# Thread: The Nature of the Dichotomy

1. ## The Nature of the Dichotomy

So I've been having some thoughts about MBTI as an abstract system.

I think the truth of the system depends upon whether the dichotomies fall into place as they should.

Wikipedia defines a dichotomy as:

A dichotomy is any splitting of a whole into exactly two non-overlapping parts, meaning it is a procedure in which a whole is divided into two parts, or in half.

It is a partition of a whole (or a set) into two parts (subsets) that are:

jointly exhaustive: everything must belong to one part or the other, and
mutually exclusive: nothing can belong simultaneously to both parts.

The two parts thus formed are complements. In logic, the partitions are opposites if there exists a proposition such that it holds over one and not the other.
This means that the two parts of the same whole are fundamentally differentiated in a way that they cannot mingle with each other. Many of the things we often consider to be dichotomous in nature are not true dichotomies. For instance, sun-up and sun-down is not true because there are times during dawn and dusk that the sun is half-way, thus breaking the "mutually exclusive" rule. Black and white is not a true dichotomy as long as we are referring to the entire chromatics system. However, A.M. and P.M. is a true dichotomy as long as we are within the 24 hour time scale. Just like MBTI, A.M. P.M. is more of an abstract system of thought and orientation, based on numbers which do not coincide with their concrete counterparts (sun up and sun down).

So let's make this simple:

The system begins with the entirety of, what I will call a "type"; as this word more closely aligns with what the system itself should be describing. "World-view" colloquially represents something more like a body of ideas, and "personality" psychologically refers to the sum of what makes a person; which is not what MBTI does.

The first dichotomy to be drawn in this "type" is introversion and extraversion. In order to fulfill the "dichotomy", all extraverted functions must strictly be involved with the "outer" world, while all introverted functions must be involved with the "inner" world in kind. This distinction rolls out the carpet for all the other digits.

The second dichotomy is "intuitive" and "sensing". These make up the body if perception. The only separation I can make is "concrete" vs. "abstract", but perceptions vary in terms of abstraction and concreteness. It is quite possible for information to be ambiguously in the middle of abstract and concrete. For instance, the phrase "A man" is more vague, heightening the level of abstraction, while the phrases "The man", and "7 men", is more precise and appeals more to the concrete. So perceptions themselves are more scalar in nature, but this dichotomy only means to draw the line between Perception as a whole.

The third dichotomy involves the body of decision making as either "thinking" or "feeling". I must admit, I'm rather baffled by people pitting "values" and "logic" against each other as if they are not jointly exhaustive or mutually exclusive. Both of these modes of thought can be had simultaneously. One can sequence and moralize simultaneously as well - they are not fundamentally distinct. However, 2 things that are fundamentally distinct are impersonal and personal. One cannot logically be both at the same time. So Thinking is an impersonal decision making faculty and Feeling is a personal one. I would like to expound off of that, but if I did then I would probably fracture the dichotomy.

The J/P dichotomy is only correct if it refers to the extraversion/introversion preference of particular functions in relation to the types themselves.

The most interesting thing that I found was that one cannot use an introverted function and an extraverted function simultaneously; nor can one use a thinking function and a feeling function simultaneously or a sensing and an intuitive function simultaneously. For instance, if an ENFJ is to be using two functions, those functions must be either Fe/Se simultaneously or Ni/Ti simultaneously, or else the dichotomy is broken. I was about to consider if one can switch to a shadow function en tandem with the more preferred function; for instance, if an INFP could delve into Se while using Ne, but this would exhaust the perceiving dichotomy and it would be wrecked.

I would like to know why Jungians are opposed to that above sentiment ^. The only way they would be is if they do not think that sensing and intuition are fundamentally differentiated, in which case none of this is cogent.

Of course, this is all according to MBTI, which is just as abstract as A.M./P.M..

Any thoughts?

2. To be honest with you, I don't think the ideas of E/I, S/N, T/F, or P/J have any plave in function theory. I don't believe there is any such animal as just sensing, it's either introverted sensing or extraverted sensing.

I regard trying to do typing by splitting the four letter code into four components as an over simplification that leads to poor results. The theory is all about the eight point function order (or 4 point, if you follow that school of thought). The four letter code is just a short hand way of expressing that order. By which I mean the code comes from the order, rather than the order coming from the code, as people sometimes seem to think.

It's a bit like taking my name "Andy" and asking what the A means in isolation. Well , it doesn't mean much of anything, it just describes a sound. Only when all four are strung together does it gain meaning, becoming a lable that refers to me.

I don't think the idea of a true dictonomy as you describe it will help much in understanding function theory. If any dictonomies exist, they are between extroverted percieving/introverted perciecing and extroverted judging/introverted judging.

3. Originally Posted by Andy
To be honest with you, I don't think the ideas of E/I, S/N, T/F, or P/J have any plave in function theory. I don't believe there is any such animal as just sensing, it's either introverted sensing or extraverted sensing.
If sensing did not exist, then subsets of sensing such as introverted and extraverted would not exist. Likewise, if the idea of introversion vs. extraversion did not exist, then the variants of sensing and all other functions would not exist. I think what you mean to say is that the 4 letter digits that MBTI presents in the form of superficial personality types do not reflect their true nature because they do not describe psychological type through function. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I regard trying to do typing by splitting the four letter code into four components as an over simplification that leads to poor results. The theory is all about the eight point function order (or 4 point, if you follow that school of thought). The four letter code is just a short hand way of expressing that order. By which I mean the code comes from the order, rather than the order coming from the code, as people sometimes seem to think.
All of this is true. The code came from the order, but the order existed in a dichotomous fashion prior to being incorporated in MBTI. For instance, there were rational and irrational functions, introverted and extraverted functions. MBTI is meant to be a way of systematizing these functions according to a logical preference order. The "types" that are represented by digits are more superficially and holistically described, and as such they are also tested in accordance. In other words, MBTI tests do not cater to individual functions, but rather to the 4 letter code in ways that aren't dichotomous.

It's a bit like taking my name "Andy" and asking what the A means in isolation. Well , it doesn't mean much of anything, it just describes a sound. Only when all four are strung together does it gain meaning, becoming a lable that refers to me.

I don't think the idea of a true dictonomy as you describe it will help much in understanding function theory. If any dictonomies exist, they are between extroverted percieving/introverted perciecing and extroverted judging/introverted judging.
My point is that many of these dichotomies are either misrepresented or not dichotomies at all. As I stated earlier, functions are still dichotomous.

4. Originally Posted by Mystic Tater
If sensing did not exist, then subsets of sensing such as introverted and extraverted would not exist. Likewise, if the idea of introversion vs. extraversion did not exist, then the variants of sensing and all other functions would not exist. I think what you mean to say is that the 4 letter digits that MBTI presents in the form of superficial personality types do not reflect their true nature because they do not describe psychological type through function. Correct me if I'm wrong.
No, what I mean is that introverted sensing and extroverted sensing are not subsets of the same thing. They are very different entities that just happen to have a similar name.

The dictonomy, imperfect as it may be, is between extroverted sensing/introverted intuition and extroverted intuition/introverted sensing. Thus introverted sensing and extroverted sensing aren't even part of the same identity. I'd go as far as to say that Si has more in common with Ni than Se, and Se is more like Ne than Ni.

This is what I ment by the balance between introverted percieving and extroverted percieving.

I think the similarity in the names come from the way that Jung first thought about the concepts involved. He looked at it in very much the same way that you are in the opening post. Trouble is, it doesn't really work very, as I think you are discovering for yourself, if I follow your thoughts correctly. Therefore, it is necessarly to rethink the definition of the functions and how they are percieved to fit together.

All of this is true. The code came from the order, but the order existed in a dichotomous fashion prior to being incorporated in MBTI. For instance, there were rational and irrational functions, introverted and extraverted functions. MBTI is meant to be a way of systematizing these functions according to a logical preference order. The "types" that are represented by digits are more superficially and holistically described, and as such they are also tested in accordance. In other words, MBTI tests do not cater to individual functions, but rather to the 4 letter code in ways that aren't dichotomous.

My point is that many of these dichotomies are either misrepresented or not dichotomies at all. As I stated earlier, functions are still dichotomous.

This word dictomy seems to have the the wrong definition attached to if for our purposes. Lets get rid of it and try something else... like balance or sliding scale. As one goes up, the other goes down.

5. MBTI is flawed in that it forces a dictomy in the four letters. However the errors you see tend to be in the aux and tert functions being developed about equally.

Thus in a simple T vs F or S vs N, depending upon the middle functions, the person ends up mixed between two MBTI types.

6. Originally Posted by Orobas
MBTI is flawed in that it forces a dictomy in the four letters. However the errors you see tend to be in the aux and tert functions being developed about equally.

Thus in a simple T vs F or S vs N, depending upon the middle functions, the person ends up mixed between two MBTI types.
..Yeah.

Personally, I'm kind of lost at this point on what makes IFPs all that different. I've read enough about functions now (and also agree with Andy btw about the I/E dichotomy), but I've intentionally retyped myself as INFP, simply because of stereotypes. I've come to the conclusion that that's all that matters. I slip into the category easier, so to hell with an actual serious examination of the subject. If I type as S, then I don't fit into the convenient Se category like I'm supposed to. And that's a problem. We don't want that, do we? Monkeys aren't supposed to dream and talk and think and apply their Fi "vertically" and have an imagination.. No, lets just call me an N and be done with it.

7. Originally Posted by KDude
..Yeah.

Personally, I'm kind of lost at this point on what makes IFPs all that different. I've read enough about functions now (and also agree with Andy btw about the I/E dichotomy), but I've intentionally retyped myself as INFP, simply because of stereotypes. I've come to the conclusion that that's all that matters. I slip into the category easier, so to hell with an actual serious examination of the subject. If I type as S, then I don't fit into the convenient Se category like I'm supposed to. And that's a problem. We don't want that, do we? Monkeys aren't supposed to dream and talk and think and apply their Fi "vertically" and have an imagination.. No, lets just call me an N and be done with it.
But you know...the funny thing is that if you stick with "ISFP" that means FiSeNiTe. NeSi in an INFP feels very different from SeNi in an ISFP and gives a very unique perspective.

You will simply say a few words, but capture the gist of the convo as you are seeing the multiple perspectives due to Ni. Much like the INTJs tend to do. There is great value in that unique perspective. I have seen it in several ISFPs here.

I think at type C we WAY underestimate the value of perspective gained by the dom-tert combo and how it evaluates the world. If the other person doesnt see and judge in a familiar way, we just disregard....not recognizing they actually are viewing the world in a drastically different way-thus capturing information the majority of us would not see. Ideally you could take the info they provide and reanalyze it in your own way and build a better description of what is "true".

8. I would think that's common in many actually (Dom-Tert). I don't know why it's not recognized as much. But like I told an ENFP not long about his Te - Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition :P Same goes for ESFPs. It's there though.

As for me, stereotypes aside, I'm still confused in a way. I'll just stick with this for awhile.

9. Originally Posted by KDude
I would think that's common in many actually (Dom-Tert). I don't know why it's not recognized as much. But like I told an ENFP not long about his Te - Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition :P Same goes for ESFPs. It's there though.

Originally Posted by Mystic Tater
The most interesting thing that I found was that one cannot use an introverted function and an extraverted function simultaneously; nor can one use a thinking function and a feeling function simultaneously or a sensing and an intuitive function simultaneously. For instance, if an ENFJ is to be using two functions, those functions must be either Fe/Se simultaneously or Ni/Ti simultaneously, or else the dichotomy is broken. I was about to consider if one can switch to a shadow function en tandem with the more preferred function; for instance, if an INFP could delve into Se while using Ne, but this would exhaust the perceiving dichotomy and it would be wrecked.

I would like to know why Jungians are opposed to that above sentiment ^. The only way they would be is if they do not think that sensing and intuition are fundamentally differentiated, in which case none of this is cogent.
wait. i was under the impression that we all use all of the functions all of the time, and thus, technically, we can use any and do use all combinations, but we will prefer to use the ones in our functional order according to our type.

thus i prefer
NeFi
TeSi
NiFe
TiSe

BUT can (and do) theoretically use...
NeFi
NeTi
SeFi
SeTi
NiFe
NiTe
SiFe
SiTe
FiNe
TiNe
FiSe
TiSe
FeNi
TeNi
FeSi
FeTi

the catch is that they must all come in sets. if i use NeFi, the rest follows as NeFiTeSiNiFeTiSe. if i'm using FiNe, my function order essentially becomes that of an INFP for a given time, FiNeSiTeFeNiSeTi. thus nothing contradicts. but i am typed as an ENFP because my preference is for using NeFi.

right?

10. Originally Posted by Orobas
MBTI is flawed in that it forces a dictomy in the four letters. However the errors you see tend to be in the aux and tert functions being developed about equally.

Thus in a simple T vs F or S vs N, depending upon the middle functions, the person ends up mixed between two MBTI types.
That is certainly a good reason for disgarding that approach to typing.

Originally Posted by Orobas
But you know...the funny thing is that if you stick with "ISFP" that means FiSeNiTe. NeSi in an INFP feels very different from SeNi in an ISFP and gives a very unique perspective.

You will simply say a few words, but capture the gist of the convo as you are seeing the multiple perspectives due to Ni. Much like the INTJs tend to do. There is great value in that unique perspective. I have seen it in several ISFPs here.

I think at type C we WAY underestimate the value of perspective gained by the dom-tert combo and how it evaluates the world. If the other person doesnt see and judge in a familiar way, we just disregard....not recognizing they actually are viewing the world in a drastically different way-thus capturing information the majority of us would not see. Ideally you could take the info they provide and reanalyze it in your own way and build a better description of what is "true".
Yes, the tertiary often acts as sort of a "voice in the back of your head", flavouring the way he look at things. It's effects often get over looked.

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