and intellect.

    (replying to this: “However, more concrete activities require great levels of good reasoning too – an aircraft engineer or car mechanic for example, or even playing tennis at a high level.”)

    And more characteristically extraverted-sensation and extraverted-thinking than the introverted versions.

    More or less, the point here is when logic is subordinate to the reality of things, rather than in service of reason predominantly, it is likely linked with a pragmatic intellect/sensation-thinking, whereas the purer thinking types were probably nearer to people we call NT.

    This is all just characteristic stuff, of course, and in individual cases someone’s activities may not reflect their “true type” yadda yadda, yes of course I know those things.

  61. @ptypes

    Yes, I agree with all the things you wrote. :)

    That’s actually the reason I think Jung would have typed me as ST (or “sensation-thinking” type). I’m far more interested in the natural sciences, and complex engineering such as F1 car/rocket design, than I am interested in pure “logic in a vacuum”-based philosophy. I understand Descartes, Kant, etc. but I’d rather learn about science.

  62. I think your intuition there is likely right. The closer to pure logical philosopher (in a vacuum like you put it) was Kant, and he was declared by Jacobi to be closer to a pure thinking type than a mixture of thinking and intuition.
    It is fitting Kant wrote a treatise on pure reason.

  63. I’ll have to return to these comments later; I have a lot on my plate. But I’d say von Franz was the most behavioral of Jung, Myers, Hoop, and Franz. She does, however, give a long intro in her work on the inferior function which is less behavioral before proceeding with the processes itself.

  64. Alright no rush. A condensed version of my points to you here:

    – Yes, von Franz is more behavioral than Jung at least

    – However, at a certain point, the word “behavioral” gets really silly: if I say Nietzsche sat down and thought up a philosophy different from Kant, and someone says “that’s just how he behaved, not how he thought!” I think that someone is losing himself/herself in semantics….the point is he HAS a philosophy different from Kant.

    – my view is that Jung was interested in the different means of knowing/their psychological relevancy, and one such means was not some mysterious, funky category but rational intellectual knowing….as contrasted with sense perception and other such things.

    – Combining points 2 and 3, I’d say even if the behaviors involved in thinking in the usual meaning were not the focus of the typology, I’d say the psychological factors leading to prioritizing thinking–in the standard sense of the word– as a means of knowing/existing as contrasted with other means of knowing/existing, was what was being gotten at.

  65. Addendum to last point would be: I get the sense the reason this doesn’t appeal to everyone is to many thinking is just so basic and something like Jungian intuition so out there that people don’t find it very meaningful to use Jung’s definitions.

    Hence, it might be more interesting to some to contrast, say, a materialistic epistemology with another sort of use of the thinking function (perhaps one involving an idealist epistemology).
    Or to contrast different philosophies of thought – like ones emphasizing unity and sameness, vs ones emphasizing individualism.

  66. On a different note @rachel, in case you’re still reading, the idea you had at the very very start about modern notions of Ne being more fantasy-oriented and the ones that are more about vision being Ni-oriented does seem to happen in socionics, which is the modern theory I am most familiar with.
    I even think Ne is known formally as potential intuition in some socionics sources, Ni as time intuition.

  67. re: Nietzsche and Kant: But then it seems that you are typing the philosophy and not the philosopher. The contents, while suggestive of their type, is not as psychologically pertinent as the method. Kant: Long, rigorous deductions. Nietzsche: Loosely connected ideas, flying off the handle.

    I also think if you look at the definition of Feeling in the “definitions” section of P.T., Jung comes close to something that doesn’t seem too far from how I understand your definition of thinking to be. And also, in the definition of Fi, he says that Fi does not stand back from Ti in its ability to absorb the same kind of concepts that Ti does. So all in all, my conclusion is that P.T. is multifarious and ambiguous. The elements that you seize upon are (in my understanding) not the ones seized upon by Hoop or Myers, and only scarcely seized upon by von Franz. Like the idea that the introvert necessarily fears the object, your operationalization appears to me to rely on “the road not taken,” i.e. the elements not picked up upon (or at least not made central) by later theorists. I think that’s perfectly legitimate, but I don’t think that the reification of those elements into “classical Jung vs. modern typology” is quite as legitimate since that interpretation seems to imply that Jung did in fact have one mode of operationalization in mind while writing P.T. whereas I (and von Franz) see rather a man “struggling in the dark,” contradicting himself, and putting multiple conflicting approaches out there in the same book.

    Actually, we do something like linking materialist/idealist orientations to the functions in the Freud and Empedocles essay, as well as the Function Biases in Buddhism and Vedanta essay.

  68. I think I agree with your main point completely upon reading this – if this helps, I view PT as having no clear way of operationalizing the typology in such a way that you can validly type people, as *distinguished* from their main ideas.

    But, in line with what Hillman writes, I tend to view Jung’s PT as about typing psychological ideas. That is, ideas which spring forth from certain psychological attitudes towards each of the functions.

    When I write “classical Jung” I refer to the raw material/main ideas Jung was studying, not how he specifically operationalizes them in type diagnosis so much. So for example, I’d say at any point in life Jung is more likely to have seen the thinking function hte way I say he defines it in “classical Jung” style, than he is to have taken the modern typological approach — because *THAT* phenomenon of distinguishing intellectual vs more irrational insight appears to have fascinated him.

    Who and what he called an intuitive type, though, and how he arrived at that may have changed. Obviously he changed wildly on Freud, and to be completely honest, I do think in terms of actual type diagnosis, he was struggling in the dark even at the end.

    But to me, that’s because his 4 functions, yes, do have a psychological element behind them, but I think they’re too removed from many genuine psychological factors to really describe anything beyond “psychological ideas.” People’s actual psychologies involve tons of factors, with which these 4 functions interact, and my approach more studies these interactions than types people by Jung’s original functions in exactly his way, if that makes sense.

  69. To be clear, however, I think the Myers-Briggs typology does come closer to offering a way to type people, and is not as removed, but one has to be unafraid to get down and dirty with what makes people up. The more into philosophical land you get, the more you end up typing philosophies and not people. I view psychological ideas as somewhere between philosophies and people, if that makes sense.

    What you’re doing is actually typing how someone thought as they did, while pointedly including their psychological disposition’s contribution to it. Whereas typing people’s psychologies is more direct about saying, hey, I want to classify people’s psychologies — not just that portion which contributes to the production of psychological ideas, which, honestly, do enter philosophical realm.

  70. The tl;dr version of this is really, where you see me as offering perhaps more credit to the existence of “a” coherent Jungian-classical-typology than is due, I’m instead giving a speculative death sentence to the future potential of his typology to ever accomplish more than what I state here, that is, to go much farther than the classification of psychological ideas….and saying now, we can essentially diagnose types as Jung did in PT, if we accept this death sentence.

    I simply don’t think in terms of actual psychology it’s ever going to be as simple as conscious = functions/attitudes X and Y and Z and unconscious = all this other stuff, and I think things like noting someone who seems to have introverted feeling, and then noting they seem to cling to facts, and saying OOOH inferior-Te is likely to lead to oversimplifying what’s going on.

  71. “Operationalization” has to be one of the ugliest words I’ve ever seen or heard. Makes me want to vomit. I have no idea why anyone would use it.

  72. Rachel: Maybe it could be used in a short story: An ugly green blob of a space alien king, using similarly repulsive language :)

  73. Ptypes: Well if you invoke Hillman we can both be right since (as I said) this site doesn’t follow Hillman at all. However, didn’t he say that Jungian types was about types of consciousness (not types of ideas)? I don’t know…

    re: *THAT* phenomenon of distinguishing intellectual vs more irrational insight appears to have fascinated him.

    I agree with that, that I don’t think he understood it overmuch, even on his own terms. Have you read “The Question of Psychological Types” for instance? It is plain how (a) Jung does not understand Kant or Bergson (b) a certain terminology evolves in that correspondence (among other terms rational/irrational) that is then carried over to P.T. without sufficient explanation.

    I also agree that typology makes the most sense when deployed as a heuristic that is partial and where the individual is viewed from some distance. So no problem there.

    Why the need to be anonymous?

  74. Both, I think, regarding Hillman. The types of consciousness thing sounds a little more like Beebe.

    I tend to view the point of the MBTI as sort of different from the point of Jung, and realize Jung was sort of trying to claim he’s doing both what the MBTI is doing and classifying psychological ideas….and I’m not sure I’m totally in accord with Hillman that it’s *clear* Jung was typing ideas, not people — sounds a lot to me like Jung pointedly distinguished the man from the idea. But, I am in agreement with Hillman’s spirit of argument that that seems to be the more appropriate way to view PT.

    Anonymity – well it’s nothing specific to this site really, I think it would be the generic reasons anyone might choose to submit answers/takes anonymously on any academic topic. Not that this decreases in any measurable way the likelihood I’ll try to keep my answers honest/be accountable for the info I transmit.

  75. Having read a little of your site’s stuff on the behavioral v psychodynamic distinction, I have to say my sense of what led to the confusion above is quite strongly affirmed: it appears very much that you have been considering the association of thinking to “intellect” to be behavioral because you have not been considering the meaning of being an “intellectual” quite the same as Jung does.

    Indeed, one could define this as just someone who tends to pursue intellectual activities a lot, and then it begs the question: how is this not just classifying behavior???

    But I am quite convinced Jung’s interest, being the mystical fellow he was, had to do with the distinction between, say, the attitude of a Buddhist monk or such who values spontaneous intuitive knowing over intellectual knowing – how these people see reality differently. I don’t think “intellectual” to Jung was about going to Harvard to study and such things that can be construed as behavioral so much as how distinct means of knowing have different psychological attitudes behind them.

    Basically, there is a behavioral and a non-behavioral take on what being an “intellectual” means.

    I do think various Jungian authors treat certain external clues as frequent ways of discerning the more internal attitudes held by people, but what they were interested in learning about (even von Franz, who tried to bring Jung somewhat down to earth by actually describing some external test cases) is the internal.

    If that is clarifying at all (and assuming what I said was not already *fully* clear before…which I do have a nagging suspicion is the case).

  76. Not that your notion of “intellectual” was invalid at all, and in fact, I do think frequently that behavioral intellectual was also the more internal notion of intellectual — but not always — in Jung’s eyes.

  77. Well it seems to me that the comparison with Buddhists is an attempt to “save” Jung and the real reason for the problems in Jung is that he came upon his typology in a piecemeal fashion. For example, he had decided that he was a Thinking type before discovering the Intuitive.

  78. I don’t think it’s saving Jung at all – plenty of people think all that intuitive vision mystical stuff is BS ;-)

    I don’t think any of what I said implies Jung’s typology is NOT piecemeal.

    I’m just saying, this appears to be why he was interested in contrasting the intellectual with other modes of knowing, and the psychologies typical of people adopting those modes as paramount. It’s a logical idea – what’s piecemeal about the typology is the implementation in terms of typing everyone by this metric. It makes sense for some distinctions between some individuals but becomes increasingly difficult when you try to type everyone by this framework – the required one seems to require a lot more categories.

  79. I think the conclusion’s the same – I agree it is piecemeal, but I insist that this has more to do with poor implementation of the practice rather than that there’s nothing conceptually natural about asking how the psychologies of people prioritizing intuition or intellect typically differ. Even Einstein has commented on the distinction between rational intellect and intuition, and I daresay it was at least somewhat related to the sense Jung used the terms, if not very. Albeit his notion of intuition was likely not explained using a collective unconscious, more like a leap in consciousness (which is still quite similar).

  80. Possibly an example just to see how textbook my comment was: isn’t THE classic example of the intuitive (or one of THE classic examples) introvert type the sort of crank/mystic/prophet? And the classic examples of the introverted thinking type were all the philosophers.

    I have a hard time seeing how I’m “saving Jung” by suggesting that he was exploring the psychological attitudes leading to prioritizing/believing in intellectual modes of knowing as opposed to more spontaneous intuitive inspiration, like with the Buddhist mystic. Really seems textbook.

    My suggestion is that we not get caught up in the term “intellectual” and its behavioral connotations, and look at what Jung most likely was getting at.

    The real issue to me is that outside of these clearly pure delineated cases, Jung was quite sparse in describing what the rest of the laws of his typology should reasonably be. What should happen with functions 2-4? How to discern the non-pure cases? How to accurately distinguish the man from his work/ideas? I remain blatantly unconvinced by, say, the violent change in diagnosis of Freud, and wonder if Jung really resolved what he set out to do. And I also agree with your site that intellectual penchant and feeling types can indeed go fine together. So mostly I have problems with the laws/function orders/attitudes that can be ascribed to functions rather than the basic premise of delineating the differences among thinking, feeling, intuitive and sensation orientation: the details/specifics of how those differences go in the mass populace is where I have problems. The premise of what he was trying to do doesn’t seem behavioral at all, EVEN defining thinking = rational intellect.

  81. Also, in a way, I think that Jung had all the raw material right and might not have put it together in the most palatable way.

    For example, a frequent thing he referred to is the idea of a “feeling-idea”. As far as I understand, this is a blend of pleasure/pain tones, which can be more physical or associated more to ideational content, with the mental sort of content in this case.
    The person oriented by the idea/reflection was the thinking type.

    Why Jung thought these are eternally opposed rather than complementary, I am not sure, but the word “idea” is there in both, and my extensive reflection suggests it means something similar in both cases. In one cases, it is just blended with feeling tones.

    Which is why, in MBTI, the N type which is ideationally inclined, is often intellectual regardless of either being F or T – taking that inclination to ideas in the direction of feeling-ideas is one way, and taking it towards logical-ideas is another.

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