First, a difficulty: the invisible dominant
When people read Lenore's descriptions of types and attitudes, or even the attempts at exegesis posted on this site, they seldom recognize themselves in their dominant function. The reaction is usually something like, "Whah? Maybe sorta kinda, but this hardly seems like me."
A dominant function, after all, is your main universe of description, and a universe of description does not include itself. It's the lens, not what you see. The dominant function is so ingrained in your personality that you might think that everyone has it also. Jung says that he took a while to figure out that not everyone else was an Introverted Thinker (has anyone else seen this quote or know where it is?). Since everyone has arms, you wouldn't say "I'm a person with arms" when you describe yourself. Same with the dominant function.
So is it possible to get descriptions of function attitudes by the very people who use them for ego orientation? Or is the only way to discover function attitudes painstaking observation of people's behavior and spoken self-understanding for years to find implicit rules?
The hypothesis of this page is that people do often describe their own preferred function attitudes. But it's under slightly unusual circumstances.
Identifying with the secondary
First, people do usually identify with descriptions of their secondary function. Watching the INTJ and INTP discussion lists, people who are new to the theory often mistake their secondary function for their dominant function. INTJs, for example, often think of themselves as primarily rational in the sense of being "systematic", and reasonably infer that "thinking", perhaps "introverted thinking", would be their dominant function. INTPs often think of themselves as primarily imaginative, outside-the-box thinkers, and reasonably infer that "intuition", perhaps "introverted intuition", would be their dominant function.
Could it be that they're describing their favored extraverted attitude? Casual, anecdotal evidence suggests that extraverts also typically identify with their secondary function, though. For example, ENTPs and ESTPs think of themselves as analytical and having a good "hands-on" understanding of things. "Let me get my hands on it and I can figure it out. It's just a magical talent of mine."
More examples: ISTPs and ISFPs often think of themselves as primarily "cool" or "hip". ISFJs and INFJs tend to understand themselves mainly in terms of their personal loyalties to others.
Preaching the secondary
If you really want to hear a function attitude described, though, just listen to what people preach as the very most important insight about life--the thing that everyone needs to learn to do, and that doesn't come easily or obviously. Hypothesis: When people do this, they're usually giving an excellent description of their secondary function.
For example, Jack Groverland, presumably ENTJ, preaches to "be still" and "tune in to what the greater intelligence of the universe wants you to do." A great many ENTJs seem to preach primarily that reasoning and intellect have limits, and it's critical to learn to perceive in a direct way, not limiting yourself to what you can prove "logically", but tuning in to the totality of everything through a sort of direct perception. A favorite preaching of ENFJs and ENTJs is that you are "responsible" for creating your reality by the kind of attitude that you choose: the world isn't doing things to you, you are self-selecting for certain kinds of things to happen to you by the way that you assign meaning to things and lead yourself to perceive one way and not another. This all sounds very much like articulate descriptions of introverted intuition--straight from the horse's mouth, just it's these horses' secondary function. (See Eric Berne for a possibly ENFJ take on this.)
(A lot of the attempts at describing function attitudes that I've written on this site have been inspired as much by people's preaching of this sort, on the assumption that they're describing their secondary function, as Lenore's own descriptions. --Ben Kovitz)
So this might be one of the main pieces of evidence that function attitudes exist: the correlation between people's types on four-letter-code personality tests, and what they preach when they preach an attitude.
ISFJs and INFJs often preach a strong case that obligation is created not merely by voluntary agreement, but by being born into and participating in life as a human being. "Life is with people." See Extraverted Feeling. In other words, we can get our needs met by contributing to society, which will then contribute to our well being. "To get what you want you must give it to other people" or "what goes around, comes around."
ESFPs and ENFPs often preach that success in life comes mainly from some form of "getting right with God": clarifying or understanding your values and accepting them unconditionally, or tuning into what is living in every form that life takes. See Introverted Feeling.
INTPs and INFPs often preach "thinking outside the box" and the importance of adjusting and adapting creatively and spontaneously to whatever happens, not imposing a priori criteria on things. The phrase "outside the box" is usually a tip-off that someone is talking about Extraverted Intuition.
ISTJs and INTJs often preach "meeting expectations": doing your defined part in the overall social structure by doing your own job, rather than insisting on going your own way and thus getting out of sync with the community. Going your own way comes with a social cost, they like to say, because since it can't be defined and isn't predictable, it can't serve as a basis for social organization. They also tend to preach doing things systematically and "rationally", always making sure that each new step is built on a secure foundation rather than "taking shots in the dark". See Extraverted Thinking.
ESTPs and ENTPs often preach the importance of understanding what you're doing, and that this has got to come from hands-on experience, not lectures and taking notes and junk like that. You have to experiment, get your hands dirty, push things until they break, and then you really know for yourself how they work. See Introverted Thinking.
ESTJs and ESFJs often preach "knowing what is important to you and taking responsibility for it." If everyone just took care of and protected what mattered to them, we'd all be in fine shape. For example, if everyone locked up their valuables, then there wouldn't be any thieves in this world. See Introverted Sensation.
ISTPs and ISFPs often preach "go with the flow, man." They like to preach that since you can't control the world, you've got to just go with what you feel like doing at each moment, without anticipating the future and without bogging yourself down by trying to be consistent with the past. Have fun now, man, tomorrow you could be hit by a bus. Just "be." See Extraverted Sensation.
Preaching the dominant in indignation
People also preach their dominant function, but here's a hypothesis: they preach the dominant mainly out of indignation when someone pushes them toward their inferior function; they preach the dominant calmly mainly when they've come to also see themselves through their secondary function.
For example, it's when you insist to an ISTP or INTP that he must say the politically correct thing in order to maintain his social bonds, or that he is "obligated" to do so, that typically triggers indignation. That's when you see overtly antisocial behavior from ISTPs or get a lecture about how he needs a reason that he can understand for himself, and loyalties are fairly meaningless if we're just saying comforting things without regard for truth. (See Larry Groznic.)
More examples, anyone?
Preaching the tertiary and inferior
People even preach their tertiary and inferior attitudes.
Hypothesis: People preach the inferior mostly as something that everyone else ought to do, and it's their failure to heed this fundamental moral principle that is the reason things are messed up.
Hypothesis: People preach the tertiary mostly as a reason why they are helpless to do other than what they're doing.