Typings in King: ‘Jung’s Four and Some Philosophers’

In the book ‘Jung’s Four and Some Philosophers‘ the author Thomas M. King attempts to determine the Jungian types of a range of philosophers. King is no doubt competent with regards to philosophy and theology, but with regards to psychology, the problem with King’s book is that he freely indulges in the error of confusing mental processes with mental contents.

(For example, while Se types will on average have a greater affinity for extreme sports, one cannot say that because a given person has an affinity for extreme sports, that then makes him an Se type. An affinity for extreme sports is a piece of mental contents. The process that led the person to take an interest in extreme sports is a mental process. When we set out to determine someone’s psychological type, we are trying to determine their mental processes [functions]. If we were simply relying on a static checklist of mental contents, then we would be employing a behavioristic approach. And Jungian typology is not behaviorism.)

To give an example of this confusion in King’s work, if a philosopher holds the senses to be in higher esteem than reason, King then attributes an S type to that philosopher, without stopping to consider whether that person is expressing his own psychology thereby, or whether he is part of a tradition such as British empiricism – a tradition that made a point of starting with the sense. With regards to Jungian typology, this is an error. Such an approach is the William James approach to S/N as discussed in Psychological Types, chapter VIII where Jung ends up rejecting it for his own purposes. No matter whether one agrees with King’s findings or not, one may safely say that his method is erroneous.

A final thing to note about King’s typings is that while King is aware of the different functions, he shows little to no aware knowledge of how the functions play out differently in their different aspects of orientation (e.g. Ne vs. Ni or Fe vs. Fi).

Person

Type

Socrates

N dominant type (p. 3)

Parmenides

“more radically dominated by his N than Socrates” (p. 14)

Protagoras

S type (p. 30n8)

Locke

ESTP (p. 36)

Plato

INTJ (p. 4)

Sartre

INTJ (p. 58)

Descartes

INTP (p. 115)

Augustine

ESFJ (p. 92)

Spinoza

INTP (p. 127)

Rousseau

INFP (p. 144)

Kant

INTP (p. 163)

Kierkegaard

INTP (p. 195)

A.N. Whitehead

INTJ (p. 224)

Hume

ISTJ (p. 249)

P. Teilhard de Chardin

INTJ (p. 268)

C.G. Jung

N dominant type (p. 312)

King [the author of the book]

INTP (p. xviii)

5 Comments

  1. Everybody wants to be INTP. Humbug! Make me an SSSS. And no blood type or military affiliations.

  2. Everybody wants to be INTP. Humbug! Make me an SSSS. And no blood type or military affiliations.

    Nah, at least I’m super jealous of the ISTP stack and very much happy with my own INTJ.

  3. Alex,

    I usually type as INTJ but all it takes is ~90mg of dextromethorphan and everything starts to feel the way I imagine an ISTP sees the world. => you might want to look into it; it’s an ingredient in OTC cough medicine, it’s just hard to find it isolated from acetaminophen and other liver hazards

  4. Interesting, when I smoke weed my thought process seems to act in a way very similar to how Ne is described (Im INTJ).

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