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  1. #1
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    Default Thinking vs Feeling...a false dichotomy?

    I've thought on and off about the dichotomy between thinking and feeling for about five years now. My ideas on it have evolved over the years. Initially, I thought the thinking-feeling dichotomy was a good way to compartmentalize the way decisions are oriented by different people. Then, for a period of time I came to the conclusion that it's possible for there to be no dichotomy between thoughts and feelings--that a person could fall in love with an idea. More recently, a few ideas have emerged. First, that this "thinking-feeling" binary distinction is based on a gross oversimplification about the way people make decisions. Even the horribly stupid questions on the Myers-Briggs test like "do you make decisions with your head or heart?" is based on a fictitious dichotomy. No one makes decisions with their heart, all decisions stem from the brain. There are those who take others into consideration and there are those who consider only themselves. But to call those who consider others feelers and those who consider themselves logical is an invalid inference. Logic is only a system invented by and used for humans. If a basic assumption is that humans ought to pursue their own self-interest and maximize utility, as Adam Smith posits, then a person's logic should be oriented toward the self. If however we hold the basic assumption that decisions should be oriented around the self and the group (as John Nash posits) than the logic we employ will reflect this end goal which differs from Smith's.

    Then we get into the "why" of how logic came to be annexed with self-interest. And I'd argue it has evolved this way primarily due to the influence of the wealthy class. In this sense, the wealthy have brainwashed society into believing that the "Right" is logical and anyone who is on the progressive "Left" who's actually trying to put a little more food on the table or raise the minimum wage must be an illogical feeling type. Such fictitious lies don't square well with economic and social realities, and I am here to expose this myth.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I am way too tired to respond to this properly, but I wholeheartedly agree with this. I think there is definitely this strange divide between what we see as "thinking" and "feeling" and the types of behaviors we attribute to each one, and it doesn't really make sense.

    Perhaps intent has more to do with it?

    For example, there are some interpersonal issues going on in my debate team at the moment, and I've been thinking a lot about it and trying to figure out ways to alleviate the problem. This could be an "F" driven action if my primary motives for it are to create an atmosphere of harmony and to make sure everyone is happy. Or, it could be seen as "T" driven if my primary motives were to create a more efficient environment conducive to learning. (But I feel these motives are equal for me, at least in this case!)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    No one makes decisions with their heart, all decisions stem from the brain.
    There's a large nerve cluster in the heart, and it has been proposed, based primarily on heart transplant recipients having memories of the donor, that it is responsible for some actual thought. It doesn't seem to be so far fetched that it's unbelievable. I naturally doubt that it's specifically tied to "feeling," but it's food for thought.

    Lost Arts of the Mind Archive: Can your heart think and feel?

    Madure's Kiosk: Neurocardiology: The Brain in the Heart

    ____

    The T/F dichotomy is easily described in several valid ways, one of which being: What is relied upon most often decides the preference. If you trust your natural emotional instincts, you're a feeler, and if you trust disassociated reason, you're a thinker.

  4. #4
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    I've thought on and off about the dichotomy between thinking and feeling for about five years now. My ideas on it have evolved over the years. Initially, I thought the thinking-feeling dichotomy was a good way to compartmentalize the way decisions are oriented by different people. Then, for a period of time I came to the conclusion that it's possible for there to be no dichotomy between thoughts and feelings--that a person could fall in love with an idea. More recently, a few ideas have emerged. First, that this "thinking-feeling" binary distinction is based on a gross oversimplification about the way people make decisions. Even the horribly stupid questions on the Myers-Briggs test like "do you make decisions with your head or heart?" is based on a fictitious dichotomy. No one makes decisions with their heart, all decisions stem from the brain. There are those who take others into consideration and there are those who consider only themselves. But to call those who consider others feelers and those who consider themselves logical is an invalid inference. Logic is only a system invented by and used for humans. If a basic assumption is that humans ought to pursue their own self-interest and maximize utility, as Adam Smith posits, then a person's logic should be oriented toward the self. If however we hold the basic assumption that decisions should be oriented around the self and the group (as John Nash posits) than the logic we employ will reflect this end goal which differs from Smith's.

    Then we get into the "why" of how logic came to be annexed with self-interest. And I'd argue it has evolved this way primarily due to the influence of the wealthy class. In this sense, the wealthy have brainwashed society into believing that the "Right" is logical and anyone who is on the progressive "Left" who's actually trying to put a little more food on the table or raise the minimum wage must be an illogical feeling type. Such fictitious lies don't square well with economic and social realities, and I am here to expose this myth.

    Thoughts?
    It's a concept worth exploring, and it rings true. The only thing I can come up with at the time being though is that the left (particulary extreme left) tend to use emotive arguments when bringing issues to the forefront, thus can be "deemed" illogical. You only have to look towards any Green/enviromentalist party to see examples of emotive and deeply flawed aurgment. I tend to think it's the left's approach that's deemed illogiical, not the issues they address.
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  5. #5
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Thinking/Feeling is certainly a false dichotomy.

    Function theory gets around the binary distinction.

    MBTI types are merely adjectives, like calling someone shy. They should only be descriptive, not predictive, and not based on ability.

    (As an F who is commonly called "Ev-bot" because I'm so obsessed with logic, this has always been a big qualm I've had with the system.)

    Another thing I've realized -- I'm gonna use Ni dominants as an example -- if you're an Ni dominant, there are two choices for MBTI type: INTJ and INFJ. You are INTJ if you use Te/Fi and INFJ if you use Fe/Ti. But what if you're an Ni dominant that uses Fe/Ti but prefers Ti to Fe? You can't call yourself INTJ because the functions don't match. But INFJ implies that you use Fe more than Ti. Neither type is a particularly good description of your function usage.

    (I'm using this as an example because it's the situation I'm in. I call myself INFJ, but I hate the fact that people box me into the non-logical category. In fact, I'm more logical than almost anyone I've known besides my INTP father.)

    The solution is to throw out function order, and to make sure not to use MBTI as a predictive tool. Only adjectives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flak View Post
    The T/F dichotomy is easily described in several valid ways, one of which being: What is relied upon most often decides the preference. If you trust your natural emotional instincts, you're a feeler, and if you trust disassociated reason, you're a thinker.
    I'm INTJ with that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    Thinking/Feeling is certainly a false dichotomy.

    Function theory gets around the binary distinction.
    Which one, MBTI function theory? I don't think there are any benefits at all to using that one, being firstly that it's fundamentally misapplied.

    Another thing I've realized -- I'm gonna use Ni dominants as an example -- if you're an Ni dominant, there are two choices for MBTI type: INTJ and INFJ. You are INTJ if you use Te/Fi and INFJ if you use Fe/Ti. But what if you're an Ni dominant that uses Fe/Ti but prefers Ti to Fe? You can't call yourself INTJ because the functions don't match.
    No, it doesn't mean you can't be INTJ, it means that the function order isn't as rigid (or correct) as some would like to believe it is, for any type.

    (I'm using this as an example because it's the situation I'm in. I call myself INFJ, but I hate the fact that people box me into the non-logical category. In fact, I'm more logical than almost anyone I've known besides my INTP father.)
    I might disagree with that. You seem to trust standards more than your own reasoning, which implies a favor for something other than reasoning ability in your psyche, which makes perfect sense being that you're INFJ. Not everyone's NT, thank God.

    The solution is to throw out function order,
    Well, yes...

    and to make sure not to use MBTI as a predictive tool. Only as adjectives.
    The types themselves, ignoring classical functions, can be used as a template to predict behavior. If you can't, by all means, don't. Some aren't built for it, like say, FJs, who lead with Feeling, as opposed to NPs, who lead with Intuition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I'm INTJ with that perspective.
    I think that's most likely the result of incorrect self-assessment.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by squibbles View Post
    Perhaps intent has more to do with it?

    For example, there are some interpersonal issues going on in my debate team at the moment, and I've been thinking a lot about it and trying to figure out ways to alleviate the problem. This could be an "F" driven action if my primary motives for it are to create an atmosphere of harmony and to make sure everyone is happy. Or, it could be seen as "T" driven if my primary motives were to create a more efficient environment conducive to learning. (But I feel these motives are equal for me, at least in this case!)
    I find this happens with my decisions. I am definitely INTJ but I find I use Fi a lot in my decisions because I empathize with people AS WELL as wanting to take the efficient logical stance.

    I guess looking at the system from a dichotomous point of view then it's not about anyone using T to the exclusion of F or vice versa because everyone has Ti, Te, Fi, and Fe in their type and can use any of those - it's just a case of what comes up the most often that determines whether you are T or F in your type code. Hopefully that makes sense!

  8. #8
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    The truth is, provoker, this one has already been quibble over quite a few times.

    For what it's worth, I do believe it is a false dichotomy. The only real dichotomies I've found are, rather obviously, between Thought and absence of Thought, and between Feeling and absence of Feeling. There is no conflict, no contrast, between Thinking and Feeling for there to be a dichotomy between them.
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  9. #9
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flak View Post
    Which one, MBTI function theory? I don't think there are any benefits at all to using that one, being firstly that it's fundamentally misapplied.


    No, it doesn't mean you can't be INTJ, it means that the function order isn't as rigid (or correct) as some would like to believe it is, for any type.


    I might disagree with that. You seem to trust standards more than your own reasoning, which implies a favor for something other than reasoning ability in your psyche, which makes perfect sense being that you're INFJ. Not everyone's NT, thank God.


    Well, yes...


    The types themselves, ignoring classical functions, can be used as a template to predict behavior. If you can't, by all means, don't. Some aren't built for it, like say, FJs, who lead with Feeling, as opposed to NPs, who lead with Intuition.


    I think that's most likely the result of incorrect self-assessment.
    Thanks for all your help Jack! I'm enlightened now!

    I'd appreciate if you stopped replying to my posts in such a condescending manner. You don't know me.

  10. #10
    Member Ezion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    I've thought on and off about the dichotomy between thinking and feeling for about five years now. My ideas on it have evolved over the years. Initially, I thought the thinking-feeling dichotomy was a good way to compartmentalize the way decisions are oriented by different people. Then, for a period of time I came to the conclusion that it's possible for there to be no dichotomy between thoughts and feelings--that a person could fall in love with an idea. More recently, a few ideas have emerged. First, that this "thinking-feeling" binary distinction is based on a gross oversimplification about the way people make decisions. Even the horribly stupid questions on the Myers-Briggs test like "do you make decisions with your head or heart?" is based on a fictitious dichotomy. No one makes decisions with their heart, all decisions stem from the brain. There are those who take others into consideration and there are those who consider only themselves. But to call those who consider others feelers and those who consider themselves logical is an invalid inference. Logic is only a system invented by and used for humans. If a basic assumption is that humans ought to pursue their own self-interest and maximize utility, as Adam Smith posits, then a person's logic should be oriented toward the self. If however we hold the basic assumption that decisions should be oriented around the self and the group (as John Nash posits) than the logic we employ will reflect this end goal which differs from Smith's.
    There is definitely a distinction between thinking and feeling types, however. Feeling types can employ thinking, and thinking types can employ feeling, however the MBTI measures our naturaly tendency and likely aptitude. While it is impossible to ascribe either thinking or feeling to a person, the T/F divide is supposed to indicate their preference.

    The MBTI theory does have some weaknesses, as it does rely on four dichotomies to completely differentiate people, but on average there are some observable trends between types.

    For instance, supposedly thinking types take advice more detachedly, while feeling types take advice more personally.
    Not that I'm suggesting anything. :innocent whistle:

    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    Then we get into the "why" of how logic came to be annexed with self-interest. And I'd argue it has evolved this way primarily due to the influence of the wealthy class. In this sense, the wealthy have brainwashed society into believing that the "Right" is logical and anyone who is on the progressive "Left" who's actually trying to put a little more food on the table or raise the minimum wage must be an illogical feeling type. Such fictitious lies don't square well with economic and social realities, and I am here to expose this myth.
    Woah now, slow down. Do you want to discuss MBTI theory or conspiracy theory?
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