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  1. #1
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Default Another Person Confused About Type

    Hello,


    I have been lurking here for a while, and since reading over the posts has not led me to any definitive conclusion as to what my own type is, I will post my problem for you all to read.


    This will probably be long, so I'll break it down (and I apologize in advance):

    Even after reading extensively over all of the type function descriptions, I still cannot seem to grasp the difference between the dominant "F" in INFP (Fi) and the "T" in INTP (Ti). I have tested INFP once, and INTP all other times. I have also read over the type descriptions by "Bluewing" that were suggested in a different thread. The statements "uses logic" and "bases decisions on values" seem to be impossible for me to conceptualize in terms of how I, myself, make decisions.

    When I tested INFP, I was taking the test at university (for an internship class), and I sort-of raced through the answers choosing whichever choice sounded the "nicest" to me. In other words, I wasn't taking it to genuinely find out more about myself, which makes me think that these are probably the more trustworthy results as I didn't have any knowledge of MBTI to project onto the choice sets (and because I went with gut-feeling on the answers in order to get it over with quickly).

    However, on every test taken thereafter I have scored INTP, and I also scored 5w4 on the Enneagram. The descriptions for each of these types seems to match somewhat with what I know of myself, but I think that (from what I have read of these types on this board) this may be due to the I,N & P functioning similarly in each one. The problem for me is that I can now tell what the questions on the quizzes are designed to indicate about you depending on the choice you make.

    Now, a brief description of myself for those of you who would be willing (and probably bored) enough to try and type me over the internet (though I know this is a perilous method!). I am aware that I am almost always emotionally withdrawn (well, withdrawn in general), and that I do not have the talent for showing outward sympathy for people, though I may feel sympathetic on the inside.

    Say, for instance, that my friend's grandmother died, and they were just torn apart about it emotionally. My normal reaction would be to at first feel a sort of shocked sinking feeling at the news of it, and then to ask "what happened" so that I could understand exactly how she died. This is my immediate response, but I also use it as a way of showing my level of concern for someone and their situation, because if I weren't interested, then I wouldn't want to know more about what happened, right? Understanding what happened to their grandma, too, would affect my emotional response since I would obviously be more horrified if she were murdered than if she died quietly in their sleep (not that that's any comfort to the grieving friend).

    If I could perceive that the person didn't want to disclose how their grandma died at the time (I'm usually good at reading people), then I would probably put the issue aside for the moment out of sympathy for that person. In the meanwhile, it would be very difficult to offer any kind of outward sympathy as I generally feel extremely awkward offering hugs or other physical signs of affection. I have often felt more guilt and anxiety in these types of situations than anything else because I know that my lack of action and outward show of empathy is probably upsetting to the other person, and I would most of the time rather run away from it entirely. Often I feel that this is unfair because the situation is supposed to be about them and their problem, and not about me, yet I always become super-conscious about this sort of stuff, on top of whatever I may really be feeling about their situation (which usually is deep sympathy).

    Also, I am fairly bad at math. I wasn't always- only in the 11th grade did I start to despise my pure math classes. I have no interest in this sort of thing. I guess it could be because I grew up in Ford-ville, so everything about the school was geared towards cranking out engineers for the auto industry (or so I thought). I despised this because I did not want to be produced by anyone else or for anyone else (values?). I realize now that this was immature, but that was just my highschool self being angsty. Other than that, the only thing that I was particularly outstanding at was foreign languages.

    I will finish this off by stating what my main problem in deciding my type is:

    Before I learned about MBTI, and before I took a formal logic course, I never really labeled my mental process as "logic". For me, it was more automatic, and I was (and am) usually completely unaware of the logical steps that take place before I come to a conclusion. Thus when I had to defend an argument in a paper, I would reason it all out in my head, come to a conclusion, write the conclusion down, and then go backwards from there and try to make all of those steps explicit, both for my own sake and for the purpose of making the paper coherent. But the mental process that did all this in the first place is definitely murky, and I often have some difficulty going back and identifying and labeling certain steps in linear fashion. This made me feel like what I was doing was not "logic" in the sense of p->q, p, therefore q, though if I went back I could probably fit the process into a long and complicated formal argument. This would only make it more difficult for me though, and it would require a lot of painstaking translation. So I have never really thought of "logic" as an isolated system- it has always just been there, something natural, not really something I decide to do.

    I am aware that all types use reasoning in this sense, and that some types are (apparently) more predisposed to it than others, but where I am confused is with all of this "values" talk. I know what a logical decision looks like in action, but I cannot seem to understand what a decision made from values, or one that is people-oriented (and apparently isn't logical) would look like. Can someone come up with one concrete hypothetical situation in which an INTP would make a "logical" decision, and an INFP would make a values/people-based decision (one that is NOT logical) at the same time? Something that doesn't involve someone just saying "oh, I would decide using my values?" I don't know what that means, and I would like very much to see how the difference would play out in the exact same context and situation. When I see examples it always seems to be that people make purely logical or objective decisions in contexts where it is entirely called for, and that people cite making values-based decisions where such decisions are usually appropriate (namely, situations involving people and values). These are not helpful, and I would like to see a situation where values/people would be deliberately chosen over objective, logical solutions/decisions. In other words, where they would be in direct conflict.

    BTW- one reason why I doubt that I am an INFP is because I don't know that I even have a system of values necessarily. If I do, then I do not know what they are consciously! I know that if I make a personal decision, like what I want to do as a career for instance, I will definitely consider how I feel as part of the equation. In fact, I am sure that in this particular instance I would give much more weight to what I "feel" is a more suitable career for myself than on "logical" factors such as money, benefits, long-term advancement options, etc..., though I do take these into consideration.

    Anyway, If you have made it to this point in the post . Thanks for taking the time to read!
    Last edited by Orangey; 06-28-2008 at 05:20 AM. Reason: Add more information.

  2. #2
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    By no means am I an MBTI expert, but I like to borrow from it for didactic purposes.

    Based on the OP, I'd say INFP is a better fit.

    Both INFPs and INTPs would be drawn to philosophy, but your interest in rhetoric suggests that you not only desire to attain wisdom for yourself, but you want to connect efficiently with others in order to persuade and share your wisdom. This requires the ability and desire to sympathize, and, based on your knowledge of where a person is both emotionally and intellectually, to present well thought out positions in a manner that is easily interpreted and accepted by the listener. INTPs don't do this as well as the other types; they are wretched sympathizers, and they are more concerned with personal understanding than communication; if the other doesn't understand, that's his problem. On the other hand, the INFP would have a keen sense of sympathy, and inferior Te would aid in transforming what is experienced internally as a 'murky' mess into an externally intelligible argument.

    I find it interesting that you use formal arguments to support conclusions you arrive at without formal arguments; that is, you've made Thinking subservient to some other function. This is INTP heresy; let all Feelers, Intuitors, and Senors be anathema!

    You're familiar with value ethics? Yes?

    One decides what is valuable based on what one believes to be good, and the extent to which one feels good/happy or bad/miserable depends upon whether a person believes he possesses that which is good. Thus, what a person feels depends on: 1) what they believe to be good, 2) whether they believe they can possess what is good; and 3) whether they believe they do in fact possess that which is good.

    Assigning value in such a manner and evaluating whether or not you can and do possess what you believe to be good requires the use reason to: 1) form concepts, judgements, and arguments; 2) to interpret experience; and 3) to construct a view of what is good. So all decisions are, to some extent, reasonable.

    Based on my understanding of MBTI, dominant Feelers rely more on how they feel as an epistemological guide. If a conclusion is consistent with what a Feeler values, i.e., with what he believes to be good and the means to the good, then the Feeler will assign a much greater degree of inductive strength to any argument that supports that conclusion. The dominant Thinker would be less inclined to trust his feelings alone, and so he would assign less inductive strength to such arguments, and he would reserve judgement/have a lesser degree of belief until a stronger argument could be found.

    Both thinkers and feelers make decisions based on what they value, but they have different epistemological preferences that influence how they generate their beliefs about what is valuable.

    And that's all I have to say about that.

  3. #3
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Thank you for replying! Let me just address some of your post so that I can be sure that I was being clear.

    Both INFPs and INTPs would be drawn to philosophy, but your interest in rhetoric suggests that you not only desire to attain wisdom for yourself, but you want to connect efficiently with others in order to persuade and share your wisdom. This requires the ability and desire to sympathize, and, based on your knowledge of where a person is both emotionally and intellectually, to present well thought out positions in a manner that is easily interpreted and accepted by the listener.
    Yes, I can see what you mean by this. However, my research interests are in argument theory (legal argumentation, Frans van Eemeren and pragma-dialectics) and (to be quick about it) stuff in the vein of informal logic theory. So I study a lot of formal logic, although you are correct in that this is auxiliary to my primary study of rhetoric and "natural" reasoning. However, I should make it clear that I do not really "practice" rhetoric so much as study classical modes of rhetoric and "dialectic". The field of "rhetoric" and communication is very broad, though, so I know what you mean. My current program has four different areas of focus, and I think the one that you are referring to would be more along the lines of either the actual "speech communication" track or the "media-cultural studies/ literary theory" track. I don't really study those so much, although I did teach a public speaking course.

    Even if I did, though, I would not be so sure that type is necessarily related to choice of field. I know quite a few english lit majors who are prototypical "thinking" types in the MBTI sense of the word. My mother, too, is a nurse (an INFP profession if ever there was one), and she is very far from being a feeling type. She is an INTJ, and she has had the full testing done on her.


    I find it interesting that you use formal arguments to support conclusions you arrive at without formal arguments; that is, you've made Thinking subservient to some other function. This is INTP heresy; let all Feelers, Intuitors, and Senors be anathema!
    I'm not sure what you mean here though, because what I was describing was my actual "thinking" process and how it is different from the clean, nice and numbered premises and conclusions of formal logical arguments. I mean, can you do a complicated proof in your head? I certainly cannot. What I mean is that I will take an issue, say a political one, and I will think through what I know about it (of course gained through research), and I will reason through it (or at least that's what I think it is). This process is murky in the sense that a lot of the "reasoning" is tacit, and I would never actually think of "modus ponens" or any other syntactic argument structure when I'm going through an argument in my head. It just happens, and I will almost always know when something doesn't make sense. It just takes a moment to trace back and list out exactly why I know this, but it is all there in my head.

    A lot of times, especially if it is a political issue, I will not know what I think or feel about it either way from the beginning (I don't keep up with politics, to my shame), so I will take both positions mentally and see which one adds up better given what I know. This is why I'm not sure that I'm INFP because wouldn't I be basing how I reason about the issue on a personal value? Because I almost never have this. In fact, I'm not sure how I feel about a lot of things until I have figured the issue or problem out in my head first. The only thing I was trying to say when I said that my thinking process is "murky" was not that it was value laden, but simply that I did not reason "formally" in the sense of translating my arguments into formal symbols instantly in my head. That would be much too slow, and whatever it is that I do is almost automatic.

    Based on my understanding of MBTI, dominant Feelers rely more on how they feel as an epistemological guide. If a conclusion is consistent with what a Feeler values, i.e., with what he believes to be good and the means to the good, then the Feeler will assign a much greater degree of inductive strength to any argument that supports that conclusion.
    Right, and that's the whole thing: I don't even know what to value until I have puzzled about it for long enough, and even then I am not sure. Let me try to think of an example- say, for instance, opinions about drilling for oil in Alaska. I suppose a feeler would be inclined (if this is what they valued, of course, which it may not necessarily be) to first "feel" that they think it is wrong to destroy the pristine forests, and so they would give more inductive weight to any arguments that would support this conclusion? So they start from a definitive conclusion first?

    If that is the case, I certainly do not do this (not that I think it's wrong, or anything, and I have done this over some topics such as my career choice). I almost always start off a decision or judgement without assuming any side first, and when I said that I go backward from the conclusion in the original post, I meant that I reason through it quickly/automatically and then go back to explicate the reasoning. I just don't write it all down as it's happening in the form of, you know...

    1) (x)[Px->Qx]
    2) ...


    Did I clarify anything? Thank you for your response.

  4. #4
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Now that you've disabused me of the notion that your interest in rhetoric was to practice either the ""speech communication" track or the "media-cultural studies/ literary theory" track," I have no idea what type best fits your personality.

    Your program of study is very INTPish, and you don't operate the way I think feelers do.

    You may well be closer to INTP.

    Others here would know better than I.

    Cheers.

  5. #5
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Now that you've disabused me of the notion that your interest in rhetoric was to practice either the ""speech communication" track or the "media-cultural studies/ literary theory" track," I have no idea what type best fits your personality.
    Hehe...thought it'd be safer being more specific than vague!

    Thanks for the input.

  6. #6
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    About the T/F function divide-

    As I understand it, Te/Ti and Fe/Fi are the "rational" functions of cognition because they rely upon "reflection" as opposed to sensation/perception to know. So this use of the word "rational" has nothing to do with logic, but rather with how an individual parses/organizes sensory/perceived data.

    However, Ti/Te, as individual functions are typically associated with logic in the sense that one uses analysis and categorization based on logical systems in order to interpret the world. Feeling does not operate in this manner, as it's main function is to sort information based on a process of good/bad valuation.

    Jung says:

    Thinking, if it is to be real thinking and true to its own principle, must rigorously exclude feeling. This, of course, does not do away with the the fact that there are individuals whose thinking and feeling are on the same level, both being of equal motive power for consciousness. But in these cases there is also no question of a differentiated type, but merely of relatively undeveloped thinking and feeling.["General Description of the Types," CW 6, par. 667.]
    This would seem to suggest that in order for "thinking" to be authentic it cannot include feeling, making each function mutually exclusive. Or, if one has equal preference for both, that just means that neither has been fully developed.

    If you reverse this, you would come to the conclusion that in order to "feel" authentically, one must exclude "thinking". This is where I have a problem, though, because I have yet to see any real life example where a "feeler" is any less adept at using logic than a "thinker". And I have seen many posts on this board that say things along the lines of "feelers (or NF's, specifically) are just as capable of reasoning logically as thinkers".

    But if a "feeler" can reason just as well as a "thinker", then how does one differentiate between the two? We would have to admit that "thinkers" are somehow better at it than "feelers", and that "feelers" are better at feeling (in the Jungian sense) than "thinkers", or the whole distinction falls apart. I see that there is a tendency for those who identify as thinkers to pridefully admit the latter, but I sense a reluctance for the former to be admitted by the feelers.

    Of course, one could respond by saying that everyone has the capacity for reasoning because of the tertiary/shadow functions, but unless the feeling types have developed these non-dominant traits to an extraordinary degree, then it must be admitted that they are (as a whole) cognitively less capable of reasoning using systems of logic than a thinking type. This seems an outrageous claim to make, but the converse is often made (willingly) by thinking types, who speak openly about their lack of emotional development in relation to the feelers.

    Or am I totally wrong to think that feeling excludes thinking the same way that thinking excludes feeling? If this is the case, then thinking and feeling are not equal, as one may think and not feel, but one may not feel and not think. Am I totally confused?

    Edit: Or I am completely mistaken in attributing logic to the thinking functions. But if this is the case, and logic is an entity external to the cognitive processes, then what *is* thinking?

  7. #7
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    You strike me as being more INTP than INFP based on what little interaction we had so far.

  8. #8
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    You strike me as being more INTP than INFP based on what little interaction we had so far.
    Or I could be projecting what I know to be INTP behavior (aka posing) .

  9. #9
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    A.) I am most definitely an NF feeler.

    B.) My NF status has nothing at all to do with my ability to think critically at a substantially above-average-level.

    C.) There is some correlation between intelligence and MBTI type, but really, that's an irrelevant statistic in regards to one's actual/real "what's my type" expression/status.

    D.) Personally, what really works for me regarding MBTI type theory is the dominance/preference of my primary and secondary functions, Ne/Fi.

    E.) The ENFP profile describes me so well that it is somewhat disconcerting, (tee-hee, here I was, living my life, all along thinking, "Boy, I sure am drastically different than other/most people", only to find out that there are others out there who are just like, or very similar to me).

    F.) And yes, you are totally wrong for thinking that feeling excludes thinking the same way that thinking (doesn't) exclude feeling.

    G.) I know Fi, at least, requires a whole helluva a lot of contemplation and reflection, i.e. *thinking*.

    H.) Empathy is a trait of an evolved mind. (joking, not really)

    I.) I hope this helps. :/
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  10. #10
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply! Allow me to respond...

    B.) My NF status has nothing at all to do with my ability to think critically at a substantially above-average-level.

    C.) There is some correlation between intelligence and MBTI type, but really, that's an irrelevant statistic in regards to one's actual/real "what's my type" expression/status.
    I'm not sure that the mere *ability* to reason logically is in indicator, in itself, of an individual's intelligence. It was not my intention to make any sort of link between level of intelligence and capacity for logic.

    Here is a definition of intelligence:

    1. capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.
    2. manifestation of a high mental capacity: He writes with intelligence and wit.
    3. the faculty of understanding.
    4. knowledge of an event, circumstance, etc., received or imparted; news; information.
    So by this definition, intelligence would very well include the "feeling" function, as it is a means by which certain individuals interpret/understand things. In other words, one need not be a "thinker" to be considered intelligent.

    F.) And yes, you are totally wrong for thinking that feeling excludes thinking the same way that thinking (doesn't) exclude feeling.

    G.) I know Fi, at least, requires a whole helluva a lot of contemplation and reflection, i.e. *thinking*.
    I was going by Jung's definitions of "thinking" and "feeling". By his definition, thinking *does* exclude feeling, because feeling is a totally different way of organizing perceived information.

    Here is a Jungian definition of feeling:

    The feeling function is the basis for "fight or flight" decisions. As a subjective process, it may be quite independent of external stimuli. In Jung's view it is a rational function, like thinking, in that it is decisively influenced not by perception (as are the functions of sensation and intuition) but by reflection. A person whose overall attitude is oriented by the feeling function is called a feeling type.

    In everyday usage, feeling is often confused with emotion. The latter, more appropriately called affect, is the result of an activated complex. Feeling not contaminated by affect can be quite cold.

    Feeling is distinguished from affect by the fact that it produces no perceptible physical innervations, i.e., neither more nor less than an ordinary thinking process. [Definitions," CW 6, par. 725.]
    Feeling in this sense definitely is a type of reflective/contemplative process, but it is different from the "thinking" process that Jung describes. We are not to confuse "thinking" with cognition. Do you see that by making "thinking" a universal trait, that automatically makes it superior to feeling? A thinking type has no need to engage the feeling function, but the feeling type *must* engage the thinking function.

    Anyway, I'm curious...how do you know so assuredly that you are an NF? What about yourself do you attribute to the feeling function?

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