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    Senior Member deathwarmedup's Avatar
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    Default About "cognitive functions".

    If You’re Confused About Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type, Read This: An Intro To Cognitive Functions | Thought Catalog

    "Of the eight cognitive functions, four are extroverted (oriented toward action and interaction with the world around you) and four are introverted (oriented toward analysis and reflection). Regardless of whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, we each have two extroverted functions and two introverted functions. Extroverts just prefer using their main extroverted function over their main introverted function and vice versa."



    If extraversion is biologically based and reinforced by long term conditioning (e.g. approach / reward), how can one individual simultaneously (and habitually) extravert some functions and introvert the others?

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    I've thought about this endlessly, and it's quite a complicated story. I think the best way to look at it is that there are two things that go under the name extraversion/introversion, unfortunately. One has to do with psychological energy. So in other words does it flow inward, outward. This is the prototypical reflective loner vs involved-in-outside dichotomy which Jung appealed to.

    In Jung's typology, at least originally, undoubtedly the view was to keep things double-introverted or double extraverted, and the most vocal proponent from the Jungian community of the new MBTI-centric approach, Beebe, himself agrees the Jungians seemed to err on the double side, not the alternating side.
    Jung expressly types Nietzsche as a NiTi type, by the way. There's just no getting around that. And in fact, he NEVER to my knowledge (which is quite thorough, if I say so myself) types anyone, besides possibly those with undifferentiated secondary function, as having the alternating attitudes.


    I have personally come to the conclusion that, defined in the reflective/loner sense, it really doesn't make sense to alternate. However, in terms of a more philosophical approach, it actually is very natural, but here we're really conceiving of e/i in terms of how one's philosophy of information works -- here it is just as natural to need to handle the outer and inner perspectives as it is to need both perception and judgment, because, as the famous philosophical mind/body problem constantly shows, there's at least a deep psychological sense of divide between the subjective factor and the external perspective on reality, and we seem to need to handle both perspectives to build a picture of reality. And people react to this in different ways/organize reality differently that we can try to systematically study.

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    Senior Member deathwarmedup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GavinElster View Post

    In Jung's typology, at least originally, undoubtedly the view was to keep things double-introverted or double extraverted, and the most vocal proponent from the Jungian community of the new MBTI-centric approach, Beebe, himself agrees the Jungians seemed to err on the double side, not the alternating side.
    Jung expressly types Nietzsche as a NiTi type, by the way. There's just no getting around that. And in fact, he NEVER to my knowledge (which is quite thorough, if I say so myself) types anyone, besides possibly those with undifferentiated secondary function, as having the alternating attitudes.
    My knowledge is not thorough. My recent partial re-reading of Gifts Differing showed no sign of alternating attitudes either. Is that right or have I missed something? So at what point did they spring up?


    I have personally come to the conclusion that, defined in the reflective/loner sense, it really doesn't make sense to alternate. However, in terms of a more philosophical approach, it actually is very natural, but here we're really conceiving of e/i in terms of how one's philosophy of information works -- here it is just as natural to need to handle the outer and inner perspectives as it is to need both perception and judgment, because, as the famous philosophical mind/body problem constantly shows, there's at least a deep psychological sense of divide between the subjective factor and the external perspective on reality, and we seem to need to handle both perspectives to build a picture of reality. And people react to this in different ways/organize reality differently that we can try to systematically study.
    So in this non-classical sense you're talking of, introverted feeling and extroverted sensing are metaphors for a subjective or objective directing of feeling and sensing, rather than extroversion/introversion proper.... that the alternating functions allow you to "touch base" across the subjective/objective divide?

    Okay. But, "Fe" ....say.... if in second place, seems to me to be assumed to be a distinct drive to consider other's feelings.... or whatever - we'll not splice hairs here. In an IXFJ it is something that's at work in a very active way. This suggests something rooted in a more substantial base than the philosophical one you propose? And "Se", to me, seems just that - a very classic expression of extroversion proper. I can't see it being motivated by anything less tangible than the physiological processes of extraversion.

    Another problem I have with it is that I know plenty who fit, say, the ESFJ and ESFP mould but who all seem to be heavy on so-called "Fe" (if anything the ESFPs even more so).

    Also, if this is a theoretical aspect that Jung never bothered with nor Isobel Myerrs (I'll stand corrected if I'm wrong on that latter one) and you have to "think endlessly" to justify it then, I mean ... why bother? Ocham's Razor and all that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deathwarmedup
    My recent partial re-reading of Gifts Differing showed no sign of alternating attitudes either.
    It's been a bit of time since I read it, but I'm quite sure that Myers is the pioneer of the alternating attitudes, which she extracts as HER interpretation of the "in every respect different" which Jung ascribes to the aux function. She pretty expressly disagrees with Jung.

    I think it was for poorly construed reasons, but there are other better reasons for considering alternating attitudes.

    Okay. But, "Fe" ....say.... if in second place, seems to me to be assumed to be a distinct drive to consider other's feelings.... or whatever - we'll not splice hairs here. In an IXFJ it is something that's at work in a very active way. This suggests something rooted in a more substantial base than the philosophical one you propose? And "Se", to me, seems just that - a very classic expression of extroversion proper. I can't see it being motivated by anything less tangible than the physiological processes of extraversion.
    Well I'm saying there are two ways we can conceive of the definition of extraverting/introverting that I really think deserve to be separated out. I'm saying one of them is such that it would make sense to double up...or rather, just to assign the e/i to the attitude of consciousness, and say anything we do consciously proceeds to support the conscious attitude. In the other sense, it makes sense to alternate. Philosophically it is very hard to conceive of forming a picture of reality where we don't have to balance the subjective/objective factors (else it leads to at the extremes denial of the existence of consciousness on one end or solipsism on the other).

    But in terms of the definition of reflective/solitary vs the opposite, one can certainly tend to exercise all one's functions with a single attitude in mind.

    Also, if this is a theoretical aspect that Jung never bothered with nor Isobel Myerrs (I'll stand corrected if I'm wrong on that latter one) and you have to "think endlessly"
    No it isn't something Jung didn't consider, it's just recognizing that his category of e/i is quite overstuffed and he didn't go into enough depth on the philosophical side (but he did seem to consider how people like Kant are introverts -- he types Kant as the prototypical Ti dominant.... and he does seem to be appealing to Kant's focus on the a priori and the inherent place the structure of the mind has in gaining knowledge in his philosophy, used to respond to some of Hume's skeptical empiricism), trying to explain it away by the personality side, which is basically just the attitude of consciousness (it's part of his struggle with being a bit of a mystic, and trying to pass off his disagreements with other thinkers as a result of psychological type...) -- it contains an admixture of philosophical and personality versions of inner and outer orientation, and it tries to claim that many of the former stem from the latter. Jung also stuffed into his category many facets of personality which separate under factor analysis in the Big 5. In fact, he almost viewed e/i the "main deal" of personality, and while he was quite insightful, it seems very well justified to separate out the parts to analyze what's really going on.

    The endless thought was mainly because there's a lot of contradictions between Jung/Myers, and unnecessary confusion over this, and it took a lot of time to resolve, but I think I have well-motivated reasons for all the positions I hold now.
    So many people tried to tell me that there's no such thing as double introvert/extravert based on Myers/Harold Grant dogma, when Jung himself disagreed.

    One hint as to how Jung was confused on e/i is that he typed Freud/Adler somewhat inconsistently .... and he seemed to never quite know how to settle on whether something was someone's work or the person themselves at work. So e.g. he felt Adler's philosophy was introverted, while his personality was extraverted. Yet he typed Adler an introvert. There's often criticism of Jung for seeming to type Freud an extravert, given he was OBVIOUSLY an introvert in personality compared to Adler. This all led me to strongly suspect Jung was overstuffing his category/it was leading to lack of clarity.

    I had to figure out why there seemed to be grains of truth to each (the alternating and non-alternating perspectives), and it leads to a complex story. As you surely know, the razor you speak of is about not postulating entities without necessity, not about simplifying reality. Further, even if Jung/Myers didn't consider something, that's a far cry from being not an interesting thing to study in its own right. What if this theory is more interesting than what either of them talked of (not saying it is, just saying a priori there's no reason given one way or another).



    Just in case you are interested, here's Beebe at around 8:28 onwards...next couple minutes, he explains how Jung seemed to see all your main functions as in the same attitude. YouTube

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    Senior Member deathwarmedup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GavinElster View Post
    It's been a bit of time since I read it, but I'm quite sure that Myers is the pioneer of the alternating attitudes, which she extracts as HER interpretation of the "in every respect different" which Jung ascribes to the aux function. She pretty expressly disagrees with Jung.

    I think it was for poorly construed reasons, but there are other better reasons for considering alternating attitudes.
    Very much so, it seems.



    Well I'm saying there are two ways we can conceive of the definition of extraverting/introverting that I really think deserve to be separated out. I'm saying one of them is such that it would make sense to double up...or rather, just to assign the e/i to the attitude of consciousness, and say anything we do consciously proceeds to support the conscious attitude. In the other sense, it makes sense to alternate. Philosophically it is very hard to conceive of forming a picture of reality where we don't have to balance the subjective/objective factors (else it leads to at the extremes denial of the existence of consciousness on one end or solipsism on the other).

    But in terms of the definition of reflective/solitary vs the opposite, one can certainly tend to exercise all one's functions with a single attitude in mind.
    I understand what you are saying and it is an interesting idea, and necessary. My problem is that I'm not drawn to the alternating functions idea and not invested in making it work and I think there's a lot of people out there who, like the blogger I linked at the start of this thread (but unlike yourself) just buy into it uncritically.

    About your approach - let's call them “classic extroversion” and “philosophical extroversion”.

    Let's take a random function, Se.

    Se, from what I assume is everyone's rough, shared understanding, is a good example of an expression of “classic extroversion”. It's very tangible and mediated through scientifically understood pathways. And that all makes sense when in a dominant position in the personality.

    However, if it's used as an example of philosophical extroversion, further down the stack, in a person who is otherwise “classically introverted”, whose approach/avoidance mechanism and so on is orientated for introversion only, then where is Se drawing it's energy from? What's mediating it? Whatever is performing this counterbalancing of the introvert's subjectivity, it can't be Se.


    I had to figure out why there seemed to be grains of truth to each (the alternating and non-alternating perspectives), and it leads to a complex story. As you surely know, the razor you speak of is about not postulating entities without necessity, not about simplifying reality. Further, even if Jung/Myers didn't consider something, that's a far cry from being not an interesting thing to study in its own right. What if this theory is more interesting than what either of them talked of (not saying it is, just saying a priori there's no reason given one way or another).

    Just in case you are interested, here's Beebe at around 8:28 onwards...next couple minutes, he explains how Jung seemed to see all your main functions as in the same attitude. YouTube
    When I first approached this thread it was with an attitude to alternating functions such that they were a case of “postulating entities without necessity ”. I still feel that way (I'm fine with just the three axis plus J/P), but I do now think that the “philosophical” balancing of subjectivity and objectivity need to be considered – just that I don't readily see that threading it through the alternate stacks theory is going to work or even necessary.

    This thread has been up for days and you're the only person who's responded. You've also probably given much more thought over the years to this problem than most people. It bugs me that such an influential theory (alternating functions) with such tenuous roots is so readily accepted, often by highly intelligent people. Thanks for the info. about its roots, and the link.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deathwarmedup
    When I first approached this thread it was with an attitude to alternating functions such that they were a case of “postulating entities without necessity ”. I still feel that way (I'm fine with just the three axis plus J/P), but I do now think that the “philosophical” balancing of subjectivity and objectivity need to be considered – just that I don't readily see that threading it through the alternate stacks theory is going to work or even necessary.
    Well what I'm gathering is that you're OK with considering the need to balance both philosophically, but don't see the relevance of alternating e/i? I think it's a very short leap that (just like it make sense to pair rational and perceiving) you might want to pair e/i. That + the already existing principle of complents (Se complements Ni, Te / Fi and so on) leads you very immediately to a version of the standard alternating models. However, that isn't to say I use those models as they're traditionally given.
    I basically like a version of socionics' model, except I throw out a lot of their theory/use an interpretation that is based on careful consideration of all the systems (Jung, Myers, socionics, and many offshoots of Jung who tried to take his ideas in different directions....plus musings of my own.}
    It's with respect to some such scheme that I think I'm an "ILE" and a Ne/Ti.

    {Note that I originally was like you -- I saw nothing interesting in the alternating stackings. However, in time, I found *AN* interpretation of them which seems rich enough to be seriously considered.}

    I don't claim this exhaustive or anything of all the possibilities, so much as capturing what I've found to be some of the richest patterns in dealing with perspectives to e/i.

    Just to give you one illustration, the philosophical view that we're ultimately just bundles of sensory stimuli (which in the last resort are just mental states and don't correspond to anything external) and can never be sure there's an objective external reality we're really observing often seems to lead thinkers to a kind of pragmatism in philosophy -- it suggests we can at most agree upon conventions in our knowledge-seeking and hope for convergent results that we agree upon, based on the rules/methodological conventions we've decided on. This looks a lot like a kind of Si/Te.
    Where it's clearly an introverted perspective, but we use the Te because in practice we can't get by with true solipsism.

    I certainly don't think one "needs" this model, but I don't think one needs anything really. Really depends if it's interesting/captures something legitimate.

    What's really interesting is there's a psychology behind these philosophies too -- our psychologies will influence often which of these we find natural. I think that's where Jung was going. There's not really any dogmatic answer that tells us how all our psyches are, but we can say what some of the typical, rich, natural patterns out there are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deathwarmedup
    I think there's a lot of people out there who, like the blogger I linked at the start of this thread (but unlike yourself) just buy into it uncritically.
    And just FWIW, this is why I did the endless thought. It's just fun enough, and most people really do seem to uncritically accept a given model. I just sought to find interesting, rich patterns, without a dogmatic claim to their exhaustiveness (ie that everyone fits one of these exactly).

    The Big 5 view to personality, which is the more empirical one, is based on continuous dimensions, not discrete types. It suggests there's a lot of variation in the degree/manner to/in which one relates to the extremes of a given scale, and a lot of ways the different scales can combine, and a lot of subscales to a given scale. So in the end, the blueprints I came up with can also be combined/mixed/matched in many ways. But understanding the extremes helps, just because they are what even define the variance in each of the scales. We can then examine what the reasons might be to mix/match the various extremes.

    Anyway, there's no need to study my version of things, I ain't an "offical" theorist, and it's only really if someone happens to be interested/has time. I just liked this stuff so much/saw so much potential in it that I couldn't help but try.

    It bugs me that such an influential theory (alternating functions) with such tenuous roots is so readily accepted, often by highly intelligent people. Thanks for the info. about its roots, and the link.
    Me too, and again I try to really tell people not to do this, and present even my own ideas as at most good within the limits intended for them/not beyond.

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    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathwarmedup View Post
    My knowledge is not thorough. My recent partial re-reading of Gifts Differing showed no sign of alternating attitudes either. Is that right or have I missed something? So at what point did they spring up?
    Jung's function stack for an Ni-dom with a T-aux was Ni-Ti-Fe-Se.

    Myers' was Ni-Te-Fe-Se.

    The alternating-attitude stack originated with an obscure religious writer named Harold Grant, in a 1983 book entitled Image to Likeness: A Jungian Path in the Gospel Journey — and just so you know, besides being inconsistent with Jung and Myers, that stack has never been endorsed by the official MBTI folks.

    For a discussion of why, as James Reynierse has noted in a series of articles in the official MBTI journal, the so-called "cognitive functions" are appropriately characterized as a "category mistake," see this post. And in case you reach the end of that one with some appetite left, the final post that it links to (Why I'm a "dichotomies guy") is no longer available, but the spoiler in this post has a long excerpt from it.

    For a long discussion of Jung's function model, see the two-part post starting here.

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    The Myers & Briggs Foundation support the alternating cognitive function theory.

    http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-p...nd-to-show.htm

    The last letter of your type “points to” the function you use with the outside world—either your perception function (S or N) or your judgment function (T or F).
    If you are an ENTJ, for example, your type ends in J, so you use your judgment function, which is Thinking, in the outside world.
    If you are an ISFP, then you use your perception function which is Sensing, in the outside world.

    For those who prefer Extraversion, the dominant function is extraverted because Extraverts use their favorite function (dominant) in their favorite world (the outer world.)

    For those with a preference for Introversion, the dominant function is introverted, used in their inner world, and what they show to the outside is their auxiliary or second favorite function.
    In psychological types, Jung's examples were extreme types.

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    My comment is that, while Grant may have been where the stackings were first mentioned, it's unclear if he's the reason they really became popular -- maybe in part, but not full? I get the sense that the main popularizers are the Nardi crowd and the Beebe crowd. There's a pretty large religion surrounding Beebe's stuff, since he's a Jungian analyst/thus probably considered an authority of sorts by many, whether deservedly or not.

    My impression is that official MBTI sources such as the MBTI foundation consistently mention the top two attitudes alternating, but not the attitude of the third function. That's really integral to Beebe's theory, though, because of the idea that the child archetype is supposed to sorta pander to the ego/hero over the more mature parent archetype.

    But I honestly have always been suspicious of the origins, as Beebe himself mentions that he had trouble deciding if he's an extravert or introvert, and honestly I'm not convinced whether he basically projected his psyche onto everyone else in a sense by making the alternating thing mainstream. I find most alternating interpretations kind of suspect.

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