Determining Function Axes, Part 8

Michael Pierce is a contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Pierce’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site. In this article, Pierce elaborates on the concept of function axes. 

By Michael Pierce

All types have one perceiving axis (N/S) and one judging axis (T/F). Each will always take one of two forms: The perceiving axis can be either the Se/Ni or the Si/Ne axis, while the judging axis can be either the Fe/Ti or the Fi/Te axis. I shall now attempt to lay out some differences between each of these.

The Judgment Axes

With regard to the judgment axis, Fe/Ti asks “What do I think and how can I communicate that?” while the Te/Fi axis asks “What do I want, and how can I get it?”

The Fe/Ti axis seeks to understand the logical structure or form underlying the phenomena that are encountered by the psyche. This discernment includes sentiment-related phenomena, which it approaches in an analytical manner, just as it may pertain to more mechanical analysis, which the Fe/Ti types then often take care to present in an agreeable manner and with a human face.

The Fi/Te axis seeks to apprehend a hierarchy of desires and passions that motivate the individual to create expedient arrangements in reality with the aim of furthering one’s ends and accomplishing one’s desires. Ultimately, the arrangements are there to serve the individual’s aims, and not in order to construct some impersonal, idealized model that can then be thought to be true for all time.

Hence it is my contention that the Fe/Ti axis is more naturally wired to seek knowledge that is abstracted from the individual’s personal situation, while the Te/Fi is more naturally wired towards making sure that the individual’s personal desires are transformed into reality. This distinction harks back to Sigurd Arild and Ryan Smith’s article, NTP Knowing vs. NTJ Willing, although in my opinion, the distinction holds true for all types, and not merely to NTPs and NTJs like they said. To put it another way, the reason their distinction pertains to all types is because these properties are in fact properties of the two judging axes, and not of NTP and NTJ types as such.

As is so often the case, however, the difference is clearest if we turn to philosophy where Nietzsche (the Fi/Te type) says:

“Behind all logic and its seeming sovereignty of movement, too, there stand valuations or, more clearly, physiological demands for the preservation of a certain type of life.” – Friedrich Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil §11

While Hume (the Fe/Ti type) says:

“… amidst all the variety and caprice of taste, there are certain general principles of approbation or blame, whose influence a careful eye may trace in all operations of the mind.” – David Hume: Essays (Alex, Murray & Son 1870) p. 138

Thus, in the Te/Fi attitude, we see that people are thought to do things because they want to, desire to, and have a passionate drive to: No matter what intricate logical justifications are produced, the real fuel of all spirited human activity will in the end be shown to be personal wishes and goals, that the individual is willing to fight to obtain or preserve. Meanwhile, with the Fe/Ti attitude represented by Hume, the reason people do things is because they operate under the influence of general principles, which they may not even understand in full themselves, but which nevertheless influence “all operations of the mind.”

It should be noted, of course, that these distinctions pertain to the psychological structure of consciousness, and not to its contents, as the other writers on this site so often take care to point out. That is to say, it is not impossible that an Fe/Ti type would end up agreeing with Nietzsche that everything ‘principled’ is really a masked power play that serves the promotion of one’s desires, as in fact, the Ti/Fe type Michel Foucault did, at least in part. However, the Fe/Ti style of thinking will still be his root metaphysical prejudice, as Ryan Smith has pointed out in Part 6 of this series. With Foucault, for example, we might say that what he did was essentially to analyze Nietzsche’s spirited accusation against principles and impartial logic on the basis of principles and impartial logic! He saw that even though people say they act on the basis of impartial principles, most of them simply don’t, and then made that his new principle, indeed extending Nietzsche’s argument to all people in a universalistic Fe/Ti fashion that would probably have been mildly amusing to Nietzsche himself. Though he had assimilated Fi/Te type contents, the structure of his consciousness was still opposite to that.

The Perceiving Axes

So much for the judgment axes. As far as the perceiving axes go, their general nature can be described as follows: Se/Ni asks: “What is the most likely outcome on the basis of the raw data?” while the Si/Ne axis asks: “What is the relative truth behind each perspective?”

The Se/Ni axis seeks to apprehend the most likely future outcome that we can expect, based on a raw and direct experience of reality. This configuration lends an unhindered and self-evident quality to the insights of Se/Ni types where they are often able to fuse direct experience of reality with compelling mental schemata for how to cognitively lock on to what’s going on in the world, as Boye Akinwande and Ryan Smith have pointed out in Part 4 of this series.

For its part, the Si/Ne axis seeks to cognize the most dependable and lasting qualities of phenomena, based on a tentative sampling of varying perspectives, with each perspective recommending some insights while lessening the importance of others (and concealing others still from view). This configuration leads to a more inhibited or indirect style of cognition on the part of the Si/Ne type where their contributions owe much more to an aggregate general wisdom that has formed over time than to acute observation of the present matter.

Hence, these observations effortlessly lead us back to what was originally said in Part 1 of this series: On balance, Se/Ni is much more trusting of, and interested in, whatever empirical data that is available and pertains directly to the matter at hand. As I have said, it is simply in the nature of Se/Ni to rely on direct observation and direct conjecture from the empirical data.  As the original article said, the Se/Ni type will be cognitively engrossed in one perspective, which is coincidentally also likely to be the perspective that generates the greatest yield. There is a manifest and immediate quality to their insights, since they are naturally hooked into a more direct and straightforward perception of the world.

Even when Se is a person’s inferior function, one can still see this facet of the Se/Ni axis at play. All else being equal, a dominant Ni type takes in the least amount of factual outside experience of all the Se/Ni types. Yet if you observe them, you see them constantly mulling over and conjecturing from whatever data they do have. Oftentimes, they simply cannot help but do so, and so they often feel like they have a lot to say on a broad range of topics, regardless of their actual levels of expertise.[1] Their saving grace, however, is the subjective originality of the Ni function, which frequently allows them to concoct novel and intriguing points of view, even on the basis of a few morsels of data that would leave others lost.[2]

Meanwhile, the Si/Ne axis is far less trusting of direct observation. This is hardly a mystery, since their Sensation function is introverted. Where Se/Ni types are straightforward and direct in their object representations, Si/Ne types are more cautious and indirect, abstracting experiences so as to produce subjective mental facsimiles of them at the expense of cognizing them directly. This is why Part 1 of this series pointed out that Si types will frequently experience an unconscious striving to organize the contents of their experience into a mental regimen which is not just valid in the here and now, but which might conceivably end up in a future textbook on the subject.

Si types focus their cognitive energy on the apprehension of the carefully and cautiously culled characteristics of phenomena that have been proven to endure over time. Hence their stereotypically thorough, cautious, and reserved nature. Meanwhile, Ne types tend to focus their energy on provisional exploration and experimentation, where the subject matter is approached from various angles at once. The Si type’s caution can here be seen in the Ne type’s tendency to eschew dogma and never truly commit to anything. It’s all experimentation and exploration, with a series of tentative snapshots amassing to form a composite mental image, though their trouble is that they never want to stop. The Si type’s trouble, on the other hand, is that they do not want to start.


[1] Roy Harrod: “[Keynes spoke] on a great range of topics, on some of which he was thoroughly an expert, but on others [he had] derived his views from the few pages of a book at which he had happened to glance.”

[2] Nietzsche: “One should not know more about a thing than one can digest creatively.”


  1. Anonymous says:

    You have written a very interesting article. You have done a good job. However, I still am not entirely certain whether my perception lies in Se/Ni or Si/Ne, neither am I sure whether my judgment lies in Te/Fi or Ti/Fe.
    Feel free to contact me if you believe you can help me.

  2. Raja Burrows says:

    1) “What do I think and how can I communicate that?” OR “What do I want, and how can I get it?”

    2) “What is the most likely outcome on the basis of the raw data?” OR “What is the relative truth behind each perspective?”

    Welp, we cracked the code. The human condition has been solved, we can all go home now.

  3. Anonymous says:

    But what if somebody seems to be equally concerned with going after what they want, as well as communicating their thoughts?
    What if somebody seems to be equally concerned with the most likely outcome as well as the relative truth?

  4. Raja Burrows says:

    I would say that for those who feel that they are “equally” concerned with getting what they want and communicating their thoughts (for instance) are likely responding to societal pressures more than what actually drives them.

    The Western business world operates heavily on a Te/Fi axis, with a strong emphasis on Te at the expense of Fi. The world of academia, however, operates on a Ti/Fe axis. As a result, we get a lot of mixed messages about the tools we “should” be using to navigate life. But I think these dichotomies are important and reveal a lot about not just personality type, but also about the different ways that people are motivated.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your response.
    So if they are responding to societal pressures, does that mean that they more than likely have a Ti/Fe axis?

  6. Raja Burrows says:

    It’s not a foregone conclusion, but I think it’s likely. For instance, I’m an extroverted type whose dominant and inferior function axis is Te/Fi. I identify STRONGLY with “what do I want and how do I get it?” But I know many who have a Fe/Ti axis who (ideally) would like to concern themselves primarily with “what do I think and how do I communicate it?” but have to, out of necessity, adopt a mindset that looks more like Te/Fi.

    If the idea of “what do I want?” doesn’t deeply resonate with you or feel like a big driving force in your life, I think it’s more likely that you have an Fe/Ti axis. I obviously can’t say for sure, but that’s where I would start if I were you.

  7. Scratch says:


    It has been said that Te and Se are the functions that are most concerned with empirical facts and as such harmonize with each other much more so than say Te and Ne or Se and Fe. Do you agree with this?

    I have noticed that of all the types, the SFPs and NTJs all appear to share the common trait of being strongly focused and self contained. As if all their functions work very well together. When they act it is rarely without the full backing of both their percieving and judging axis. Se and Te appear to be a united front of empirical certainty while Ni and Fi seems to fuse a desirable vision that can be worked towards.

    Conversely I feel that NFPs, STJs, STPs and NFJs often feel conflicted about so many things, going from one perspective to the next. The ESTP who calls things as they see it (Se) but then right afterwords get a guilty consciousness and feel they have to smooth things over (Fe) or the ENFP who right after blurting out some creative idea (Ne) suddenly retracts it since they got that it was unworkable and unrealistic (Te).

    And with the introverted functions, the values of Fi can often strongly contrast with the safe and tested methods of Si and the visions of Ni does rarely hold up to the precise scrutiny of Ti.

    The same harmony and self containment I see in SFPs and NTJs also appear to be present in NTPs and SFJs, although here I am much less confident since their functions are all so alien to me. Si and Ti both seem to mirror each other somewhat. Building a logical framework (Ti) on the skeletal frame of the forms and methods that they’ve always followed (Si) seems like something every NTP and SFJ do. Both of these functions tend to be exact, precise and cautious. And the accomodating nature of Fe tend to mirror the accomodating nature of Ne, both take in perspectives (values and abstract ideas) and neither is overly concerned with any form of empiricism.


  8. Gee says:

    Great stuff from Michael Pierce, as always. I see the difference between Fi/Te and Fe/Ti as the difference between wanting to “show” and wanting to “tell,” respectively, although I am greatly oversimplifying things here in the following ramblings.

    There is a short video on this site about the ISFP — they have dominant Fi. There is a portion of that video that discusses how, for example, an ISFP would rather have their art, whether it’s a painting, a song, etc., speak for itself than explain the art, itself, since the message is in the painting/song and not found in any explanation about it. In other words, they would rather “show” than “tell:” That is the whole point of Fi, and it comes from a place inside themselves that is fiercely compelled to express whatever is inside them, rather than understand what is outside of them. As a result, since they don’t *prefer* to understand what is outside them (or even inside them) as much as they prefer to *express* what is inside themselves untainted by analysis, then they would be likely — as the video explains — to be nonplussed when asked, “what did you have in mind when you painted/wrote this?” I think it doesn’t occur to Fi as often that others want to understand the “why” behind Fi’s message, rather than the message itself, thus why Fi might get a little bamboozled by requests to explain their expressions. In other words, Fi’s “telling” is in its “showing.”

    I’m not as comfortable with understanding Te as a dominant or auxiliary function, but based on the examples of quotes from the ISTJ and INTJ celebrities here on this site and the reading I’ve done, in my mind they would also be more likely to “show” than “tell” something than an Fe/Ti type, but favoring Te over Fi, they don’t want to so much express as much as they want to *prove* how they came up with whatever product has been the result of their work. In fact, they are quite good at proving their work: Kind of like Jung (INFJ) remarked of Freud (ISTJ) something along the lines of, “I came to Freud for *facts*.”

    Of course, Fe/Ti likes subjective expressions (Fi) and objective facts (Te), too, but I would say is less concerned with “showing” (Fi) or proving (Te) something to others. Rather, I’d say these types are more concerned with “telling” — that is, communicating (Fe) their analysis of the world outside themselves through the lens of their objectively-sourced values, as they have come to understand the world from their own meticulously honed subjective logic (Ti). A funny thing can then happen when Fe wishes to persuade Te: Te can use the facts against Fe that Fe’s Ti chose to omit or miss, and thus shut down Fe/Ti’s aim to communicate! (This has happened to me.) But anyway, whether or not Fe/Ti types wish to either persuade or win over, or pursue their own understanding for their own benefit, depends on where the Fe and Ti fall on their functional hierarchy.

    We all can relate to all of this, though, because we all use all 8 cognitive functions in our lives. But, to flip around what has already been said here, if you’re unsure of your type, I’d ask yourself which question is *harder* for you to answer:
    1) What do you want? or
    2) What do you think?

    Number 1 is harder for me, therefore I’m more likely to be Fe/Ti, according to this column. (And I agree with that assertion.)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Question 1 is harder for me to answer also. However, it has also been said of me that I am quick to judge. I strongly disagree with this, but perhaps I am not being honest with myself. I’m not exactly a very organized or disciplined person, except with my own values.
    How can one tell which judging function is stronger in them?
    P.S. please do not suggest a MBTI test to me. I do not trust them, or rather I do not believe that I can be honest while taking the tests since I know exactly how they work that I find myself manipulating the answers to score as a type that I want to be.

  10. Gee says:

    Anonymous, yeah, tests haven’t been helpful to me, either. I think this column’s author, Michael Pierce’s, youtube channel is really illuminating, along with the comments people post there.

    As far as being called quick to judge: Eh, people like to throw the word “judge” around a lot, but I guess you could ask yourself — when you listen to someone else’s opinion, do you instinctively hold it up to scrutiny based on the empirical facts of the topic at hand (Te), or do you deem someone’s values as misguided based on what is known about collectively shared human values, such as dignity, equality, etc (Fe)? Please note I’m being really general, and I don’t necessarily mean being confrontational with the person you may disagree with. You could disagree silently to yourself or you could also tell a confidante about how you feel. I believe there are many different ways to extravert a judging function that don’t involve directly confronting someone or some group, if that makes sense.

    Some might argue that disagreeing silently to oneself is more indicative of Fi, but I think this is wrong. To be more accurate, I think Fi is *ultimately* less interested in considering whether it agrees with someone else or something else, but is in fact more likely to concern itself with making sure its internal values match its outward expression. I think Fe has a hard time grasping the preceding, even in theory. “How can one not have an opinion about someone else’s behavior, motive, etc., even if this opinion is not shared with the person in question?” is what I think Fe would ask if it could.

  11. Inquisitive says:

    Using a name now :)
    Well that makes it sound like I have strong Fi, since I prefer not to be fake in any way. But if I did, wouldn’t I be more conscious of my emotional state overall? Seems like more often than not I have no idea what’s going on with me.
    When I listen to someone else’s opinion and it disagrees with my own, I usually just smile while thinking to myself “interesting to hear your opinion but it doesn’t change my own” and that has been pretty much the only “benchmark” if you will that I compare anybody else’s opinion to, is my own.

  12. tobias087 says:

    Is there a citation for the Foucault? I’d like to look into that.

  13. tobias087 says:

    I feel compelled to point out on articles like these that I have yet to see a convincing explanation (either theoretical, empirical, or otherwise) for why I should believe that ‘function-axes’ are a real thing, and that functions always come in those pairs like that.

    I don’t deny that some functions have certain things in common with other ones, and that this commonality might make those functions better bedmates if those particular issues are of great importance to a personality. (For instance, Fe and Ti do have that attitude of appealing to a standard which exists outside an individual, potentially universally true, and therefore if that issue was important to a person, those functions would be the logical choices.)

    However, nobody has yet offered me an explanation for why certain other combinations should be excluded, other than by saying “because that’s just how our theory works.”

    It seems like function-axes form the basis for this website, as well as Michael Pierce’s work, and so one would think this would be a straightforward, or at least frequently-asked, question. But every time somebody tries to answer, it seems to come out pretty hazy. I remain unconvinced (but open-minded).

  14. admin says:

    tobias087: See Foucault’s interview, “The Return of Morality,” for example. In general, there is a fusing of the principle of Nietzschean self-interest, with an abstracted/structural Fe/Ti approach to the different epistemes of his making.

    I think we’ve been over the question of conviction/justification for function axes before. I don’t personally think it’s possible to come up with a rationale that would please everyone, or Aristotle would not have gotten away with lambasting Heraclitus as he did. With regard to Jungian typology, there is a historical, theoretical, and ideational continuity from Jung to now concerning function axes, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of someone deviating and creating their own take, as I believe we’ve discussed before. /Ryan

  15. hannah_s says:


    I think the best “evidence” is to take a practical approach and actually type a lot of people. If you can find plenty of real people who don’t follow the function-axes model, and can explain why the model doesn’t work for them, then you’d undermine the whole theoretical approach taken by myself and the admins of this site, and give us all a headache! :)

    If you could do that, I think it would make a brilliant article. :)

    I’m pretty confident you won’t find any though, because people actually do seem to fall squarely into two of these four patterns (for whatever reason). :)

  16. Gee says:

    Inquisitive, you have great questions that I wish I had answers for.

    You might want to check out Pierce’s video “Rational Functions: an update: Fe vs Fi” on youtube. It explains the differences between Fe and Fi pretty well. The one thing I would add to it is that although Fe tends to promote relational harmony, this does not mean that Fe always, as a rule, agrees with someone, or will even compromise with someone they disagree with. In fact, because Fe is so objective, when Fe is disagreeing with someone, or a group, it is most likely disagreeing for the sake of preserving an objective value that is larger than the person or group the Fe type is disagreeing with! For example, if I, as someone with Fe, refuse to dupe a client into investing in an account I know will make them lose money to my employer, then the fact that I’m dissenting with my boss and/or colleagues is not what’s important for the sake of understanding Fe. What is important to note is that my Fe is disagreeing with the betrayal of a universal value: which is, people should not steal or cheat others out of something that is rightfully theirs. Sure, as an Fe type, I may be more predisposed to not want to make waves, but that doesn’t necessarily have the effect of making me want to betray these values as a means to that end (of getting along with others.)

    But where do my values come from, as someone with Fe, versus where do they come from for someone with Fi? I find that pretty hard to explain. I think Pierce explains it pretty well, but I also think this stuff takes time to sink in. At least, it did for me, and I’m still learning :-)

  17. Inquisitive says:

    Gee, thank you very much for you response.
    Everything you said I agree with and relate with. Fe gets its values from what society in general considers right and wrong, whereas Fi gets its values from what they themselves considers right and wrong.
    I agree that the material covered in Pierce’s videos takes a lot of time to fully understand. Many things in life can never be fully understood. Life itself is a process of constantly learning and expanding one’s knowledge.

  18. peter says:

    After reading this believe I’m entp, i just don’t understand why entp associated with intellectual, I’m not.

    I don’t like to discuss among other stereotypes, but my way of absover information is Ne / Si based on this text… what I do or don’t do, is not consistent with descriptions of my type in general.

  19. Inquisitive says:

    That’s because the descriptions of the types are very general and non-specific. They should not be taken too seriously or literally. Everybody is different and regardless of type, cannot be defined by something as simple and extreme as type descriptions.
    It would be like saying that all men are tall. Naturally, when a person encounters a man that is not tall and has believed this fallacy to be true, they would initially question and doubt that the person is a man at all.
    My point is that people are all too complicated to be reduced to a simple formula of type descriptions. Although some people will fit some of the attributed stereotypes of their type because that’s a part of who they are. Some people, though, will not fit the stereotypes, and it is much harder to type those people that do not identify with any type description more than another.
    For example, I am now convinced that I am also an ENTP. Although my lifestlye is more closely related to an INTP or an ISTP. My behavior around other people seems more INTJ or ENTJ. My goals in life are more similar to an ISFJ or an ESFJ. How I learn from my mistakes could be more similar to an ESTP or an ESFP. MBTI is only a skeleton. We each fill in the organs for ourselves with what is individual about us.
    Hopefully, this makes sense and you understand.

  20. Gee says:

    Inquisitive, I’m glad to know that it helped in some way. I should mention: I really don’t even know my own type, but I’m pretty positive at this point that I’m Fe/Ti, so I feel comfortable discussing Fe, anyway.

  21. Inquisitive says:

    I’m glad we had this conversation. It was very informative and it’s a great way to learn. I think the best way to learn is to discuss information with others.
    Hopefully you will figure out your type in due time. You’re not the only one that has struggled to determine what your type is. I have been interested in MBTI since 2013, and I very recently reached a conclusion about my own type.
    Naturally, though, I am prone to questioning this from time to time. I question everything. I can’t help myself. It gives me such a rush.

  22. Raja Burrows says:

    So, I skimmed this thread, but as a Michael Pierce fanboy, I want to add one more thing:

    A huge part of Pierce’s work is how he groups types by function axes. There is an implied fluidity between ENTJ, INTJ, ESFP, and ISFP for instance. Therefore, things like “goals” cannot be ascribed to one type more than another. An ENTJ could very easily want to run a local animal shelter (or another job typically associated with ISFP) just as it could be the goal of an ISFP to want to be the CEO of a multinational corporation. Pierce does a great job in his videos of blurring the lines between these seemingly different types, and I encourage you to check them out if you find yourself having a solid grasp on function axes but unsure how they manifest in you.

  23. peter says:

    I returned ago, or am I istp or estp, no entp.

  24. tobias087 says:


    It is my opinion, and general approach to life, that a person always ought to start out with the fewest number of assumptions, and work outwards carefully from there, in a rigorous way, to determine systematically how things work. This is why I find the function axis theory distasteful, and why I feel its advocates often seem to have the burden of proof backwards.

    However, in response to the comments above, I’ll say this: historical and ideational continuity is not particularly good justification for an idea. Flat-earth, geocentrism, newtonian mechanics and creationism all had historical and ideational continuity, but that did not stop them from being overturned.

    Secondly, the data from typing people is not nearly as indicative as you might think. Particularly, very few typings (either short or long articles) go into detail about the attitude of the tertiary function. A majority of typings are dedicated to showing the top 2 functions. Some also will try to type by the inferior function (and I think I’ve written before why I agree that the inferior function will probably be the opposite of the dominant function), but very few spend a lot of time on the tertiary function.

    In my experience of talking to everyday people in the typology community about themselves, most people are reasonably sure about the top 2 functions, and can also see how the inferior is a problem for them. But people seem to be a lot less sure about the tertiary, and I’ve seen a lot of people say things like “I’m pretty sure about Ni and Te, but a lot less sure about Fi/Fe.” (My own personal experience is that, despite being pretty sure of my typing as an ENFP, I see a strong role of both Te and Ti in my life). So, I’m not sure that the data that exists already really supports function axes as much as you might think.

    And again, I’m not making the claim that function axes never happen. I’m just saying that I’m not convinced that they *always* happen. It seems to me that the more reasonable position, and the position held by Myers as noted in “Function Models for Skeptics, Part 1” (, is that the tertiary function might go either way. (Or heck, maybe both ways.)

    At the very least, I have yet to be convinced that it ought to go one way more often than the other.

  25. tobias087 says:

    In particular, and I’ve said this before, if you want to get better data on this question, here’s what CelebrityTypes should do:

    Write 4 tests, one for each function, to figure out if a person uses the introverted or extroverted function. For instance, an Ne vs. Ni test. Write all 4 of them, then package them all together so a person takes them all at once, then see if that lends evidence for or against the standard model.

    (Although, even if it were empirically verified, I still think there are open and deep questions as to why such a thing should be true.)

  26. Gee says:

    Ooooh! I like tobias087’s idea about the 4 tests. You guys should do that! :-)

  27. hannah_s says:


    My problem with your testing idea is that these kinds of tests depend heavily on self-assessment, yet typing yourself is probably the most difficult thing in typology — even experts, like Jung, mistype themselves. :) It is much easier to be objective and empirical when typing other people.

  28. hannah_s says:

    Personally, I think there are serious problems with the terminology used in typology — it isn’t very scientific at all, and gives the wrong impression a lot of the time. So questions of the “dominant” function or “tertiary” function really make no sense to me. These terms don’t reflect my understanding of how these things work in the real world at all.

    However, the “function axes” themselves are pretty obvious to me. If you go on YouTube and type people you will see them. It isn’t even very subtle most of the time.

  29. Michael Pierce says:

    @Raja Burrows @Anonymous

    I second Burrows: he’s answered the same way that I would have answered. In my experience with individuals who believe they experience both, I have invariably found that they do actually lean one way quite strongly, and their confusion is more a result of them not truly understanding the dichotomy represented here, as Burrows says, because of societal pressures; and I would add to that, because of semantic ambiguity resulting from those pressures (i.e. I might strive to accomplish things because of my job — so I want to perceive myself as wanting/accomplishing, even though that’s not what I’m really doing). You’ll notice, of course, that Burrows’ preference of societal pressures as the more important factor vs. my own preference for internal semantic confusions as more important, itself reflects our different biases for Te/Fi and Fe/Ti respectively.


    I have heard that to, and it does line up with the way Jung listed the functions on several occasions: sensation, thinking, feeling, and intuition, in order of their immediate pertinence to concrete reality (it is, what it is, whether its desirable, and what it could be/where it’s going).

    As for the effect this would have on the types, I think those are very interesting thoughts and observations, but at this point I couldn’t give you any more supporting evidence or justification than you’ve given so far. It is definitely of interest to me that in the “Heavy Mole Diagram” as I call it, SFP/NTJ are pure affirmation (++) while NTP/SFJ are pure negation (–), while the other two categories are more contradictory. If you haven’t already seen it, you might find the ideas in that video of mine to be very interesting.

    @Gee @Anonymous

    I second Gee’s answers to your questions. :)

  30. Michael Pierce says:


    In answer to your concerns about function axes: my ideas and work with the function axes has always been to better understand the fundamental assumptions that different people take for granted without realizing it, and which lead to the very kind of conflicts that we see right here.

    As you read about function axes, you seem to be confused as to how I (and others) are so willingly supportive of function axes without having the particular kind of empirical and rational foundation you mentioned. Meanwhile, I am equally confused about why this particular kind of foundation would be necessary. The reason being, I think, because I am approaching these ideas as lenses by which one can view the world and gain certain insights: that is, certain logical principles by which I structure information from the outside in a very Kantian fashion (Ti); but if I am correct, your “general approach to life” as you put it, is the opposite of this: you see such logical principles as existing independently of yourself in the objects of your experience (Te), which is why whenever someone comes up with a theory without showing you how it clearly manifests as an attribute defining actual objects, you are uncomfortable and skeptical: which is why you “feel its advocates often seem to have the burden of proof backwards.”

    For instance, you are concerned that “a person always ought to start out with the fewest number of assumptions, and work outwards carefully from there…” when in my mind, this is precisely what I am doing. I start with a principle or assumption about the world (i.e. that human psychology seems to be governed by two dispositions, E & I) and then work my way up deductively from there, and see whether each step reveals insights in my interpretation of reality. I am assuming, however, that you want each step to rely as much as possible upon laws and principles observed directly in objects themselves, but I don’t see laws and principles as existing in objects at all, but being the way the subject organizes the world around him.

    In short, the reason you find the burden of proof to be backwards is because you seem to prefer Te – which as Jung said, “…for the extraverted judgment, the valid and determining criterion is the standard taken from objective conditions…It seems constantly to be affected by objective data, drawing only those conclusions which substantially agree with these.” (Jung: Psychological Types, Section 1. Thinking).

    For whatever its worth, I agree with your self-typing as ENFP, because in my experience, ENFPs tend to be very interested in developing and ‘exercising’ (for lack of a better word) their tertiary Te, and can come to strongly emphasize the need for Te foundation in objectively based laws, just as INFJs tend to be very interested or passionate about their tertiary Ti and emphasizing the need for a logical, unifying foundation to make sense of empirical data.

  31. hannah_s says:

    In my opinion, a better way to seriously “test” the function axes theory would be to get a number of typology experts (or people very knowledgeable about the topic if that isn’t possible) and have them all type the same five people in depth, focusing only on determining their function axes, if that is possible. Then these experts write about their reasons and arguments in favor of one axis over the other, and possible good arguments against their own view based on their observations.

    Then once all the experts have given their respective opinions, they will be evaluated by all the others, and will answer questions the others have about their views.

    Of course, nothing conclusive is guaranteed to come from this kind of back and forth discussion. However, I’ve never seen this kind of informed discussion in typology, so it’s certainly a start. :)

  32. hannah_s says:


    Reading back my previous posts I realise it is a little vague what I meant by test-takers’ untrustworthy self-assessments, so I think I’ll write a little more on that…

    Your idea appears to be a pretty quantitative argument — if people use x function more, they will identify with it more and so will score it higher in their function test results, and if most people’s top two judging/perceiving functions turn out to follow the SiNe/TiFe/SeNi etc pattern then it would be great evidence of function axes.

    But I think this fails to take into account the qualities given to a person’s different kinds of psychic connection with functions depending on their different positions in the stack. In fact, what you’re arguing is almost the exact OPPOSITE of what I’d expect the results from your test would suggest — if your quantity-based results turned out how you think, I’d say it would be good evidence AGAINST the psychodynamic axes view. :)

    This is because the higher a function is in the stack, the more influence a function has on a person’s consciousness — put another way, we could say that the higher a function is in the stack, the more we see ourselves in that function. So we are actually very alienated from our inferior function, and the natural tendency is to view it as “That which I definitely am not” rather than “That is a part of who I am too”.

    For this reason I’d expect Ti dominants to relate more to Fi than Fe (ITPs also tend to have very idiosyncratic values and share the powerful imaginations of the IFPs), Ne dominants to relate more to Se than Si (both ENPs and ESPs are very exploratory and inventive, and dislike the routine approach of Si), Te types to relate more to Fe than Ti (they share Fe’s wish to find objective consensus viewpoints and achieve things in the world in a planned, organised fashion) etc.

    I think it’s more likely that the “auxiliary”/”tertiary” axis would be more often correctly identified than the “dominant”/”inferior” one due to the relative strength of a person’s sense of relationship to both ends of that axis. But we appear to disagree on that. :)

  33. tobias087 says:

    Hi everybody, thanks for the responses! I sure love a lively debate :) Working my way upward…

    @Hannah: I will point out that I am NOT suggesting that quantity is more important or interesting than quality in regards to function use.

    I can see how ITPs can relate to IFPs and so on, however, I think that would be because, both having dominant introverted judging functions, they end up with a similar character of personality. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that a Ti user will relate better to the Fi function in their life. As a for instance using your other example, I (an ENFP) have a lot in common with my good ESFP friend, exactly the things you wrote above. However, I don’t relate much to the Se function: I recognize how my mental processes are often subtly impacted by Si impressions, even if they are often something I try to avoid being bogged down in, it being inferior and all.

    So if the question is, which kinds of people do I have more in common with, it’s definitely the Se-types rather than the Si-types. But if the question is which mental process plays a bigger role in my own personality (quantitatively and qualitatively), that would definitely be Si rather than Se. To put it into snappy quotes, Si is “that which I fight against being” while Se is “doesn’t really resonate one way or the other.”

    (Also, I strongly dispute that typing of someone else is going to be more empirical than typing yourself. Nobody is obviously a type, and the problem with typing other people is that you don’t have access to their innermost mental workings. I’m not even very sure what type my own girlfriend is, much less somebody I barely know!

    (But, I’m not really advocating a data-based approach to typology, and I don’t see that as being very fruitful. Typology is nearly pure theory, and exists in the world of nearly pure reason, (and that’s mostly why I enjoy discussing it so much!) so I think any satisfying answer is going to come from that world.))

  34. tobias087 says:

    @Michael, thanks for the reply!! I always enjoy chatting with you.

    I think you have somewhat misinterpreted my qualms with the theory, and I will try to clarify that here.

    First of all, although I do see a role for Te in my life, I would disagree that I am seeking “logical principles as existing independently of [myself] in the objects of [my] experience.” In particularly, I very much view typology as existing only in the mind of the scholar, as a way to mentally organize a world which is too messy to ever be described accurately, as it really is. In that sense, there certainly could be variations or alternatives of the theory, held equally validly by different people, which all nevertheless describe the same world. (As a specific example, see my article on OJJT about the local vs. global formulations of typology).

    However, there comes a point where every theory goes from merely interpreting the world, to using those interpretations to make predictions, and it is at that point that we can evaluate some interpretations to be ‘better’ than others.

    My problem with function axes is not that it doesn’t “rely as much as possible upon laws and principles observed directly in objects themselves.” My problem is actually that I don’t see it as having any deductive backbone, despite you saying that you want to “start with a principle or assumption about the world…and work my way up deductively from there.” I too want to do that, but I have always found this to be the weak link in the deductive chain upwards.

    Saying that function axes exist is inherently making a prediction. If you say that Te always pairs with Fi, then you are in effect saying that if somebody comes to you telling you about how they use Fi, you can predict that they also use Te. Or that if somebody says something indicative of Ni, then you should therefore expect them to probably say something indicative of Se, and not Si.

    This is the part I find to be the logical stretch. You are free to define a thing in any way you like, but to conclude that two non-identical things are correlated can never be done by definition alone. That will always take independent reasoning (deductive or inductive).

    This isn’t a perfect analogy, but…when Einstein invented relativity, he defined “a constant speed of light” and defined “time dilation,” and then claimed that a “constant speed of light” implies “time dilation.” But he showed that with a rigorous deductive mathematical proof. If he had not done so, people would have said “you’re full of crap,” or maybe more politely, “we’re skeptical of that claim, please prove it to us.” (Whether or not either of those things exist in the real world would be a whole other question entirely)

    That’s how I feel constantly in this debate. Somebody has defined Ti, and defined Fe, and then claimed that Ti implies Fe. But I have yet to see the deductive proof, therefore I am inclined to say “you’re full of crap” (not you personally!).

    As I said, I would prefer to start with the bare minimum number of assumptions and definitions. If you start with the definitions of the 4 functions and 2 attitudes, and with a very very small number of just sort of simple assumptions about the human psyche (such as, “we tend to like things we’re good at”), then you can pretty much work your way deductively towards everything in typology, and I think that’s freakin’ great. But I don’t see how you can get function axes out of that. And I find that a claim such as “if you tell me you use Fi, I can predict that you also use Te, not Ti,” is too limiting and specific to be permitted to be an unjustified assumption. It would be as if Einstein had just assumed that a constant speed of light causes time dilation.

    Did that clear it up?

  35. hannah_s says:


    1. You’re already very aware of typology and the theory involved, so you likely have a level of self-awareness most people unacquainted with the subject don’t have — you can see Si in yourself, while an ENP newcomer probably won’t.

    2. Human beings are extremely complex, and they get more and more complex the more often you look at them. Typology is a very simple theory designed to explain a very small part of this complex human psyche (Extroversion and Introversion for Jung, dichotomies and/or functions for modern typologists). So it’s perfectly possible to know “too much” about a person to the point you try to make their whole person correspond with one of these types, rather than just focusing on the relevant information. Typing yourself or a close family member or friend is going to be very tough — watching a few hours of interviews of a person you don’t know much about going in on YouTube is going to give you a much better idea of practical typology I think. I can understand how that might seem like an odd thing to say, and I’m sure the admins will disagree, but I really think that’s true.

    3. If I thought typology was pure theory with no relation to or application in the real world I think I would have given up on it a long time ago. :)

    4. I’m not sure why you think function axes have no deductive backbone… The whole theory is built on deduction. And I think it’s making far fewer “assumptions” to assume the existence of four two-sided coins (function axes) which can be organised, once flipped, in four basic ways (type), than to assume the existence of eight one-sided coins that can be organised in 48 basic ways (which is what you appear to be suggesting with your views on the tertiary function).

    The definitions of the functions are far from perfect, I agree, and of course there is no “deductive proof” as yet because of this. But it’s pretty easy to read between the lines and see the mutual dependability of these functions — they really are two sides of the same coins, and I don’t understand how anyone could make sense of any of the functions “in themselves” without comparing them to the opposite.

    It’s the symmetry that’s intriguing. We need to work to write more symmetrical function definitions, and from that the “deductive proofs” you’d like to see will appear quite naturally. :)


    Anyway, I doubt we’re going to agree on any of this, so I’ll end this discussion here. :)

  36. tobias087 says:

    I hate when discussions end, so I’m going to reply to you anyway :). Plus, I’m not sure why you don’t think we’re going to agree on any of it, because I think I actually agree with you on most of it.

    I definitely agree with you on number 1, and that is the challenge of writing such a test. However, I’ve seen some really incredibly concise and specific questions on CelebrityTypes tests, so I think if anybody can do it, they can.

    I agree with you on 2 as well: it does appear to be easier to type someone on youtube whom you don’t know much about than it is to type someone you spend a lot of time with. And I think this is the problem: we’re too quick to latch onto a statement we see as confirming our preconceived guess. So, in the 10 minutes you watch somebody talk on youtube, they may say something that sounds very Ne, perhaps. But maybe if you had kept listening to them for the rest of the day and the week, they would have said 4 things that sound more like Ni.

    3. Me as well. I’m not saying it doesn’t have bearing in the real world, and that’s why I used the word “nearly” :). All I mean is that it’s a deductive system, rather than an empirical one. And what’s so cool about that is, it almost certainly applies to all thinking entities, not just humans…spooooooky…;P

    I’ll save point 4 for its own post…

  37. tobias087 says:

    4. I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head, very very hard here!!!!!!!! My problem is that the 8 functions have very clear definitions. You can explain each of them separately, in 1 sentence each. But as best I can tell, this is not so for the function axes! I have never seen a definition for, say, the Fe/Ti axis written out in words. The only way I can even think of to come close would be something like “it’s the union of [Fe] and [Ti].”

    It’s easy to point to the existence or non-existence of a single entity in the real world. If we want to point to the existence of Ti, we just wait until we see it, then we say, “hey, there it was!” And thus, the claim that a person uses Ti is not a prediction, it’s an observation. (The prediction might come when we extrapolate how this Ti-use affects their overall personality).

    But it’s significantly harder to point to the existence or non-existence of a union of two entities in the real world. For one thing, the union of two entities could exist in several ways: the two entities could exist in the same person at the same time, which I think is usually the intent of function axes. Or they could exist in the same person at different times. Or one could exist in one person, and the other in another person. All of those could conceivably fit under a definition like “the union of [Fe] and [Ti].” Plus, the claim that a person uses an axis might be an observation, or it might be a prediction: “I saw Fe and I saw Ti, therefore he uses Fe/Ti” would be an observation, but “I saw Fe, and he uses Fe/Ti, therefore he must use Ti” would be a prediction.

    Another problem is that the 8 functions form complete sets of categories, while the 4 function axes do not. What I mean by that is, if “functions” are meant to mean something like “options for interacting with data from the outside world,” then between the 8 of them, this covers all possible options. Therefore, if people “interact with data from the outside world,” then due to the definitions of the functions, they therefore MUST use at least 1, and no more than all 8 functions. (I go into that in a little detail in my OJJT article)

    (This is about to get a pretty crazy and stupid)

    However, if you’re going to define a function axis as above as a union of two functions, then the standard model of the 4 axes do NOT form a complete set. That’s just math: with 8 functions, there are 28 ways to pick “the union of [x] and [y],” obviously way more than 4.

    And any way to pare that number down requires extra assumptions to build into the theory. Perhaps you think that judging functions should go together, and perceiving functions should go together. This is certainly an extra assumption, which may or may not be justified by experience, but it brings the number down to 12 possible axes. Then maybe you think that an axis should have 1 T and 1 F, or 1 N and 1 S. I don’t really see why this assumption would be justified a priori, but it brings the number to 8 axes. Then if you want to make it so that each axis has one E and one I, and I obviously think this is a bad assumption to make, then that finally brings the number down to 4.

    The point of the above paragraph is that if you define the Fe/Ti axis as “Fe and Ti,” then things get very silly very quickly. Just by the simple definitions of the functions, there can only be the 8 of them. But for axes, if you define a function axis as “a union of 2 functions,” then it takes that definition + 3 additional assumptions to get to the standard model.

    If somebody has a better definition, I’m all ears, honestly. But that’s really all I’ve thought of so far. The problem with having 4 two-sided coins is that you still have to say what both sides are, in addition to what the coin is. That means you need more than 4 definitions, you need 4 + 4*2 = 12, which is more than the 8 definitions you need to have 8 one-sided coins.

    And finally, “I don’t understand how anyone could make sense of any of the functions “in themselves” without comparing them to the opposite.”

    First of all, I’m not sure I really agree with you there. But even if I did, that wouldn’t mean they always come together in the same person. You might need the existence of black to completely understand white, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t rooms where everything is white, and there’s no black to be found, or vice versa.


  38. Boye Akinwande says:

    Very lively debate going on :)

    “I have never seen a definition for, say, the Fe/Ti axis written out in words. The only way I can even think of to come close would be something like ‘it’s the union of [Fe] and [Ti].’ “

    Tobias, so you don’t really see Determining Function Axes I or any of the other Determining Function Axes articles as attempts to unite the opposing poles of a function axis or explain their existence? Sameness, Differentness, One-to-many, Many-to-one? I find those principles “mathematically sound” because they appear to be very universal and sufficiently abstract descriptions of the different ways we can relate objects.

  39. hannah_s says:


    That’s interesting, and good to know. I was under the impression you didn’t agree with anything I was saying haha, so it shows we’re on some kind of track to possibly agreeing on more. :)

    I actually share your wish to try to scientifically test aspects of typology so we can eventually come to a conclusion one way or the other about it. But it’s the kind of theory (like Freudian views) that are very difficult to test, because it isn’t very clear what exactly is being tested. :) Thinkers like Dario Nardi take an approach based on physical activity patterns in the brain, trying to see if “Ne” can be seen etc. While I take the view that “functions” are really not “functions” at all, and are more along the lines of unconscious biases towards certain ways of viewing the world and processing information at the expense of others. But I think these things will be so subtle and part of the person, that it’s very unlikely a simple test like Nardi’s would have anything to say about it — almost ANYBODY can brainstorm lots of ideas if they are made to, it’s more a question of imagination than anything to do with Ne.

    The functions don’t really “exist” or “function” in any meaningful sense, so testing for them is pretty odd. Instead, they are unconscious lenses that inform one’s worldview, probably throughout life. This kind of thing is much more difficult to test, but I think it could be done.

    Anyway, this isn’t really a response to your last post. I’ll get back to you on that soon. :)

  40. admin says:

    Heraclitus’ very first Fragment is: “This Principle is true evermore, yet men are as unable to understand it when they hear it … for … they make trial of words and deeds such as I set forth, dividing each thing according to its nature and showing how it truly is.”

    This is a major clue to Function Axes theory as well. He is positing a hidden unity between things that appear distinct to common sense. When viewed from the vantage point of common sense (doxa), his teachings seem to run counter to our everyday perceptions (paradoxa). As he also says, this doctrine is not mere learning, or otherwise a sharp mind like Xenophanes or Pythagoras would have voiced it before him (DK B40). Hence, function axes, and the unity of opposites of which they are a facet, cannot really be justified by ordinary reasoning, but only suggested, and then the initiate will have to take it from there. It is, however, quite evident that Jung was thinking of Heraclitus when he conceived of the pattern of dominance and repression between the functions.

  41. hannah_s says:

    Okay, to reply to your response to (4)… :)

    A. I have a big problem with the “Oh I saw him use Ti there… Oh but now he’s just said two Fi things!…” approach to typing. I don’t think that’s the best way to do it at all. But then I’m pretty weird when it comes to typing people haha — I believe at least one of the site admins types people using a method similar to what you’re describing, and it works very well for them. :) I couldn’t do that though. I think it’s very important to look for BOTH sides of an axis at the same time when typing people, which is probably why I end up with typings like “Bill Gates is a TeSiNiFi ESTJ!”. He’s quite clearly an SiNe axis type, in my opinion, so he can’t be ENTJ no matter how many “Ni”-sounding things he might say. Same goes for Margaret Thatcher.

    B. I think your main problem with function axes is that you disagree with what I write in (A): you think functions are actually functional tools we use to solve real world problems, and that each function has its own skill set. Sorry if I’m misunderstanding your view, that’s just how I interpret what you’re saying. :) I don’t think a person is using Ti whenever they solve a complex math problem, or Se whenever they play tennis.

  42. hannah_s says:

    C. I think you need to go back to CG Jung to really see why typology makes the assumptions it does. I’d say there were two main parts to Jung’s idea…

    1. There are four functions (T, F, S, N) and the first two are “rational”/judging functions, meaning something along the lines of “they order psychic contents and arrive at conclusions”, while the second two are “irrational”/perceiving functions, essentially meaning “they bring in information that leads to the formation of new psychic contents”.

    Of the judging functions, T and F both reason in very different ways, ways which can’t even be properly understood by the other function. The same is true for the perceiving functions and the information they bring in.

    Jung also makes the logical, in my opinion, claim that because all four of these functions do VERY different things, a person must use all of them to some degree, but the more a given function dominates the consciousness (F, for example) the more it’s opposite (T in this case) is repressed from consciousness. This seems pretty obvious to me — people can’t focus equally well on two opposing worldviews at the same time.

    So we’re left with four functions:

    Usually, a dominant function (F), an inferior function (T), and two functions in the middle (N, S).

    I don’t see anything in Jung’s writing to really rule out the 2 dominant functions plus 2 inferior functions view though. Either works as far as I’m concerned.

    2. Jung was also very interested in the idea of Extroversion and Introversion (on a psychic rather than behavioural level), and I actually think he viewed I/E as completely separate to the functions. The same dynamics apply — a strong Extrovert strongly represses their Introverted side, a weak Extrovert weakly represses their Introverted side, and a person with no real preference either way represses neither orientation but also doesn’t reap any benefits E and I give.

    I think things get confusing when he MIXED both of these, I/E plus S, N, F, T, together into one system, to give us typology very similar to how we understand it today. :)

    Each of the four functions were given an E/I orientation, and ordered depending on both the strength of the functions and the level of Extroversion/Introversion (as he understood them). I think he wasn’t particularly good at keeping these things separate though, and that’s because the system really doesn’t work so well for E/I.

    And yet, giving the functions their I/E orientations really does seem to work, which is fascinating. :)

    So taking everything together, we can say that a person can be a strong introvert with very strong Fi, which leads to them having inferior/repressed Te. That’s basically the foundation of modern typology.

    Jung kept the 2nd and 3rd functions pretty ambiguous though, which I think was a good move and kept away from the overly simplified Standard Model. But I don’t believe that Jung at any point believed in an IEEE/EIII, IIIE/EIII etc kind of model — my understanding is he was just making an important point about the separate power of E/I in those passages.

    The idea of four functions, 2 I and 2 E, of each of the four basic functions, incorporating function axes is exactly what I believe Jung was getting at, and it shows up time and time again in my own experience.

    Whether the Standard Model (IEIE/EIEI) is the only one is not something I agree with though. I’ve also seen EEII/IIEE so many times I’ve lost count. :)

  43. hannah_s says:

    *Bill Gates is an TeSiNeFi ESTJ, not TeSiNiFi…

    Very confusing typo there, sorry haha! :D

  44. AwesomeEllefant says:

    Now now Dr. Toby, surely you aren’t clueless enough to question the Sacred Axes?!

    OBVIOUSLY the function axes must exist! They are what all the types use to chop each other’s heads off! :D

  45. tobias087 says:

    @Boye: In a word, no. I just re-read Determining Function Axes Part 1. Every section begins with “If a person has ____ axis, he will _____.” And I agree with all of those 100%. However, they don’t exhaust the list of what is conceivable, and therefore I require extra persuasion that they are the only things that are possible. What if a person had 2 judging axes? Or what if a person’s axis was simply not the functions of the standard model, the possibility I keep raising?

    Explaining the choice to limit it by just saying “well, opposites are important” is not especially convincing. (Not least because there are so many ways to draw opposites in typology. Fi and Fe could be called opposites, so why don’t they form an axis? Embracing Fe to some extent means a rejection of Fi, so that sounds like the potential to be an axis…Or, you might say that Te and Se are opposites, since Te is the function most likely to want to change the outside world, while Se is the function most interested in the way the outside world currently is. Similarly for Ti and Si for the inside world.)

    I am trying to be very mathematical, deductive, and rigorous. With that in mind, the right thing to do is to start with all conceivable options, and only limit from there when there is a compelling reason to justify that decrease in the set of what is possible.

    I agree that sameness, differentness, etc. are good ways to abstract information. However, I don’t think they are the only conceivable ways. It’s true, there might be a person who tends to perceive more sameness in the world, and another person tends to perceive more differentness in the world. But what if there were some other person who tended to do both, in different circumstances? Maybe they split their time 50/50? Or maybe, they perceive more sameness in certain topics, such as values, and more differences in other topics, such as mechanical attributes? Or what if there was a person who was just really not interested in the question of sameness vs difference, and it just never really strikes the radar for them? Before I accept that sameness and difference are the fundamental ways of perceiving the world, you’ll have to convince me that those alternative possibilities are impossible.

  46. tobias087 says:

    @admin: “Hence, function axes, and the unity of opposites of which they are a facet, cannot really be justified by ordinary reasoning, but only suggested, and then the initiate will have to take it from there.”

    That sounds much more like the basis for a belief system than the basis for a deductive theory of the world. I certainly can’t argue with your beliefs or your right to hold any belief you choose. However, I do think any irrational beliefs (or maybe ‘un-rational’ would be better) should usually be decided with the utmost care: what could be so fundamental that we require neither reasoning nor evidence to believe it? And how can we be sure that it is so fundamental, and we’re not simply wrong? But alas, I’m trying to have a scientific discussion, not a religious one.

  47. tobias087 says:


    A. “I think it’s very important to look for BOTH sides of an axis at the same time when typing people.” Doesn’t that assume that function axes exist? :P. To be perfectly honest, I’m not that into typing celebrities, and I don’t know the second thing about Bill Gates (although I do know the first thing, which is that he’s very rich!) so I can’t comment there.

    B.Actually, you’re very right here! I do prefer a “process” theory to an “orientation” theory. That’s what my OJJT article is all about ( Although, I will say that I think trying to divide actions into functions is not really that simple. For one thing, math problems and tennis are behavior, while typology is more about internal mental reactions to information. But pretending I didn’t just write that sentence, lots of functions could produce the same behavior. If you are purely focused on reality and not forming opinions or impressions during your tennis match, then maybe it’s Se. Or maybe you’re actively evaluating what the best counter-strategy is given your current circumstances, so then it’s Te. Or maybe you’re actually thinking about your opponent, and what effect the game is having on your relationship so it’s Fe. Functions are mostly defined by where your attention is, and it’s definitely possible to play tennis without paying too much attention to what you’re doing :)

    For the math problem, maybe you approach the problem by referencing your internal mental models of how the system works. Since “referencing internal mental models of how systems work” is basically the definitions of Ti, then yes, I think this would be Ti. However, for some people this action is an important and meaningful part of their personality, and those people are ti-types. For other people, it’s not.

    PS., to help me test my hypothesis presented in the article, do you identify more as Ne or Ni?

  48. tobias087 says:

    C. Based on my reading of Psychological Types, I think you’re characterization if Jung is pretty accurate. However, I don’t agree with Jung on a number of points, which will correspond to parts of your post.

    “Of the judging functions, T and F both reason in very different ways, ways which can’t even be properly understood by the other function…Jung also makes the logical, in my opinion, claim that because all four of these functions do VERY different things, a person must use all of them to some degree”

    Personification of functions is rampant in the typology community, and I too am quite guilty, but I really don’t like it. People are people, functions are not. A functions doesn’t “want” anything, a function doesn’t “understand” anything. Functions are just options that a person has for dealing with information. Saying something like “T can’t understand the way F reasons” doesn’t really make any sense. Sometimes people reason about values (F) and sometimes people reason about mechanics (T), those are just both things that people do. It wouldn’t even make sense to have a person who couldn’t do both (except maybe in a case of very serious brain damage). If a person couldn’t reason about values (F), then what would happen if you asked them about values? Would they say like, “what are you talking about? what are these values you speak of?” Or like, “I have no values”? :D

    “the more a given function dominates the consciousness (F, for example) the more it’s opposite (T in this case) is repressed from consciousness. This seems pretty obvious to me — people can’t focus equally well on two opposing worldviews at the same time.”

    I think this is actually in no way obvious. (I do somewhat agree with the first statement, but for an entirely different reason). Mostly because, who is demanding that you focus on those two things at the same time? Maybe you split your time 50/50. A person can play the flute and the tuba even though they’re basically opposite instruments; you just can’t practice them at the same time, you have to do them at different times. Or like, maybe you are a person like the site admins who believes strongly in the importance of opposites, so you try your darndest to continually entertain opposing worldviews, so as to keep an open mind? :P

    Furthermore, since I am in favor of the “process” rather than “orientation” approach, I would tend to view the worldview as not the definitional act of the function, but rather something that you eventually develop as a consequence of repeated function use. In that case, there’s really nothing stopping you from using opposite functions as much as you want.

    (Although as I said, I do agree with the conclusion, but for a different reason: humans are creatures of habit. We pick activities that we are good at, then do them a lot until we’re very comfortable. In all that time we were getting good at the one thing, we’ve neglected other possibilities, and are therefore bad at those and find them uncomfortable. So, I think a person is likely to be very comfortable with his dominant, and very uncomfortable with the function that has the least overlap in method with his dominant, namely its opposite).

    “I actually think he viewed I/E as completely separate to the functions.”

    I agree with that reading of Jung, but disagree that this is a good description of reality. I think Jung used the word “attitude” to quite literally mean attitude: he believed it was an attitude that people develop, in the same way you’d develop an attitude of optimism, that characterizes their whole mind.

    I’ve always thought this aspect of Jung’s theory was probably a historical artifact: Jung invented the concept of E/I before he started thinking about functions. Therefore he developed E/I as an integral part of the entire human psyche before he applied them to just his functions.

    My problem is, it doesn’t hold up in my experience. Ie., most people don’t really have an overarching attitude of Extroversion. They simply do not care. A person is much much more likely to have an attitude of optimism than an attitude of extroversion. That’s why some people constantly talk about how important it is to stay positive, but you rarely hear anybody talk about how important it is to stay just sort of generally extroverted.

    However, you DO hear people talk about their attitude of functions. If you ask somebody how best to apply logic and reasoning, then describe to them the difference between Te and Ti, from some people you will get a VERY strong opinion about this. From my personal experience, I had a swing dance teacher who was an ISTP. He talked constantly about how important it was that we understood *why* we were doing what we were doing, how all the mechanics worked, what the general underlying principles at work were (Ti). He was strongly against teachers who just say “do this and it’ll work,” a much more Te approach. But he never said anything like “you should just always reference data using your pre-existing mental contents,” (introversion) because he didn’t care about that. In fact, having auxiliary Se, he probably would have been against that.

    So, I am inclined to think that Jung just hit on E/I first, but that really it’s in no way separable from the functions.

    But, as I’ve said before, I’m not terribly interested in what Jung thought, except for historical interest. I am interested in what’s true. Typology is a deductive system. It should stand apart from its creators. You should be able to read a textbook about it and have it all make really good sense without having to talk about who discovered what if you don’t want to.

  49. tobias087 says:

    Ooooooooh, I just realized something really cool. Since all functions are either E/I, and all functions are either judging or perceiving, you could probably reformulate typology in a way corresponding to the way Jung has E/I separate from the functions, but instead you integrate E/I and keep J/P separate. Maybe I’ll work on that…

  50. tobias087 says:

    @AwesomeEllefant: if function axes are that sharp, then a function stack is probably a very unsafe place for children!!!

  51. tobias087 says:

    Get it? Function stack? Because it’s a stack of axes?

    Wow, tough room…

  52. tobias087 says:

    Holy crap I wrote a lot tonight!!! I’m going to go to bed now…

  53. hannah_s says:


    That’s interesting. I don’t think we really disagree all that much on a number of things, though it might seem like we do because we express our ideas quite differently. :)

    Just to point out one thing, you basically say that a function can be detected in large part by where the person’s attention naturally goes, and I definitely agree with you on that. In that particular way, my view is much more similar to yours than Ryan’s (who seems very much against the idea that a person’interests and attention has anything to do with functions, which is odd in my opinion…) :)

    I also agree with you that Jung is referenced far too much in these conversations, and that typology has moved on a lot since then. I just brought him up to try to explain where these assumptions in typology come from, because they might seem a little odd without the background info. :)

    Whether Jungian typology is actually correct or not — who can say? I’m happy to go with it because it has lots of interesting ideas and there seems to be something to it, but I can’t say I take it super seriously as scientific truth. :) There are many things about the theory I disagree with — in particular the nature of the “tertiary” function, the nature of the “inferior” function’s positive/negative qualities, the archaic Jungian terminology, social aspects (how types interact with each other), and the demographic statistics (I have no idea how they come about lol).

  54. admin says:

    I only mean their interests, though, and not so much their attention. Like someone is interested in Nietzsche, and that doesn’t really tell you much. But where their attention goes when talking about Nietzsche is often quite revealing. /Ryan

  55. hannah_s says:


    I think your post accusing the admins of being irrational and sticking to their beliefs on the basis of faith alone without backing them up with reason is very unfair. This site is THE best source I’ve ever found for intelligent articles discussing typology, and I think the admins and guest writers here have done more to develop the theory than anybody else out there. And these kinds of topics are notorious for either (a) just being treated as a fun test, like “Which Harry Potter character are you?”, or (b) attracting a crowd of staunch defenders who shout people down as soon as they disagree with their particular perspective on the topic, saying “Prove me wrong! If you can!” :D

    You don’t need to agree with the site admins obviously (I disagree with them often haha), but at least give them the credit they deserve for creating a site like this. :)

  56. hannah_s says:


    Well I agree with you that any type can be interested in anything. :) But I think their attention will lead to a focus on specific kinds of interests, all other things being equal, most of the time.

    Also, different types may have the same interests, but they’ll likely approach them in their own unique ways.

  57. hannah_s says:


    And I definitely agree that, for example, an ENFJ and an ISTP who are interested in Nietzsche (like AnnaSophia Robb and Sasha Grey) will focus on different aspects of his work and see it in different ways. :)

  58. admin says:

    Well, thanks for the nice words, Hannah.
    I think, then, that we mostly agree. I could certainly have said that “different types may have the same interests, but they’ll likely approach them in their own unique ways” myself. But then, it’s probably true that I ascribe less importance to interests as such.

    Yeah, I found the response to my comment about Heraclitus a bit glib. We’ve been over the matter before at Tobias’ behest, and I only ever said that it’s fully possible to go one’s own way with regard to the interlinking of functions. Like Keirsey, who essentially made typology into something trait-related and non-function based. Also, concerning the criticism, assuming that Heraclitus was right doesn’t take anything away from the deductive quality of the theory, it just adds another first principle to the already long list of assumptions made by typology, which is something quite different.

    The point about Heraclitus is really that there are mental faculties that are by definition not amenable to ordinary scientific thought. Popper goes into this in ‘The World of Parmenides,’ where he reviews the thoughts of Newton and Einstein, among others, on the relation between how they _really_ think things are, and what can be expressed in a format that is accessible/defensible to everyone. William James also has some good observations on this matter. A lot of Heraclitus’ own writings are about frustration that most people will never get what he is trying to call attention to. That something, incidentally, is not a belief system, but a mode of mental conception that is itself belief-neutral, but from which it is very easy to conclude that there is a unity of opposites.

    Finally, I think I’m actually short-selling the function axes by attempting to explain the Heraclitean conception in earnest: As many others have pointed out, a strong case can be made in completely mundane terms for certain functions being more interlinked while other functions seem to crowd each other out more, when going by their definitions. And the interlinked functions are the ones that we’ve posited to constitute the axes. The problem arises when one claims that there are no exceptions to this rule, but that is really a premise of almost everything else in typology as well (“How do you know there isn’t a fifth function?”; “How do you know there isn’t a perfect ambivert?” etc.) /Ryan

  59. tobias087 says:

    I would certainly like to give credit where credit is due. I think this site generally does a fantastic job with their articles, tests, and community engagement. The points on the fringes about which I disagree with their theory certainly don’t cancel that out, and I don’t hold any ill will or anything like that.

    Respectfully, I did not think my words to the admin were meant to be glib, or even negative at all. I meant it quite neutrally. I haven’t yet been convinced that unity of opposites is something other than an extra first principle, and therefore from my point of view, it does seem a lot more like a belief system. In fact, if anything, this entire discussion has been me repeatedly asking why I should accept unity of opposites as a first principle :) The other first principles in typology make a lot more sense to me than this one.

    I would love to see the more mundane explanation. I’m guessing that the reason I don’t subscribe to Heraclitus has something to do with my type, and that therefore I will *probably* never accept it on its own (in the same way that I gave up trying to convince people about “processes” over “orientations” when I realized that that preference is probably connected to type).

    “The problem arises when one claims that there are no exceptions to this rule”

    I don’t really see the landscape as one where function axes rule predominantly and I’m asking about a small outlier of cases. I feel that I’m challenging that function axes rule at all, and suggesting that maybe it’s the case that a large number of people have their tertiary “backwards.”

    So that’s not quite the same thing as your other two questions. Although, I will point out, that it is possible to define the 4 functions in a hierarchical way such that there could not possibly be a 5th one. And that it’s pretty safe to rule out a “perfect ambivert” due to simple facts about human nature, particularly that we are creatures of habit, and quickly and nearly irreversibly develop habits for dealing with unfamiliar situations. Plus, the functions influence our worldview on a lot of questions, so a person with no preferences would be unable to “pick a side” on a lot of questions. I suppose anything is possible, but that seems extremely unlikely to me, and I’ve never met anybody even remotely like that.

  60. tobias087 says:

    Hannah: I agree with pretty much everything you wrote, except one: I do think of this as scientific truth. It’s not particularly empirical, since everything is so hard to measure, but I am thinking of it all very much like somebody would imagine constructing calculus or some other mathematical system from first principles. And I think the “process” approach lends itself *somewhat* more than the “orientation” approach, although I do think that both of those are equally valid ways to go.

    By demographic statistics, do you mean which percentage of the population is which type? I do have a few hypothesis about that, but I wouldn’t claim to know the reason for sure either.

  61. Inquisitive says:

    Hello, everybody.
    Much has been written since my last comment, too much for me to read, no offense.
    Anyway, the more I learn, the more I realize that I am probably an ISTP or ESTP myself. Sorry for inadvertently and accidentally misleading you before with ENTP. Turns out just because you think a lot does not mean you are an Intuitive.

  62. Gee says:

    Inquisitive, I think I’ve mistyped myself on this site at least three times!

  63. Inquisitive says:

    I have lost count of how many times I have mistyped myself, and been mistyped by others.

  64. ptypes says:

    Some good discussions here. First of all, I’ve raised many of Tobias’ points myself in various ways — in fact, going even one step farther, why assume just the tertiary’s attitude is an issue, when technically the idea that Ni and Te go together in ego-consciousness is itself not Jung’s position, and not something that I see follow directly from any principles he adopted (he’d allow NiTi)?

    I think Hannah brings up the salient point, which is that there’s a big difference between what the ego most identifies with (which is what we’d purport to say we “use” most in functions tests and so on — as the ego is the root of our sense of motive and so on) vs suggesting something like a Ti type has Fe. The sense in which that statement is true can’t be that a Ti type should identify more with Fe — Fe is associated to the unconscious of the Ti type, not to their ego.

    This brings up another important point, which is that if you list what function-attitudes look like as seen by the ego of someone of that type, you cannot expect someone with an inferior version of it to recognize it. For instance, just by virtue of Fe being governed by outer factors, we cannot say a Ti type will identify with it — their ego is introverted.

    So it very well may be that how someone’s ego actually identifies with “using” the function-attitudes out there follows no distinguishable pattern, which is what most empirical measurements seem to converge on.

    So on a practical level, I really agree with the 50/50 objection and so on, and I also think even the “people do what they’re good at” argument breaks down very quickly as anything more than a rough rule of thumb.

    On the other hand, the question really is, given a Ti dominant will attempt to conform their major ego-synchronous worldview to the principle of Ti, Fe is the only rational functioning which operates very far outside the Ti attitude, far enough not to be subsumed into its principle in a sufficiently marked way.
    So, one may surmise it to have a relatively “independent” position in the psyche, and some may then phrase that as “A Ti type has Fe” — and choose to argue that to the extent they consider the significance of Fi or Te in that psyche, it becomes more relative to the significance of the Ti/Fe dynamics.

    I think this is really similar to what Jung was going for, except the idea of Fe being sufficiently independent as to acquire a position of its own right was phrased by him as saying a Ti type has unconscious Fe.

    Now, you (Tobias) raise this issue about hey, sure for some these “Ti-Fe” issues–like maybe the one they say about Kant wanting everyone to be able to access philosophical insight– are important, for others maybe not — absolutely, and I’d say the more one turns functions-axes into having descriptions you identify with, the more one misses the point, since eg a Ti type really isn’t supposed to “identify” with Ti-Fe…their Fe is supposed to be unconscious in Jung, for instance, ie the part they really can’t fit into their psyches.

    Still, the point is that in formulating their ego worldview, generally they had to do so in a way as to handle the so-called dual perspective through the prism of their own one, and that tension is what’s most relevant to modeling the ego, even if it’s far from true that a Ni type would “identify” with Se necessarily, or a Ti type “identify” with Fe.

    Last, but not least, I am very prone to trying to construct the most natural account of a perspective without necessarily believing in it wholly, so I’d not consider any of this wholly the view I’m conforming to — but here’s what I think is the significance of “axes.”

  65. admin says:

    Just a few things, since I’ve already argued my opinion elsewhere.
    – The EEII/IIEE model can be axial too, only the EIII/IEEE model cannot.
    – In Jung and Freud, there is such a thing as the return of the repressed. Even though something is unconscious it can still influence the ego. When a person is described as not recognizing a certain unconscious influence, that in the main refers to the person’s state prior to the work of psychoanalysis (or analytical psychology). Therefore it is quite possible that a person who studies typology might recognize their inferior function as a structure in his cognition even though, strictly speaking, it is unconscious.

  66. ptypes says:

    Sure, that is reasonable; one can certainly realize the tension/complementary nature of the dominant-inferior with work.

    More or less, my comment was attempting to argue why this site’s appeal to axes can be natural. I certainly don’t think (and don’t think the admins think) the naive answer to that is any good, ie that somehow magically people only use 4 function-attitudes and ignore the other 4, so I was offering what seemed to be the most natural explanation to me.

    I also think to some extent, there never was quite a IIEE/EEII model, as it really was for Jung more of a I/E and E/I model as far as I can tell. Your ego is oriented one way or another.
    Since none but the first function is in any kind of direct correspondence with the ego motives, and the others function as compensation/complement, one might certainly then argue (as this site does) that they don’t fall into a EE/II or II/EE pattern, at least as is most relevant to modeling the psyche.

    On the other hand, if we simply appeal to the principle that in rote practice, the ego is never pure, and is itself probably identified with multiple function-attitudes, we get the flurry of different test results people get when they take a functions test like Nardi’s.
    But of course, this is irrelevant to I think Jung’s or the site’s model, which aims to isolate the fundamental dynamics associated to a theoretically well-differentiated ego.

  67. hannah_s says:


    Do you have any plans to make a function axes test? You seem to have tests for just about everything else, so I think one focused around determining your function axes rather than specific functions would be very interesting. :)

  68. ptypes says:

    That would be interesting, yes, seconding the suggestion; the gist is that tests that essentially treat the function-attitudes separately very often won’t quite work, because you’re essentially asking how much the ego identifies with each of the 8 (which is valid because eg type isn’t static, type isn’t one-sided, and there’s tons of variation apart from the fundamental dynamics in how people relate to each of the 8).

    Axes tests would have to involve things like how one can recognize a Ni-Se or Ti-Fe tension+mutual compensation in the person’s worldview without essentially spitting descriptions of eg both Ni and Se at someone and expecting them to pick those over the Ne and Si definitions — as is often enough the case, N-dominants may choose the Ne and Ni ones over both the Se and Si ones — in for instance the Nardi test.

  69. admin says:

    We thought about it, yeah.
    It would be interesting to think about the questions.
    Not sure the test would have any kind of accuracy, though. :)

  70. tobias087 says:

    I’m certainly all for it. Isn’t this all for fun after all? :)

  71. Gee says:

    Sorta off-topic here, but I’ve noticed that several quotes accompanying ESFJs on this site refer to their fondness of fashion and its meaning to them. Since I often feel like the village idiot on this site, if someone wants to explain the fashion fondness of ESFJs from a functional standpoint, I’d be most grateful!

  72. hannah_s says:


    I’m an ESFJ (at least I think so), and I have to say I don’t really have a major interest in fashion — though I do modelling occasionally so maybe I’m contradicting myself. :)

    I think every type has the potential to be interested or uninterested in fashion, it depends on the individual. I think a more interesting question is aesthetic differences in fashion and art between the types. For example, I normally prefer a more classic/conservative style of dress while my ISFP sister prefers bright colors and quirky styles, rarely wearing the same thing twice. :)

    I don’t think there’s anything particular about being SFJ that would give a person a special interest in fashion. Those quotes are probably just there to show a preference for Sensing (which is odd, because I think ENFJs Se often leads to them being MORE interested in up-to-date fashions than ESFJs). :)

  73. admin says:

    Thanks for your question.
    Some of the quotes on fashion evince an Fe-S constellation, but some do not and should probably be removed. Feel free to submit such quotes for deletion.
    Other than that, I agree with Hannah. :)

  74. Gee says:

    Thanks hannah_s and Ryan. :-) Hannah, I, too, would have thought ENFJs — or any type that has Se in their hierarchy — would be more apt to follow fashion trends.

  75. Scratch says:


    Keep in mind that this site types celebrities, as such it is not really a representative sample size for types in general. Furthermore the quotes are a selection made by the admins of this site and might represent any number of biases that further distort the data flow.

    It is also entirely possible that certain qualities ESFJs tend to have would make them more likely to succeed in certain careers where fashion is more important than other areas. For example it is possible that fashion conscious ESFJs are less prominent than say ENFJs, but tend to rise to prominence easier in careers where fashion takes a front seat such as acting and music (and fashion).

    There are a number of other factors to consider as well. I’m not entirely convinced that Se trumps Si in fashion interest. SPs do tend to be concerned more with the contemporary and latest fads and what is cool and fashionable at the moment, but little has been written on the aesthetic sensibilities concerning fashion in SJs. And there is of course the role of Ne and Ni which tends to be overlooked. I think there is a lot of abstract subtlety in fashion that might appeal to those functions.

    In short, don’t trust your initial observations and more research is needed.

  76. Gee says:

    “In short, don’t trust your initial observations and more research is needed.”

    Here, here. That pretty much sums up my lack of confidence concerning most things typology. For example, I have initially disagreed with some of the typings on this site, and in my head I imagined several arguments in favor of switching a given celebrity’s type to a different designation. But, in the end, even generally speaking, I have not been able to come up with a compelling argument that seemed convincing enough to change a celebrity from one type to the next. I guess that speaks to the influence of not four, but all eight cognitive functions/processes that we all use at one time or another.

  77. hannah_s says:

    Hi Gee,

    I’m interested in which celebs you’d move and to where? I disagree fairly often with CelebrityTypes, so maybe I’ll agree with you. :) I think they are EASILY the best website at typing people though, and I’ve always found them perfectly happy to move people when you can explain why a typing is wrong. :)

  78. Gee says:

    Hi hannah_s,
    Thanks for asking! CT is my favorite typing site, so there isn’t much I disagree (with.) I’m not particularly confident in my ability to type (I can’t even type myself to my own satisfaction), but one celebrity who I’m not sure about is Alan Watts (ENFP on here). Initially, I thought ENFP for him was obvious, but the more books I read and lectures I listen to (of his), the more I see Ti. I have no idea where I would put Ti on his hierarchy, but the overall picture I’m getting of the man personally is that he pretty much cherry-picked what he believed concerning all things Eastern religion, in service of what made logical sense to him personally — and he easily admitted it! One lazy example I can give — and I’m going somewhat by memory here except where I directly quote him — is that when asked to explain why he never sat in zazen, he said, “A cat sits until it is tired of sitting, then gets up, stretches, and walks away.”
    The preceding quote for me sums up Watts’ approach to his own lifelong pursuit of analyzing religion in general, and to me flies in the face of Te. In fact, his entire life seemed to be spent ardently trying to precisely define “what is,” as he called it. And although he may have answered his critics, he didn’t seem terribly interested in defending his position.

    Also, he wrote several books and spoke often, but he was pretty much always arriving at the same destination — the definition of “what is.” He seemed seized by a compulsion to get this concept right for his own sake. In other words, not to sound typologically cliche, but he was always refining his definitions of “what is” to the satisfaction of himself. And although he wrote well and structured his lectures to the point in which he sometimes repeated himself verbatim from one audience to the next, his books weren’t always so organized, that’s for sure. Sometimes I think he wrote a book first, spoke about it later. Maybe his books were a kind of working-out process for him to refine his definitions, and once he felt momentarily satisfied, then he’d go on lecture tours with his neatly structured speeches, giving the appearance of Te falling somewhere in his hierarchy, instead of Te being a function that he employed out of sheer necessity, instead of preference.

    Taking all my rambling above, I can still see how one would easily argue for his Fi, but Watts was also fond of saying that he was “not a Zen Buddhist,” but rather “an entertainer,” which to me suggests that at the end of the day, he didn’t take his work or himself as seriously as everybody else did. He also mentioned in one lecture that he talked about “what is” simply because he loved it, and he joked that if anyone wanted to pay him for doing it, then all the better for him. But, I think “love” here is used to express more of his enjoyment of the intellectual discussion of a topic that stimulated him, and less of a personal testimony of a deeply felt conviction for “what is.” Not saying he didn’t believe in his own work; just saying he may have valued it, because it made logical sense to him, and not because it appealed to his personal values, per se. Overall, he didn’t strike me as someone who was overly concerned with morals or value systems, but rather he just wanted his world to make logical sense to *him*, above all else.

    So, I don’t know … maybe he would be better suited as ENTP?

  79. Gee says:

    Then again, I’m not entirely convinced he wasn’t Ni! The whole philosophy he purported — albeit, more specifically translated from other seminal Eastern works — is also based on the overarching idea that nothing can exist without its opposite. That may say something about him personally; then again, it may not.

  80. hannah_s says:


    You definitely make him sound like an interesting person to type. I’ll try to check him out soon. :)

  81. Gee says:

    hannah_s, are there any celebrities here that you’d type differently, that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your arguments. While everyone has only one true type, I think there are so many commenters, contributors, and admins on here that offer such thoughtful, compelling insights that work in service to the overall understanding of typology, even if they may disagree about a given person’s type. Plus, it’s fun to just speculate! :-)

  82. hannah_s says:


    I’m currently in the process of revising all my old typings, so I don’t want to say any I’ll completely change my mind on later haha. :) I very recently changed my opinion on my own type, which makes me sceptical about my other typings! :D

    But I do have six Hat Tips on the news page, so I must have been doing something right. :)

    Either way, that is probably a discussion better for personal emails than for the comments section of this article haha. :)

  83. hannah_s says:

    I remember arguing quite a bit on the Kanye West article about why I thought he was ENFP rather than ISFJ. But I’ll have to go back and check more interviews some time to see if I still agree with my old opinion or not. I don’t see him being ISFJ for the time being though haha! :D

  84. Gee says:

    I’m the one who is usually more likely to say, “well, yeah, that’s a good argument in favor of X type for so-and-so, and now I’m not so sure what to think.” That kind of mindset can make me chase my tail sometimes! haha :-)

  85. hannah_s says:

    That’s probably a much wiser way to be. :) It’s better to be cautious and unsure than to be overconfident — a lesson I’m still trying to learn. :D

  86. ptypes says:

    I guess I also thought of a small comment on the point that to some, the “definitions” of all 8 function-attitudes seem clear enough as to suggest application of the definitions without additional theory about axes…I’ve been through a phase like that, and while axes might or might not be “the” way to solve my problems with one-sidedly sticking to the “clear definition” approach, they seem to be relevant to me, so let me try to explain.

    I think my comment boils down to my sense that the 8 aren’t actually all that clear to define, meaning, yes they *can* be defined, but barring more theorizing, it’s unclear why those definitions wouldn’t be a bit random.

    Why is that? Well, let’s first look at the history: what were the function-attitudes originally? More or less, Jung presented them in Psychological Types as the peculiarities arising in how introverted and extraverted personalities deploy the main *FOUR* processes.
    Now, what this means is he never really “defined” any of those processes. He certainly described them, but his definitions are in Chapter 11, and Chapter 10 was just portraits.

    There is also the further issue that there obviously were problems and inconsistencies in how Jung thought of the 8. For one thing, just blindly pasting in a “self vs outside” dichotomy becomes unclear. Jung tried to frame this in terms of a mind vs sensation dichotomy, but this obviously runs into troubles, as is explored elsewhere, because where does this truly end and sensation-intuition begin?

    Now, modern functions theories try to frame this more in terms of “personal/self vs external/outside”, e.g. “Ti involves having one’s own personal system of logical principles.”
    One could then say why does this actually require axes theory?

    At the end of the day though, issues that spring up when one looks at Jung’s POV still remain here. For one thing, Jung was probably defensive about scientific methods/their attitude of objectivity (possibly part of why he got the introverted sensation idea somewhat wacky…I’ve even considered if he thought of himself, who is probably clearly an intuitive, as he himself later acknowledged, as an introverted sensation auxiliary at time of writing), and that seems to me to have led him to be somewhat unrealistic about the degree to which “external” corresponds more to T than to E.
    I see this kind of issue creep up in how people apply the so-called “definitions” of the 8 function-attitudes.

    The other issue that comes up, which I sense is implicitly somewhat behind the admins’ preferred model, albeit this is wholly my speculation, is that in most domains of cognition, it seems the subject and object must both be handled to form a coherent worldview.
    So if one notices, e.g., in the admins’ models, this means in the combo of perception+judgment, you have a way of addressing both. In judging, you have a way of addressing both (e.g. Ti-Fe). And in perceiving (Ne-Si).

    I think this is the whole point — the holistic perspective arising from how both sides are addressed in the main domains of cognition — each way of addressing forms a certain perspective.
    I have never read their views on function-axes in depth, but this seems intuitively what I’d guess.

    One may object to “defining” a given axis by certain personality characteristics exclusively, but I think that is distinct from whether one wants to adopt the position that they are there and/or meaningful.

    Of course, one *can* start arguing that any function can be in any attitude, based on a “personal self” vs “external facts” divide. But at that point, honestly you run into the issue that the very same cognitive process might be argued to be appealing to either the subject or not.
    Perhaps it’s not even clear if one can separate subject and object entirely in modeling cognition itself.
    It’s possible one can only separate them in how worldviews/perspectives form.

  87. ptypes says:

    Hilarious that I thought that would be a “small” comment when I started writing.

  88. Gee says:

    ptypes, although I’m not confident that I fully grasp your comment (it’s a bit over my head, as are many things on this site!), one statement you make here stands out to me: “… in most domains of cognition, it seems the subject and object must both be handled to form a coherent worldview.”

    The preceding statement brings up a question for me that I would love to have someone answer, and that is this: what about less-than-optimal type development in an individual? I believe that such lacking type development happens more often than we think, and maybe has to do with one’s environment? I don’t know … but anyway … Maybe this is the reason that some types have certain traits that are unusual for their type, like Nixon — an ISTJ — having paranoid traits, etc. Or maybe a better example would be the INFP’s Ne is functioning at a healthy enough level, but the Si is exceedingly underdeveloped? I certainly still believe that, regardless, the axes still exist, but I guess my bigger question is what does one do with that knowledge of the axes, especially in cases in which type development has been a little wonky or lopsided?

  89. ptypes says:

    I think the way to view the axes/in context of my comment is basically to take first the really basic intuition about say, a reason vs sensation dichotomy (probably the simplest case where you can find historical figures positing the latter as corresponding to the without/the former to the subject more).
    One can then note that this intuition shows up in many different places, not just that basic one. In some ways, when Jung started off, he basically was using that same intuition, because he identified T with all introversion and F with extraversion, in a classic “logic/feeling” dichotomy.
    But, he then complicated it and decided there are many other ways one can have a compensatory relationship between the outer and inner.

    Now, you ask about abnormal types. I think my position on this basically says that I don’t expect everyone to have a very differentiated type, necessarily, and thus a lot of what one sees is a little more random, less neatly structured than the blueprints/models we grow to study.
    I think many of the richest perspectives to study fall into some of these highly differentiated patterns, but that in practice, people don’t necessarily do so.
    One can still try to assign people a best-fit, of course.
    It may well be that in some people’s cases, simply identifying them as a “NF” or something may be more accurate than assigning them a more specific pattern.
    Jung has also said the normal person does not tend to be particularly differentiated even in his all-important introvert-extravert dichotomy.

    I’m also a huge proponent that focusing *exclusively* on function-axes, at the expense of the 4 functions of Jung by themselves, leads to loss of insight.

    Yes one probably still can try to detect the axes underneath even a less differentiated personality, through hints and clues, but I think taking the fact that someone hasn’t developed into such a fine-tuned pattern as pathology starts getting very unrealistic very quickly. Whether one goes with Jung, or with much more empirical investigations into personality, one finds on a lot of fundamental dimensions of personality, people don’t always seem terribly differentiated.

    Now, one can really understand why Jung viewed differentiation as so important if one understands his spiritual intents — it was mostly part of a master-plan to discover the individual more deeply. As (I think Ryan) the admins have written in one very good article here, Jung resisted the idea of dissolving the personal ego as the aim, and instead seemed to view the aim as growing into a more deeply individual person, but where individual =/= personal ego, although a defined, differentiated personal ego seemed to him a requisite.
    The first step was differentiation, so as to form a defined prism, so to speak, to look out of — and thus escape fusion with collective drives. Yet, because part of differentiation in a one-sided sense seemed to involve neglecting aspects of the self, one had to further develop the neglected aspects of the psyche to grow more fully individual. (Otherwise, e.g., a physicist like Pauli could risk remaining one-sided due to identification with the physics community….which is still escaping one’s individual nature to a degree.)

  90. hannah_s says:


    I’d advise you not to pay too much attention to ptypes’s posts — at least not until you’re very very familiar with the kind of typology used on this site first. He uses a completely different approach to typology than the one presented on the site (as far as I’m aware). Now, I’m not saying he’s necessarily wrong, of course. :) I just think you’ll get very confused trying to mix knowledge of modern typology as described on this site with the approach ptypes takes, similar to how it would be a mistake to try and mix MBTI and socionics together. :)

    I think you’re right about “wonky” types being more common than we might think — especially IIEE/EEII stack styles (ENFJs with FeSeNiTi for example). I’d also say that most of the time this isn’t even a problem in someone’s development.

    There are some interesting cases though where undeveloped functions can lead to interesting results — probably my favorite example is Karl Pilkington (ISTP). Karl is very logical and all else being equal would have a lot of “common sense” (he certainly sees himself that way), and yet he relies so much on tertiary Ni that Se gets ignored. He takes in only very small bits of information and from these bits builds these elaborate theories and predictions inside his own imagination which he totally believes in, which are often very strange and make him seem like an Ni-dom at times… :D

  91. ptypes says:

    It’s certainly true that I have some differences in style from the site, but for what it’s worth, I am in this case trying to discuss why the function-axis approach is definitely not to be tossed away lightly, using a mixture of my own ideas + my knowledge of how this site uses them! So it is true if one is aiming predominantly to argue from the site’s point of view, one ought to read it more than read my remarks.

    However, I think it’s also worth noting that I’m far from a one-sided Jung > modern typologies proponent, although I think it’s true I preferred Jung to most modern typological functions theories. Probably if anything, this site’s insights on the modern approaches are among some of my favorites, ones that I think build upon Jung and modern ideas both in an interesting way.

    If there’s one difference with my approach it’s that I probably spend so much time comparing systems and perspectives that I don’t get around to as many conclusive typings.

  92. hannah_s says:


    “… I am in this case trying to discuss why the function-axis approach is definitely not to be tossed away lightly…”

    I don’t think you really made your thoughts or arguments clear in your recent posts — I certainly didn’t get this message from them. :) They were very disorganised, difficult to follow, and not really relevant to the article as far as I can tell.

  93. ptypes says:

    My response to that:

    a) I think it cannot be reasonably argued that (to someone who bothered to read and reread carefully my comments) that I didn’t make both implicit and explicit statements of intent to discuss Tobias’ ideas about function-axes seeming an “unnecessary” addition to otherwise intuitive typology axioms + that I see potential relevance to the function-axes to be discussed.

    b) It is possible my points could have been conveyed in a more universally readable format. However, whether it was my presentation style or fundamental disconnect between our approaches which led to your inability to see the relevance of my points is something I’m yet to be convinced of. Particularly since I’m not presenting a treatise, and merely a comment, on such a foundation-level topic as why the axioms are as they are, to jump on board my thought process would be easier were there already a level of convergence in how we go about the topic. As such, I make the practical assumption that some will benefit more from my comments than others depending on their style.

    c) I don’t think one can reasonably discuss Tobias’ points without stirring up a pretty foundations-level discussion, which will involve a lot beyond just the axes, even if the direct question itself is regarding the axes.

  94. hannah_s says:


    If you are replying to a previous poster it’s usually a good idea to mention them at the beginning of your post, to avoid confusion. :)

    Tobias wanted to know why the axes were necessary, not about the whole long history of what Jung believed and how his ideas developed. :) I just think that adding in all this additional irrelevant detail complicates and confuses your posts, and you didn’t really settle on some clear answers (as far as I can tell). But that’s probably just me. :)

  95. ptypes says:

    Alright @Hannah:

    I guess as I mentioned in c), I consider it nearly impossible to answer (in a way I would consider satisfying) a question about something as fundamental as why adopt function-axes without going back to the foundations (Jung) and building up from the relevant points there. I mean, we’re trying to decide what the axioms should be (questioning function-axes comes really near to questioning the entire foundations).

    My approach is pretty far from the “how well does it work in practice” one, instead for me it’s all about motivating in a sufficiently intuitive way why it is conceptually natural to be led to a particular point of view (whether or not one adopts it in practice).

    In the same spirit, regarding settling on answers, I’ve mentioned already that I prefer to spend time comparing and contrasting ideas and systems vastly to developing a single typing approach.

    I hope this gives an idea of why to me, the stuff I mention seems relevant. Now the specifics of the point I’m making which are unclear to you, we’ll have to discuss if you have interest, which I gather you don’t, which is fine.

  96. ptypes says:

    I might also be misreading you @Hannah, but it seemed to me in one of your posts, you made something of a detour into rehashing a lot of Jung’s assumptions in typology yourself, in your own discussions with Tobias. If that is so, I’d find it further bewildering that you wouldn’t see the relevance in my doing so for my own points.

  97. hannah_s says:


    I think that is all fair enough :)

  98. hannah_s says:

    I apologise

  99. Gee says:

    Thanks to you both for your insights. Hannah, the Karl Pilkington example is a good one. I watched his show “An Idiot Abroad” and was delighted to see him typed on here, but was surprised to see him as ISTP, namely because, as you put it better than I could have, he did seem to ignore his Se in favor of his Ni. I guess that is exactly the idea I’m getting at but didn’t articulate well. Another example is Lars Von Trier, an INFJ having antisocial traits. I wonder if that is owing to his Ti being favored over his Fe. At any rate, I need to do a lot more reading and perhaps should come back after I have a better grasp of typology overall. I don’t want to stir up controversy! :) Thanks again.

  100. hannah_s says:

    Yes, I think Lars von Trier is a good example too. :)

    I think reading helps a lot, but I’d also add that I’ve read quite a lot of different websites and books on the subject, and THIS site is definitely the gold standard as far as I’m concerned. If you just stuck to reading all the articles (and comments) on this site, and didn’t look at any other source, I think you’d learn far more about typology than if you looked at every other source out there but never found this site. :)

    Also, check out video interviews of celebrities of different types — there are things you can only really pick up on by applying typology to real world people, and it’s only once you see just how much variety there is between one person of a certain type and another that typology gets really exciting. That’s what I think anyway. :)

    You asked earlier if there were any typings on the site I disagreed with, so here’s a few…

    Emma Watson — ISFJ, not ESTJ
    Sasha Grey — ENTJ, not ESTP
    Emma Stone — INFJ, not ENFJ
    Selena Gomez — ENFJ, not ESFJ

    But of course I may be completely wrong about those. :)

  101. awesomeEllefant says:

    I agree with Hannah about ptypes’s posts actually. The very fact that she’d call him out on it says something — she’s one of the nicest and most conflict-avoidant posters on this site! :D

    Ptypes is a very weird poster, and I doubt anybody can make sense of his posts. I bet he definitely doesn’t plan them out — it’s more a “Hey, I’ll just start writing and whatever nonsense I come up with I’ll post. If everyone else think it makes less sense than having their legs amputated for no reason then that’s because they’re intellectually inferior to me. I’m Jesus. Bow to my genius…”

    I’m surprised he isn’t banned for boring and confusing everyone. :D

  102. hannah_s says:


    Now that’s going much too far I think. I agree that his posts can be disorganised and difficult to follow at times, but I have no doubt that ptypes puts a lot of thought into the subject and knows a lot more about Jung than I ever will. :) It can be interesting to read about his perspectives. :) And anyway, if you dislike his posts so much you can always ignore them.

  103. Gee says:

    Oh, and hannah_s, thanks so much for the link to The Ricky Gervais Show. I’ve watched several and had some good laughs! :-)

  104. Andria says:

    @Gee ESFJs tend to be fond of fashion because it is a way of signaling status, group belonging, & awareness of what is socially appropriate. In order to maintain insider-outsider divisions, it is important that this kind of fashion change frequently & gradually in minor details. The people who keep up with it the best are people who thrive on comparative judgements and have an highly context-sensitive internal database of fashion details. Generalizations and abstractions will not cut it. There is a different kind of fashion that is about unique expression & synthesis, but those people are not consumers of fashion trends, and are usually called weird or trend-setters, not fashionable.

  105. Andria says:

    Gee, in favor of Watts having Fi-Te: He was sincere, candid, prolific in writing & lecturing. Against Ti-Fe: He was not very linear, analytic, or logical. Quite circular or spiralling actually. He was a social outsider. He lived on a houseboat. He cared very little about social approval & belonging. He left behind his country, his church, his zen practice, & rejected both the hippie movement & the materialist culture.

  106. admin says:

    In general, it is easy to think that Buddhists and mystics are INFJs, since many INFJs are naturally close to that domain of experience. But in our experience, at least, this is not so often the case as one would intuitively expect. Of course, this still doesn’t prove anything about Watts’ type, one way or the other. It’s just something to keep in mind.

  107. Andria says:

    I’ll try to limit myself to a few related points without elaborating or connecting the dots:
    (1) Watts never claimed to be enlightened or egoless. He claimed to have mystical experience, but also implied that it was immanent in all reality.
    “My own work, though it may seem at times to be a system of ideas, is basically an attempt to describe mystical experience, not of formal visions and super-natural beings, but of reality as seen and felt directly in a silence of words and mindings.”
    (b) He’s more influenced by Vedanta & Taoism than Buddhism. At the heart of Zen is Taoist non-duality.
    (c) On the subject of the usefulness of the T-F & S-N axis, Watts is a good tangent because he explained interdependency & beautifully articulated why there must be two sides to every coin:

    (2) Many people think enlightenment involves some kind of insight, but that is not really what gurus describe.
    (2a) Despite the advice to “look within”, nobody reports “resolving” these or synthesizing an answer intuitively. Most of them report a hitting a mental wall & a withdrawal from cognitive processing in favor of pure awareness.
    (2b) What can drive you off your mental axes and into to that wall? Many modern gurus had a seizure, near-death experience, or existential mindf*. Ekhart Tolle says he passed out after recognizing a paradox in his self-reflexive thinking. (The thought, during the depths of his despair, was “I can’t live with myself.”). He thought who is this I who cannot live with me? Are there two of me? Then bam!) Like a zen koan, there’s no verbal answer. (2c) The meditative state is congruent with Ni processes – and INFJs abide in it readily. In my experience, too readily to disrupt cognition.

  108. admin says:

    This is a thoughtful comment by Andria. Some thoughts:

    (1) In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter much one way or the other. Some great masters claim not to have had such experiences, even though they plainly have, and others claim to be “enlightened,” even though they’re not. In general, I wouldn’t trust anyone who said they were “enlightened,” and I think it stands to the credit of Watts that he never said that he was.

    (1b) Yes, it is true what you say here. All of it.

    (2) It depends on the guru or master and what you mean by insight. It’s not intellectual knowledge, no.

    (2a) I’m not sure who you’re thinking of here, and I’m not sure what the “these” are that are not reported to be resolved would be? I personally wouldn’t say that “most” enlightenment experiences fall into the category described by you here, but that kind of experience is one variant of the experience, yes. Though in my opinion actually not one of the main ones.

    (2b) Well, but you have to adjust for the type of information: Stories about dramatic incidents travel far and wide, but no one ever hears of a monk who eats his rice gruel and trains hard every day until he reaches enlightenment, in much the same way as his predecessors before him. Those stories rarely travel widely.

    (2c) I’m not sure I understand this point. Could you say some more about that?


  109. Andria says:

    (1) I agree with you, and a step further, I think it did not really mattered to him. My comment here was mainly to elucidate his personality. Many ‘types’ would care a lot more about proving something, either for approval or to be ‘right’, but he’s more interested in getting people to experience the feeling of the space we fill.
    (2) You’re right. It would be better to say that many people think insight is a cognitive process.
    (2a) Sorry, I moved sentences around in abbreviating my remarks. “These” was paradoxes. Other than withdrawing from cognition, how else do people describe becoming enlightened?
    (2b) Fair enough, but if so, why is that still the case? They are supported institutionally and the institutions are supported by donors. You’d think they’d want to spread the word that it’s working.
    (2c) I’m thinking of three things here. First is my experience as ‘an Ni’ that meditation is very appealing and it is not as much a struggle as many people say. Secondly, that this is not exactly surprising given how Ni works & what you do in meditation. Meditation enjoins you to be aware of your conscious thoughts & cease following them, but Ni is largely unconscious & can just operate underground. Maybe I’m just doing it wrong?! Thirdly, there are those EKG studies by Dario Nardi where he reports finding that Ni types readily get into some high-energy synchronized brain state (which he calls ‘zen’) when doing unfamiliar things. I don’t really know any more about it than that since I haven’t read his work and I don’t think he had many cases.

  110. admin says:

    (2a) Hyper-awareness and time speeding up is another variant, for example.
    (2b) Some traditions actually consider it uncouth to talk about it.
    (2c) Well, I think there are many different techniques. In general, I would say that meditative insight is more like a fifth function, which one could call the Brahman or Dharma function. ( With Ni, I think there’s a big difference between Ni-Fe and Ni-Te in the usual attitude and understanding of meditation among those types. I know Nardi’s work well, and have hung out with him, but I’m not sure his work fits too well together with classical Jung in this regard. But then again, maybe he will ultimately turn out to be right and the classical authors wrong. Time will tell. :)

  111. Andria says:

    If he’s right (about what?), that will prove Jung et al wrong about what?
    The word is he found that T types use both Ti & Te at high levels relative to any F, and F types use Fi & Fe at high levels relative to any T. People infer that this disproves something about the axis model & function stack. I don’t think it would.
    It may end up showing there’s no set ‘stack’ from 1 to 8, but I don’t think this has to detract from the utility of the axis concept or the auxiliary concept. I do suspect the model is off about about the priority of the shadow functions, but I’m not skilled enough at typing to have an opinion on it. It just a hunch based on all the folks who identify with their complement. For example, INTP leads with TiNe & for INTJ NeTi is their shadow lead. Maybe the shadow is not so underused as people say, and this is what is showing up in Nardi’s data.
    The other thing about Nardi’s data is interpreting what groups of brain cells correspond to our abstract functions. In particular, people are mistaken about what Te might be mapped to.

  112. admin says:

    If you read Nardi’s definitions, and compare them to those by the classical authors, they’re not really the same. Also, Ni is classically defined as being more at ease reexamining mental contents that are already known, not exploring new ones.

  113. Andria says:

    It occurs to me that this may also apply to Tobi’s observation that people have their tertiary backward. More likely, that is just them using their 3rd set (in shadow) more than the model describes.

  114. Andria says:

    Sorry, I didn’t see your comment before the last post. I don’t know what Nardi’s definitions are. What I appreciate are his findings about patterns and which regions are used more heavily by which types. It seems to show clearly that the region T5 maps to Fe. F8 & T4 map to Fi. O1 maps to Te. F3 & F4 map to Ti, C4 to Si. Everyone uses Fp1 & Fp2 quite a bit, but to different degrees. In all the other regions, there are some confounding effects. Guesses could be made, but IIRC the data set is quite small for anyone to do so with confidence. His definitions don’t much matter unless he comes out with more data to support them.

  115. Andria says:

    Also, I have no idea who the authorities are for classical definitions, but surely Ni is not thought to be content recycling old data? Am I wrong to think Ni loves assimilating new input?

  116. Gee says:

    I’ve been missing out! Not to be a thread-killer, but just wanted to pop in and say this: I guess for Watts, I’m stuck on whether or not he preferred Ti or Te. That’s really the crux of the confusion for me. But anyway … as you were :-)

  117. Andria says:

    Gee, I’m no expert, but other people describe Te as the desire to explain things, make decisions, etc. Watts does a lot of this. Personally, I think everyone does that stuff, and Te types just do more of it when they don’t have something better to do. What they really seem superior at is visual processing, organizing, systematizing, & efficiency. But for an ENFP, Te is ‘tertiary’. So you should really be looking for Fi vs Ti. I don’t see the evidence for Ti. You say he cherry picks bits that suit him, but this strikes me more as something that Fi-Te does.
    But I seem to have gotten the wrong idea about Ni, so don’t follow me on this. I really don’t have access to enough labeled data (reliably typed people) to have learned to observe what’s what in action. That’s what I love about this site!

  118. Andria says:

    If you really want to make that comparison, it might help to look at the axial framing questions give by Pierce. “What do I think and how can I communicate that?” vs. “What do I want, and how can I get it?” Which question do you think is motivating Watts? If you really want to assess lower functions, it is probably easier to identify the inferior (4th) than the tertiary since it is often the source of our more umm awkward behaviours. Not saying that works well for me though.

  119. Andria says:

    Also, I should thank you for your observation cum question about ESFJs. It made me realize that someone whom I thought to be an ESTJ is far more likely an ESFJ.

  120. rachelw says:


    My god your posts are dull! Also, I’ve read this page of garbage you’ve written and have no idea what your point was…

    Were you…

    A) trying to misrepresent ESFJs as very calculating people who only care about being the most popular girl in high school and fostering religious and racial hatred?

    B) arguing people who dress uniquely and express their creativity through clothes are “unfashionable”? How does that work?

    C) arguing Alan Watts was not TiFe axis because… he has traits most commonly associated with IxTPs? (sounds like inferior Fe you’re describing to me)

    D) arguing Alan Watts is INFJ?

    E) just randomly wanting to discuss Alan Watts for no reason?

    F) just randomly wanting to discuss Buddhism, Taoism etc for no reason?

    G) just randomly talking about how meditation is awesome and makes you cooler than non-meditaters?

    H) arguing that Dario Nardi’s bullshit function “science” somehow proves something?

    I) just wanting to confuse beginners by speaking gibberish and trying your best to sound knowledgeable?

    I have no idea what your purpose was. :D Seems to me you just started typing about one subject and flowed into all these other tangents without making any real points about anything.

    I wish the admins would cut down on these kinds of drawn out pointless posts because it makes the page take ages to read on my phone.

  121. Andria says:

    Sorry Rachelw.I agree with you that my posts have been out of proportion to the feedback. I will leave. A)Not my intent. I just happen not to be interested in this myself. My ESFJ friends are the most caring people I know. IMO, they do tend to be somewhat (not very) calculating, but almost always for the greater good. (B) Unfashionable as in not adhering to the latest fashions, not as in badly dressed. I love people with a personal style. E.g., Bjork. (C)I think he is Fi-Te. (D) No. I agree with ESFP. (E) No, I was trying to help Gee. (F) Maybe yes, but mostly trying to help Gee understand Watts. (G) No, my point was that meditation is pleasant for me as an INJ. Possibly, we keep doing Ni unconsciously, and never really achieve the purpose of withdrawing from cognition. (H) I think it could if the samples were larger. (I) Sorry for that.

    Sorry for that too.

  122. Andria says:

    Also, in case, I have made myself look better than I am, let me state I am not a rockstar at meditation. I don’t ever stop thinking or zen-out. But it’s pleasant for me, and when I do it, I focus better. Also for the record, I am no type guru. I even keep changing my mind about my own type.

  123. Rachelw says:


    I’m not suggesting you should stop posting, just that it would be much easier to understand your points and reply to your posts if you’d organise your thoughts better. As they are, they are a frustrating read because each topic just blurs into next without warning and you don’t make your position clear on any of them or give any real reasoning.

    Thanks for the summary of your points you sent me in the last two posts. They were much clearer:)

    Your writing style does seem pretty Ni to me. I’m often frustrated by INFJ writers – I’m guessing it’s an Ni vs Ti conflict:D

    I don’t think sample size is the problem for Nardi. I think there are more fundamental problems with his methodology that need to be changed first. Also his assumption that the “functions” have a clear brain use pattern doesn’t make much sense to me… I don’t think many people would actually suggest the functions have a physical reality, the brain just isn’t that simple. And that isn’t even getting into his total rewrite of the definitions – Nardi’s functions are really his own new system as far as I can tell, so it’s possible to be INTJ in his system and ENTP by the system used on this site.

  124. Andria says:

    @myself Correction above — I meant I agree ENFP fits Watts.

    @Rachill, I have no desire to share ideas with someone with such an aggressive sense of entitlement. I am tolerant of requests for clearly stated opinions, because education & media has bred in most of us a dependence on them. Give clearly stated facts, and many people can’t apprehend their relevance. They need opinions to go with them. Also, some people have a strong need to judge the source of the ideas. I can accept that. But add to this hostility & unwillingness to reason in good-faith, and I am finished.

    Nobody stepped in with encouragement to me or rebuke for your rudeness, so clearly my thoughts were not that helpful anyway.

    I do not have time for communities which let rudeness & hostility go unchecked. I am interested in these matters for self development. If the admins deep understanding of this material has not led them to a sufficient level of development to see how destructive this is, then this is not the place for me.

    @Ryan, It will take me some time to read & digest your essay. Thank you for the pointer.

    @Pierce, the author. Your axial questions have been very helpful to me. However, they are all are motivated from from inside-out, e.g., Ti-Fe & Fi-Te. I think Fe-Ti is more correct. That is, people construct general principles in accordance with their desire for social harmony & approbation. I planned to elaborate on this, but unfortunately this is enough from me here.

    That’s it from me. I will read responses in a few weeks, but I will not be posting further. Just not an atmosphere that is productive for me despite the high quality. Thank you to everyone for their posts here, including Rachel’s.

  125. rachelw says:

    Oddly, I thought that I was being far too polite and respectful. That’s what you get for giving great advice these days, I guess – hopefully when she calms down and becomes more rational, she’ll reread my tips for improving her posts and realise I was actually doing her a favour. And if she fails to return then … well, I don’t think the site will be missing anything.

  126. rachelw says:


    Don’t worry, I never expressed a personal wish to hear any of your ideas, so don’t worry yourself on my account. :) I was giving advice about how to structure a website comment, so that other readers who ARE interested can understand you better, and you would get more and better replies.

    You’re very welcome.:)

  127. admin says:

    I think Andria is right that the tone got a little too hostile. Rachel, you often have good things to say in the comments, I just think the tone could sometimes benefit from taking a few hints from posters like Hannah_S (as could my own, for that matter).

  128. rachelw says:

    Aye aye, captain! *salutes*

  129. Andria says:

    @Rachelw, This probably foolhardy of me, to try to explain to you, but here goes. I took your initial feedback about frustrations seriously. I could see my false economy led to misunderstanding and frustration. Your solutions are haughty. The style of conversation you prefer is intellectually disabling and I chose not to further it. Some things you view as mistakes are mostly deliberate on my part.
    My solutions are (1) Don’t post as a female unless you are prepared to be criticized for things that others are not. (2) Label the topic of a post, so people can frame it & skip it. (3) State the obvious, such as “I’ll let you reach your own conclusions about …” so that there is something in the place of the discussion where people expect an opinion. (4) Be more positive and considerate in describing other’s types (ESFJ). (5) Do not overshare where your input is not valued.

  130. hannah_s says:


    To be fair I think Andria and RachelW have both let their frustrations run away with them here, and are both equally “guilty”. :)

    Rachel was quite rude and frank in her first post, which is a terrible way to start a post of constructive feedback haha. I agree with the warning you gave her for her tone.

    Andria replied quite politely, seemingly taking Rachel’s points (which it can’t be denied are very good ones that will greatly improve Andria’s posts for many readers who require the same level of intellectual clarity Rachel does) on board. Rachel then replied politely herself, giving more explanation about her previous post.

    If it had ended there, both parties would have ended the conversation amicably, and Rachel would have accepted her warning I suspect. :)

    But then Andria started responding in a rude, haughty way too, and doesn’t actually appear to understand what Rachel’s problems with her writing were getting at – she even calls them “intellectually disabling”, when in fact Rachel was attempting to greatly improve Andria’s posts in that direction by suggesting she separates ideas more. :)

    So I really don’t think it’s fair to suggest RachelW is the bad guy here – she’s made some very good points, as always. I’d say they were pretty even.

  131. Andria says:

    Hannah_S, Please tell me where you think I should have separated my ideas more.

  132. hannah_s says:


    Hi Andria. :)

    I hope you don’t leave the site, because it’s always nice to have as many different viewpoints on the site as possible. :)

    I think Rachel’s first post (if you ignore her argumentative and sarcastic tone haha) sums it up fairly well. It’s difficult in those posts at times to see what you are getting at and how one subject leads to the next. :)

    I don’t think there is anything necessarily WRONG about what you say in them though. I think you make some interesting points. :) It’s just the jumping from subject to subject that gets a little disorientating and difficult to read.

    But I’m sure Rachel and others have made similar comments about my posts in the past haha, so I can’t really give lectures. :D

  133. Andria says:

    Thanks Hannah. Specific criticism (“I found xyz difficult to follow”) is polite & useful feedback. Sweeping generalizations are not.

    I only see one unclear post: the one where I respond to ‘admin’ with points supporting his view that Watt’s evinced Ne not Ni. I choose not to state my agreement explicitly, and it clearly lost you & Rachelw. I can see why.

    I’m sorry you find my other posts difficult to follow. I don’t know why the other posts are so frustrating for you as to merit this kind of censure.

    All I can do is not post. You get diverse points of view & get people to rethink the clarity of their writing by asking clarification questions, not with sweeping criticisms and vague generalizations.

    This has been really bizarre. I feel like I wandered into a rabbit hole or foreign country. I don’t know how you get to become an educated person (as you clearly all are) and still behave like this when you have problems understanding other people.

    This is not the sort of culture I want to participate in. I will not be checking back for at least a month, because being on the defence like this is not constructive.

    Admin, I understand that it is difficult to step into these kinds of disputes, especially between women as there appears to be a gender thing happening here. Just keep in mind that most people do not defend themselves as I have. They just go away. Many others will just never post when they see this kind of intolerance. If you don’t find find a way of handling this you will end up cultivating a very self-limiting culture here. If you don’t want to grow the discussion though, I think you’re doing fine. You really do have the best free content (& educated discussion!) on type I have seen. I wish you all well.

  134. admin says:

    Thank you for the compliment (and the warning) and I can understand some of your sentiments. I can’t understand why you are so quick to make it into a gender issue, though. /Eva

  135. Andria says:

    Just to clarify, there are of course plenty of educated people who make generalized judgements of others in place of specific criticisms and questions. But usually they do this to dismiss someone. If they did this when they actually wanted to understand someone, they wouldn’t get very far.

  136. Andria says:

    Thanks Eva, it’s not a fixed opinion, just a concern. All the best to you!

  137. hannah_s says:


    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to suggest that all or most of your posts were difficult to follow. In fact I don’t think I would have noticed too much if the discussion between you and Rachel didn’t draw attention to it. :) I’m sure everyone’s posts have problems if you view them critically, but on the other hand different kinds of people enjoy reading and writing in different styles, and I don’t think there’s really a right or wrong way to go about it. So if I was you I’d just continue writing in the same way, if that’s what you feel comfortable with, and ignore Rachel’s posts.:)

    I apologise if anything I have said has made you want to leave the site. That’s the exact opposite of what I was trying to do. Maybe you could just reply to other articles and involve yourself in other discussions on the site, and try to forget about this negative experience? :)

    Good luck in whatever you choose to do. :)

  138. rachelw says:


    I don’t know where you get this “general sweeping judgements without specific criticism” idea from. I help edit fiction and science articles part-time, so I’m perfectly aware of how to offer constructive feedback.

    I gave TWO specific criticisms of your posts – your writing isn’t clear enough, and it doesn’t actually say anything (no clear points). And those are the only two points I made.

    I then gave no fewer than NINE specific examples highlighting these points.

    You could argue that my tone was rude, and you might disagree with – or not like – what I had to say. But don’t try to say I didn’t give you two good, clear, specific pieces of constructive criticism. And it was free, so be thankful.

    It is you who are giving the generalised judgements in place of specific criticism. All you’ve managed to say so far to defend yourself is something along the lines of, “But people should be allowed to write really bad posts if they want!” And I agree with that – but why would you want to?

    If you want to stay, then stay. If you want to leave, then leave. Just stop clogging up the comments with this “victim” stuff – nobody has raped you or done anything bad to you, that I am aware of.

  139. rachelw says:


    I have no idea where she’s coming from with the whole “gender issue” thing either! :) I can only assume she’s trolling.

    If she isn’t trolling, I’d seriously suggest you or Ryan give her a warning not to post sexist comments on the site.

  140. rachelw says:


    Well, I’m going to just go now. I should never have come back to this waste-of-time website, and I have no interest in posting any more comments, or interacting any longer with anyone associated with it (either posters or admins).

    So just continue as you were, and forget I ever existed.

  141. edge says:

    Geez. Why is everyone getting their feelings hurt over such a non issue? How about everyone write however they want to and others who don’t understand them ask for clarification… Like normal people do. Other than that you all make interesting points.

  142. hannah_s says:


    I agree. :)

  143. Mary_Arrington says:

    @Michael Pierce

    I thought this was the best and clearest article in the series so far :)

  144. ventsy1 says:


    Honestly, I wish Eva and Ryan would not allow any comments. Everyone here (with exception to the admins themselves and maybe some people who have written articles for the site) seems to have no idea what they are talking about. And I am including myself as well. Personally, it’s gotten to the point where I scroll comments looking for what the admins have to say and just ignore everyone else. If anyone has any questions for the admins, they could just message them. The comment section has no point in existing. It just spreads more misinformation. If what happened above is anything to go by, it is actually doing more harm than good.

  145. hannah_s says:


    I wrote a reply to your question about IFP-with-Dependent-style versus Fe. It isn’t perfect, but maybe you will find it helpful in some way? :)

    On the topic of the exchange between Andria and Rachel… I didn’t really think of it as a big deal at the time, but reading back I’m quite surprised at just how aggressive and sharp Rachel’s messages were, at least in their tone. At the time I felt Andria was overreacting, but I think I would probably have reacted in a similar way if they were directed at me!

    I feel a little ashamed now that I didn’t try to defend Andria more strongly. I can only assume Rachel was having a really bad day or something, because at other times she can write some really great posts.

    As for whether the site should have a comments section…

    I understand what you are saying, but I actually like it the way it is. :) Sure, there are some really bad posts, but there are other posts and discussions I find much more interesting than the article they are commenting on! And I think it is much too harsh of you to say that the posters here don’t have a clue what they are talking about – this site has some wonderful contributors to the comments sections (Boye Akinwande, Michael Pierce, Tobias, Scratch, AndrahilAdrian, Rachelw, and many others whose names I can’t remember at this second) – I may not always agree with them, and vice versa, but I almost always enjoy their comments. Of course there are some really poor posters too (the kinds who aggressively state “Bob Dylan is an N” or “Hitler was a T”) but those people rarely stick around beyond a few posts. Most of us are somewhere in the middle I think, occasionally writing really good posts and occasionally writing nonsense, and glad we get to post here instead of having to put up with TypologyCentral or PersonalityCafe. :D

    I would argue to keep the comments section, because I learn a lot from chatting to people with similar interests about this subject. I believe offensive posts should be removed, and posts that aren’t relevant to the article or discussions (such as spam comments), but I don’t think posts should be axed just because they don’t show a perfect understanding of a given topic. Where would you draw the line? :)

  146. ventsy1 says:


    All I meant was that CT just lost a viewer. I have no interest in the drama aspect if it doesn’t concern me. I will say Rachel was a bit rude in responding to me in the thread you linked in that comment:

    “Well there are lots of differences, the two main ones being…

    Fi types are Fi types and Fe types are Fe types.

    Fi types with dependency issues have dependency issues.”

    Yeah, thanks Rachel >: (

    And btw Hannah, thank you for your lovely response : )

    You make good points, but I still say the comments section is useless. As a matter of fact, I’ll make an extreme statement: there is no point in having so many different perspectives. Anything not written or approved by the admins seems to have no practical reason to be here. Unless the admins start filtering the comments and approving each one (I think they used to do that, no?) then I really don’t see how we’re any better than any other forums.

    For reference, skim down to the comments here and read what Debaser has to say:

    and here:

    This is worst than anything I’ve ever seen on PerC or TypCentral.

    Of course this is Eva and Ryan’s site. Whether or not there are comments has nothing to do with us, and I doubt any of us can change their minds.

  147. ventsy1 says:

    It says my comment is awaiting moderation, so I have to assume they are now filtering comments : )

  148. awesomeEllefant says:

    Nah, just your comments, dude! :D

  149. ventsy1 says:

    Huh, I wonder why that is…

  150. awesomeEllefant says:

    Haha who knows? Im just kidding I wouldn’t worry about it :)

    Did you sign in properly? Sometimes if you sign in with a small mistake in your username (like writing Ventsy1 while you normally write it with a small v) it doesn’t recognize you and says awaiting moderation :)

  151. awesomeEllefant says:

    Eva smells like mouldy cheese and eats dirty rats in the city sewers every weekend because the site makes no money to buy food. Ryan likes to walk to work dressed in nothing but a baby diaper, only drinks milk, and all anyone hears him say in real life is: “Gor lorra lorra… Socrates and cheese… Gor lorra lorra… Parmenides is free… By larry larry-o, and woe, woe me…*burp* Eureka! I pooped ma panties!”

    Their needs to be more freedom of speech on this site because this intense censorship is inhuman!

  152. ptypes says:

    For someone who is concerned about the information spread in the comments section, and views the comments discussions as amounting to the sort of discussion found on internet typology forums, I suggest it is worth considering that the admins seem to put effort to engage the comments in this site quite a lot in discussion. That makes for a rather different atmosphere from internet typology forums, where I’d say there’s more policing and less engaging of content by mods/admins/etc.

    I’m with Hannah in viewing the comments section as a pretty terrific gem to read, and have certainly learned things from reading the discussions myself.

  153. hannah_s says:


    I think that’s a great point about interaction with the admins. I’d like to see even more of that, but I’m sure they’re very busy people haha. :)

    The site just wouldn’t be the same without the comments sections.

    What do you think about the new article about Carl Jung’s type (I think it’s the first in a series)? I know you know a lot about Jung so it will be interesting to hear your thoughts. :)


    Haha how did you get away with that?? ;D

  154. ptypes says:

    @Hannah–Yeah, I’ve definitely found discussing with them to be fun. Thanks for alerting me to the new article–I’ll write a few things that occur to my mind in that comments section.

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