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  1. #1
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Default Would the real folk-typologist please stand up?

    In my previous thread on how "not to do typology", I outlined several core beliefs that lead people to arrive at radically false conclusions about typology. One of the most fundamental of such beliefs was the premise that if a person displays a certain behavior, they must belong to a particular type. Although this is clearly an important reason why people often believe in absurd notions about typology, it may not be the most fundamental one. The cardinal notion of folk typology is anthropomorphism or the assertion that a person is a certain type. The key implication of typological anthropomorphisms is that if a person belongs to a certain type, he is extremely unlikely to display behaviors that are associated with another type.

    For example, if a person is an intuitive type, it stands to reason that they are not a sensor and therefore lack all deficiencies that are associated with the sensing type. Another common example of a typological anthropomorphism is the association of the person's identity with their principal cognitive function. In light of this observation, it is often claimed that "Fi" is sensitive by definition, "Ti" is sharp or the "Fe person" is gracious.

    As anyone who read Jung's psychological types is well-aware, there is no such thing as a "pure type" and Jung himself claimed that a person who is completely Introverted can be found only in a madhouse. Throughout his descriptions of types, Jung referred to the behaviors of the person who possesses certain dominant functions, but he never equated the identity of the described person with the function itself.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    I invite all of you to cite instances of typological anthropomorphism and explain how and why such utterances speedily degenerated into absurdities. To protect the guilty, do not reveal the identity of the authors whose posts you will cite here.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  2. #2
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    SW, I appreciate what you're doing, but I really don't see how we can have any kind of "real" typology, or what differentiates "folk typology" from a more rigorous typology. Typology is inherently flawed. It relies on demonstrated actions and thoughts to verify a theory based on flawed data-gathering: i.e., the "types" are defined by interviews with and observation of people presumed to be a type which we can't know for a certainty exists because there's no way of demonstrating it. It's circular reasoning.

    In practical terms, what good is a theory that we mustn't base on observation, or use to make predictions about behavior?

    We all know that typology is pop psychology, open to abuse like anything else. A witch hunt is still a witch hunt even if we don't name names.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

  3. #3
    Senior Member Little_Sticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    SW, I appreciate what you're doing, but I really don't see how we can have any kind of "real" typology, or what differentiates "folk typology" from a more rigorous typology. Typology is inherently flawed. It relies on demonstrated actions and thoughts to verify a theory based on flawed data-gathering: i.e., the "types" are defined by interviews with and observation of people presumed to be a type which we can't know for a certainty exists because there's no way of demonstrating it. It's circular reasoning.
    If people want to use Jung's cognitive tools as a parlour game, it doesn't reduce the understanding that application of those Jungian tools can provide to those who don't abuse their limitations.

    In practical terms, what good is a theory that we mustn't base on observation, or use to make predictions about behavior?
    Understanding isn't always about predictions. What use are predictions if they can't work with or appreciate the unpredictable nature of consciousness?

    We all know that typology is pop psychology, open to abuse like anything else. A witch hunt is still a witch hunt even if we don't name names.
    Typology isn't pop psychology for those that don't abuse its limitations. You could however argue that the limitations aren't defined or known, if you think you can.

  4. #4
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    I invite all of you to cite instances of typological anthropomorphism and explain how and why such utterances speedily degenerated into absurdities. To protect the guilty, do not reveal the identity of the authors whose posts you will cite here.
    I'm not very good at following directions. It must be because I am an INTJ.

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    One of the most fundamental of such beliefs was the premise that if a person displays a certain behavior, they must belong to a particular type.
    I have always thought type is not a particularly good predictor of behavior. I wonder though - how to you define behavior? How do you guess a person's type? If someone is a science fiction nut and goes to Star Trek conventions, odds are good that they are an intuitive. Interact IRL with an ESTJ and the Te jumps in front of your face. You can observe a person using a particular function by observing what they say and how they communicate.

    Let's take one of your quotes from Principles of Typology:

    Whilst Extroverted Intuition requires continuous stimulation, Introverted Intuition runs on itself. The Extrovert will be forced to engage himself in abstract activities, such as writing and debating to maintain his world of ideas, yet the Introverted Intuition requires no more than a solitary retreat.
    How about another one:
    However, for the INFP, the dilemma is more difficult. Being more subjectively inclined, INFPs are unable to explain their ideas to Extroverted Feelers from whom they may often look for sympathy
    You are in fact saying that a person will do a particular thing because of their type, so it appears that you may be contradicting yourself.

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  5. #5
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    You are in fact saying that a person will do a particular thing because of their type, so it appears that you may be contradicting yourself.
    Yup, Principles of Typology is full of typological anthropomorphisms, albeit they've mostly resulted due to carelessness in exposition than the fundamental conceptual misunderstandings. I'll reply to the rest of the queries shortly.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

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    honestly, this is pop theory, bur 90% of people don't "get it"

    either that, or they are off/at least slightly flawed with their knowledge

    however, the theory itself is 100% useful and accurate, if you know what to filter out and throw away (or I should say piece together)

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