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  1. #1
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Default On the thinking behind MBTIc

    I've seen many people taking the MBTI function orders and such as a pattern and then trying to rationalise the pattern against itself, looking for areas where the pattern does not match and so on. Now is it just me or is this a mistake? Surely the pattern is resulting from the study of people. The pattern itself is a result and not the primary source, ergo arguing over where it follows a trend and where it does not can only be done out of interest voiding any revelations stumbled upon during the investigation.

    I only highlight this as I've had many discussions where I get the feeling that people are basing their assumptions and advice more on an investigation and understanding of a pattern of results than on actual observation of the primary material, ie people.

    I'm not saying it's wrong necessarily, just challenging the approach.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    I've seen many people taking the MBTI function orders and such as a pattern and then trying to rationalise the pattern against itself, looking for areas where the pattern does not match and so on. Now is it just me or is this a mistake?
    What, you mean the theoretical approach?

    Rather than checking to see if the theory still matches up with reality, people are merely looking to see if the theory has internal consistency and using that as evidence that the pattern is valid?

    Sure, that would be a logic flaw. (incidentally, one that shows up in ANY type of belief system, whether religion or politics or whatever -- mistaking internal consistency for external validity.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
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    Yes Xander, we've apparently been thinking along similar lines. If I take your meaning properly.

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    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    What, you mean the theoretical approach?

    Rather than checking to see if the theory still matches up with reality, people are merely looking to see if the theory has internal consistency and using that as evidence that the pattern is valid?

    Sure, that would be a logic flaw. (incidentally, one that shows up in ANY type of belief system, whether religion or politics or whatever -- mistaking internal consistency for external validity.)
    External validity is contingent upon internal consistency. In other words, we do not know if what we observe is sound unless we have thought about it. Thinking about it is necessarily an internal process.

    Internal consistency must hold primacy over the external observations for this reason. As an example, take the theoretical notion that Se manifests as an external perception of sensation.

    We look at a person who claims to be an Se, who is in his 60s, for some reason he seems to be using Ni in this situation, so we ought to conclude that Se does not manifest in terms of external perceptions.

    A more plausible way to look at the situation would be to say functions are justified by virtue of internal conceptual framework, but the way they manifest in people is a whole another matter.

    Type in itself is an unconscious tendency. It has nothing to do with human behavior. Human behavior represent various manifestations of type, but not type itself.

    For example, consider the idea of how different a Chinese INTP would be from an Australlian. If we had the fortune of spending time with both of them, our initial hunch (based on the mere positivistic external observation) would be to conclude that they are not INTPs at all. If external validity holds primacy over internal conceptual framework, the whole system shall crumble as it is the internal conceptual framework that makes the system possible. External observations are only part of the system.

    Hence, in recapitulation we get that pure typology could be figured out based on the tendencies of mind without the observations of people. (Jung figured this out more from inquiring into how people think, rather than how they behave in social situations. This is why he studied philosophy, literature and biographies, and in therapy focused more on the deeper thoughts of his patients rather than the observations of their basic behaviors in social situations.)

    For the purposes of applied typology, carefully controlled empirical studies are necessary. If we are asking for example, how do Se people tend to behave. We need to know what kind of Se people we are dealing with, and in what context. Based on pure typology and information concerning the circumstances we could concoct a hypothesis, yet reliable knowledge requires observations of people.

    But once more, that is not the heart of type. If we wish to understand the archetypal quiddity of Se, we need not observe human behavior at all, we need to observe the internal conceptual framework and human thought to continue re-working the aforementioned system. Human behavior will only throw us off as it often shows only very superficial traces of one's thought and how one's mind works. This in effect leads to the confusion of type for personality. That is the error that has led many, especially the new students of the subject to believe that they are their type.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  5. #5
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    External validity is contingent upon internal consistency. In other words, we do not know if what we observe is sound unless we have thought about it. Thinking about it is necessarily an internal process.

    Internal consistency must hold primacy over the external observations for this reason.
    I'd like you to take this concept and apply it to a particular religious doctrine, then, like evangelical Christianity, and see if your thoughts would still be palatable to you...

    ... which is essentially what i was describing in my post: The tendency for people, once they get their theory up and running, to operate in "theory mode" rather than continuing to make sure the theory remains anchored in the external reality it is supposed to represent.

    It's like a hot-air balloon that was released into the sky, and people still assume they're over Thailand because the balloon (which they constantly monitor) looks consistent and safe to them... but meanwhile the wind currents have carried them over Greenland.

    A theory is just hot air if it does not reflect the reality from which it claims to be derived. Thus the point of error is only secondarily the internal consistency of the theory, and it can only be used as part of logical triangulation, not as the main support for whether or not the theory reflects reality.

    ...But once more, that is not the heart of type. If we wish to understand the archetypal quiddity of Se, we need not observe human behavior at all, we need to observe the internal conceptual framework and human thought to continue re-working the aforementioned system. Human behavior will only throw us off as it often shows only very superficial traces of one's thought and how one's mind works. This in effect leads to the confusion of type for personality. That is the error that has led many, especially the new students of the subject to believe that they are their type.
    You've pointed out some of the flaws, true. And yes, I find myself frustrated with people who take particular behavioral indicators as representative of type individually, rather than fitting them into the larger theoretical framework and thus "context."

    But again, the danger of a closed theoretical construct is that it can separate itself from the reality it is supposed to reflect. Theory is not reality, but an attempt to understand it.

    And especially when theory is applied against people as means of influence or control over their lives, I find this increasingly unpalatable and even dangerous. You and I have both been burned by people with a "theory" about how life is supposed to work, that seems internally consistent to them, but it's not really connected to how the world actually works.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #6
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I'd like you to take this concept and apply it to a particular religious doctrine, then, like evangelical Christianity, and see if your thoughts would still be palatable to you...

    ... which is essentially what i was describing in my post: The tendency for people, once they get their theory up and running, to operate in "theory mode" rather than continuing to make sure the theory remains anchored in the external reality it is supposed to represent.

    It's like a hot-air balloon that was released into the sky, and people still assume they're over Thailand because the balloon (which they constantly monitor) looks consistent and safe to them... but meanwhile the wind currents have carried them over Greenland.

    A theory is just hot air if it does not reflect the reality from which it claims to be derived. Thus the point of error is only secondarily the internal consistency of the theory, and it can only be used as part of logical triangulation, not as the main support for whether or not the theory reflects reality.



    You've pointed out some of the flaws, true. And yes, I find myself frustrated with people who take particular behavioral indicators as representative of type individually, rather than fitting them into the larger theoretical framework and thus "context."

    But again, the danger of a closed theoretical construct is that it can separate itself from the reality it is supposed to reflect. Theory is not reality, but an attempt to understand it.

    And especially when theory is applied against people as means of influence or control over their lives, I find this increasingly unpalatable and even dangerous. You and I have both been burned by people with a "theory" about how life is supposed to work, that seems internally consistent to them, but it's not really connected to how the world actually works.
    If you truly seek truth, you will want internal consistency. If you want the truth, you won't have a closed system. You will continue re-working it.

    That said, religious zealots tend not to be concerned with the truth, but only with affirmation of their prejudices.
    "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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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    If you truly seek truth, you will want internal consistency. If you want the truth, you won't have a closed system. You will continue re-working it.
    So you're saying that both are important and it's NOT all about the internal consistency?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #8
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    So you're saying that both are important and it's NOT all about the internal consistency?
    Correct. Though internal consistency is more important. Just like for example, if you go on a trip, it is more about what you make of it in your reflections about the trip than the experience itself. (Yet the experience itself is doubtlessly an indispensible factor). A retard or an animal could have the same trip with an internal effect hardly reminiscent of ours.
    "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/

  9. #9
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    What, you mean the theoretical approach?

    Rather than checking to see if the theory still matches up with reality, people are merely looking to see if the theory has internal consistency and using that as evidence that the pattern is valid?

    Sure, that would be a logic flaw. (incidentally, one that shows up in ANY type of belief system, whether religion or politics or whatever -- mistaking internal consistency for external validity.)


    (Btw nice conversion process... I like the pretty words )
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ilah's Avatar
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    Replying to the OP. How much of it is theory and how much is observation?

    Using INTJs as an example:
    If your dominant is Ni and auxillary is Te, your third strongest trait is supposed to be Fi and four should be Se. Why are Fi and Se listed as 3 and 4?

    Is it based on theory? Something like, logically if one of your percieving is introverted the next one should be extrovert for balance. So Ni is backed up by Se, not Si. But that makes me wonder why not Ni, Te, Se, Fi?

    Or is it based on observation. Statistically, did most people that were NiTe have Fi as third and Se as fourth?

    If the order is based on theory, it would seem like a large number or people whose traits don't fall into proper order would question the vallidity of the theory.

    On the other hand if it is just statistics then having many people whose traits fall into order does not invalidate it.

    It doesn't seem to be that the order is just statistics though. There is a pattern to determining traits 3-8 based on the first 2 that is consistent for all the types. That seems to point more to theory than statistics.

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