The quick and dirty guide to determining function axes

Fe/Ti vs. Fi/Te

If a person has an Fe/Ti axis, then, all other things being equal, he will tend to see all men as being essentially “cut from the same cloth” (Fe), while all observations pertaining to Thinking will unconsciously be seen as universally accessible, regardless of who made them (Ti).

To give an example of what we mean, take the following characterization of the philosopher Immanuel Kant:

“Kant … was much bothered by the common opinion that philosophy is only for the few … because of this opinion’s moral implications.”

That is to say, according to Kant’s natural preference, all men should be capable of accessing and understanding the points of philosophy (even though they plainly are not). And Kant was also “bothered” by the implication that if not all people were able to understand philosophy, then that would imply that not all men were “cut from the same cloth.” This is circumstantial evidence of a Ti/Fe axis in Kant.

Thus we have explained the Ti/Fe axis. By contrast, if a person has a Te/Fi axis, that person will be more inclined to view each person as unique, different and very much his own person (Fi). And with this differentiation – all men being decidedly NOT cut from the same cloth – a hierarchization of people is implied (Te). Ironically, I-FPs will often vehemently deny that they subscribe to any such worldview featuring a hierarchy of people and may even denounce such views as unethical. But they are really no different from the other Te/Fi types: It is merely their own inferior Te which they are denouncing.

You don’t believe there’s a difference between people? Really? Then how come you’re the one up on the stage with 40,000 people down there adulating you?

“But couldn’t this also be said of Fe/Ti artists? Are they not also up on the stage?” Yes, but the point is that as a rule, the Fe/Ti artists will not pretend that everyone is equal on the emergent level. Everyone was cut from the same cloth in the beginning and then people have differentiated themselves from there.

Se/Ni vs. Si/Ne

If a person has an Se/Ni axis, then that person’s observations will be more singular and intense (Christopher Hitchens, Oprah Winfrey, General Patton). The person will stress one point of view (Ni), which is indeed frequently the viewpoint that generates the greatest yield here and now (Se). The singularity of observation involved will frequently lend a manifest and immediate quality to the Se/Ni type’s observations, which in turn tends to make them convincing.

On the other hand, if a person has an Si/Ne axis, that person’s observations will be more multifaceted, drawing upon multiple perspectives at once (Ne). The person will also be more careful and meticulous (Si) because there is an unconscious striving to contribute one’s observations to building a system which is valid not just in the here and now, but which is perceived to be true in general: To generate the type of knowledge that could conceivably end up in a future textbook on the subject.

“You’re saying that EN-Ps are cautious and meticulous? Really?” Yes, actually we are. We’re saying that yes, EN-Ps will fling themselves at the unknown, sometimes to make bold and half-baked claims, but (again, all other things being equal) they will also be quick to withdraw from those claims again, and that is a kind of caution.

26 Comments

  1. JOSH ENTP says:

    This is a great post it really sheds light onto the whole function business, and definitely helps me see the difference between introverted functions vs extroverted ones.

  2. Kay says:

    is the author of this post INTP? Just a guess.

  3. Axel Nilsson says:

    My guess is INTJ/INFJ

    I think the post extraverts judging since it’s deliberately trying to explain something rather than stating facts with as much precision as possible.

  4. nyle says:

    Can you guys type Corinne Bailey Rae

  5. Maybe not today says:

    I learned something or two from this post. Thank you.

  6. monzaq says:

    You write these posts why I like CelebrityTypes.
    I’m looking forward to your posting too..
    Is that Possible?? What do you think??

    .. I’m not good at English.. I’m a Korean.
    This is the only site in English that I visit.
    that means I really really like your articles.. (-,.-)

  7. monzaq says:

    Ne+Si vs. No+Se

  8. admin says:

    Thanks.

    Is what possible?

  9. monzaq says:

    more info

  10. admin says:

    Yes. We are working on it :)

  11. monzaq says:

    You don’t have any board that guests ask something but also e-mail address to contact you.
    Is it right that I see?
    I’d just like to confirm that.. so please understand me I write down on ‘comment’.

  12. admin says:

    There is an email at the bottom of this page.

  13. Liz says:

    On the official MBTI, I scored ENFP, but on the Keirsey test, I scored ESTP. It seemed to me that the questions of the MBTI were posed so that I answered them according to what I considered the ideal for me, i.e., who I wanted to be, whereas with Keirsey, I answered them according to how I really am. I’m not sure if this has been anyone else’s experience, or if I incorrectly answered the MBTI owing to a true S nature (having not fully understood the instructions since they were not spelled out!), but if anyone has any insight to why this may have happened in my experience, I’d appreciate the feedback. Thanks.

  14. ???? says:

    Ti/Fe – Everyone can understand, so anyone can make it if they so choose
    Fi/Te – We understand, so those who commit to the cause will make it

    ????

  15. leonltsao says:

    This is an interesting post. I found the “singularity” of Se/Ni to be particularly cool.

    I would respectfully disagree that Fi/Te axis implies hierarchization. That is strongly opposed to Fi ethics of equality. True, Fi-types like to think they are special, but that does not mean better. They think they are special in the sense that everyone is special in their own way. Hierarchy is irrelevant. INFPs are about discovering each and every person’s uniqueness–everyone has a gift, so therefore no one is better, just different. Thus Myers (an INFP) has a book called “Gifts Differing.”

    At the same time Fe and Se can be about hierarchies. Fe recognizes social hierarchies. Se can also has a respect for status.

  16. admin says:

    Thanks! You are right that Fi>Te types usually dislike hierarchization. If nothing else, the point is that Fi>Te types evince a concern with hierarchization that is not in the same way bedrock to Fe/Ti. Jung originally thought of the function axes as Heraclitean oppositions; i.e. like a road where each function was connected to its opposite. From this point of view, even the opposition showcases the preoccupation with hierarchization, which finds its opposite in the Te>Fi types who indulge in it.

    Yes, other types can also be influenced by status and hierarchization as you say. Specifically with Se, though, status is not quite the same as hierarchy. You are correct to point out how it is more often status that influences Se.

    We have read Gifts Differing and we refer to it on the site many times.

  17. leonltsao says:

    thanks for the answer, that was informative.

  18. gorourke0812 says:

    Really great post. It answered many questions I’d had about functions, but created a whole lot more. I’m new to typing. I want to get a better sense of what my personality type and style are. I tested as ENTP. I’ve taken a few tests and I’m most often ENTP with a “weak T preference.” Sometimes (more rarely) I’ve tested as ENFP but with a very weak preference for F. I’ve read several descriptions of both types and can see traits of both in me for sure. I identify with the ENTP descriptions more than the ENFP ones. Could anyone give me insight into how to go about identifying functions within myself to distinguish between the types (understanding that I could find that I’m neither type in actuality)?

  19. admin says:

    ENTP: Ne-Ti-Fe-Si
    ENFP: Ne-Fi-Te-Si
    So your need to distinguish between the Fi/Te and Ti/Fe.

  20. gorourke0812 says:

    Thanks for the advice and all of the resources. After reading further and more in depth, it’s starting to appear that I’m actually most likely INTP which I would never have guessed. The articles and infographics have been quite helpful.

  21. JBoyle says:

    Some pretty great heuristics. Though I have a couple questions indirectly relate. I’m assuming that you find yourself in situations where a person’s best fit type based on E/I opposing function pairs is not consistent with their type based on function preference independent of the attitude. For instance, you type Jung as an INFJ but I’m sure you recognize his Ni and Ti as more prominent in his conscious expression (Or do you?). Similarly, you type Taylor Swift as an ESTP but from my observations of her and current typological understanding, it would seem that her Se and Fe hold primacy. I have found myself in such conundrums when typing friends of mine. I have two that are clear Fe dominants, and very extraverted ones at that. Discerning by just the strength of their perception functions, friend A is an S –> ESFJ and friend B an N –> ENFJ. Upon closer inspection of their function attitudes, however, friend A is an Ni/Se type and friend B an Si/Ne. How do you typically interpret cases like these? What do you declare as each individual’s true preference of his/her middle two functions? Do you believe that the top two functions can have the same attitude? If so, must it be unnatural or unhealthy?

  22. admin says:

    Thanks.
    Yes, we allow for the fact that there are differences in prominence, i.e. quantitatively, that seem to circumvent the order of the functions. However, the essential matter from a Jungian perspective is not quantity (as most people erroneously believe) but quality, as we explain in this article: http://www.celebritytypes.com/blog/2014/06/an-aristotelian-view-of-personality-types/

    So if you wanted to approach type assessments the same way we do, you should not assess your friends by the _strength_ of their functions, but rather go with the latter possibility you present. E.g. if A is an Fe type with Ni/Se when he must be an ENFJ *or* A is not really an Fe type. There are cases that are confusing in the way you describe, but we would say they are very rare, like less than 5% of all people.

    Thanks for your interest in the site.

  23. Scratch says:

    Just because a person comes across as a more prominent “user” of a certain function does not imply that it is more active or conscious function mentally. A persons circumstances like friends, family, upbringing, childhood, career, workplace dynamic, intelligence and a host of other factors contribute to how someone behaves.

    For example, many women will appear to use their Fe function (or Te synthetically) a lot more actively than most men since they have been conditioned to overvalue social interaction. As a result non FJ women will often become exhausted a lot easier due to social situations even though they may seem very competent in this area.

    Since we cannot brain scan a type (yet) we are left with trying to induce a type through what a person chooses to extravert, either consciously or subconsciously. This is an imperfect approach, but is the only approach available and is highly dependent the person having a wide variety and amount of available data about them. So if we were to, for example type a person that for some reason or other tends to play a role in their interviews and comes across as highly personable, it would be easy to overvalue their Fe function. This person might act very differently alone or with close friends. Or perhaps in the case of a person with social anxiety who has for some reason taken an interest in some academic pursuit and is reclusive we might overvalue their Ti function.

    In addition the second and third functions have a more balanced and healthy relationship and will often work in concert with each other. As opposed to the first and fourth who tend to have a more dysfunctional relationship. I find that a good approach if you’re certain of the first function, but unsure of the second is to look at the second and third as a whole and try to figure out what the extrovert one is. In extroverts this is especially helpful as their second function is often “hidden” behind their first and third and will very much operate in a support capacity.

  24. Jirka says:

    Hi,
    i have a question. First sorry for my bad english. I want to ask if i am ENFP of ENTP. I will make it quick. Simply i see myself as ENTP because of “thinking” opinion of how should people and world work. I love to analyse everything to its principles ( look to me like Ti using). But then there is a problem. I am sometimes very emotional. But not like Fe but Fi. I mean by that that my emotions are sometimes “inside”. I am for example sometimes very sad for something someone told me. And I thhink i have sense of how people around me feel in the moment. I want to say something clearly, but i still feel that it can hurt that person. I dont know … Thanks for answer.

  25. Rachel Wood says:

    I found this article helpful.

    However, the title is misleading – when I read the word “dirty” I was expecting something along the lines of a Sasha Grey video. Imagine my disappointment.

  26. Scratch says:

    Jirka, what you are describing sounds a lot more like Fe than Fi. When people use “inside” to describe Fi it is more in the line of how it has no need to be shared and doesn’t naturally seek to be a part of or adjust to other peoples feelings.

    Someone with Fi in their stack wouldn’t naturally empathize with someone else unless they can find common ground, like a shared experience. Conversely someone with Fe seems to be able to emapthize with anyone and everyone and for a lot of us with Fi their empathy seems shallow in comparison to our own.

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