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Further clarification of T/F

June 28, 2013

Continued from:

Here’s my proposal for a definition of T/F (added to Personality Glossary):

Feeling (F): the judgment (decision-making) function that covers personal or interpersonal elements of life. According to Jung, it tells us “what [something] is worth”. This is possible from our state as emotional creatures affected by objects and events, which is the focus of the function.

A person’s “Feeling” function is their perspective of the human side of things, and their attention to and evaluation of things by emotions and values, and identification with other living beings.

A Feeling type is one whose primary rational outlook is looking at the world in terms of people or humanity, and the elements that makes them “subjects”, such as emotions and values; usually with a focus on goals such as individual or group harmony. They approach life in terms of being human first, and seeing others as humans to interact with, and objects are to be looked at and used from that perspective.

Thinking (T): the judgment (decision making) function that covers technical or “impersonal” elements of objects, such as “if-then” evaluations, regardless of affect on people. According to Jung, it is the function that gives it a name [i.e logically categorizes “what is”]. This is the function that captures our [personal] detachment from things evaluated.

A person’s “Thinking” function is their perspective of the technical side of things, and their attention to and evaluation of things by impersonal logic. It’s where we detach from things as simply other objects.

A Thinking type is one whose primary rational outlook is looking at the world in terms of objects and how they work (including people), often with a focus on goals such as efficiency.

I was leery of just going with the common association of F with “likes” (“values”), because I had seen this (and especially Fi) overgeneralized to the point that other types would not know what they like/want.
An ego will naturally go for what it “likes”, but that in itself is different from paying more attention to the properties of the subject. Like “this is really good for the soul” or “this will look nice to people”.

So I propose:
Unconscious F: just reacting to emotions or impulsively going for what’s “liked”
conscious F: looking at the emotion, or what is liked, and making a rational decision based on it.
(Everyone will do the former at times, but the difference is that the Feelers will be more likely to do the latter in normal circumstances).

Similarly, other functions:
Unconscious: just routinely experiencing sensations, dealing with a concepts or using logic as the situations come. Conscious: a stronger focus on the sensations, concepts or logic.

Objective vs subjective:
i draws on subjective standard or storehouse of data; abstracts what’s irrelevant to subject
e draws upon objective standard or emergent data, merges subject with object.
T focuses on the properties of impersonal objects for making judgments
F focuses on the properties of personal subjects for making judgments (i.e. emotions, values; what distinguishes us as humans).

This would sort out “subjective/objective”s role in both i/e and T/F. One is viewing subjects or objects as an observer, and the other deals with the subject or object as the ego’s own standard.

With this, I can now explain some of the confusing ambiguities regarding T/F

As a Thinking type, I look at things from a detached position, and evaluate or arrange them according to an internal standard. There may be an emotional attachment to the thing I’m looking at (like a nice symmetry) or the decision made based on it (like the satisfaction of arranging something like that) which indicates obvious personal value being assigned, but this is not the main judgment going on. It is in the background, and likely being taken for granted (Where a true Feeling type would pay more attention to that aspect of the evaluation). Even in the background, it is still “felt”, and not necessarily totally ignored, however.

Some people will be confused by this, recognizing their emotion, and thinking (based on common misconceptions) that a Thinking type shouldn’t feel or at least be at all aware of those emotions. (I certainly went through this years ago). T’s have been portrayed almost like robots or “vulcans”, but no real human is like that.
I’ve also heard “Many people think they are ‘analyzing’, when they’re really ‘valuing'”. But we’re really doing both. You cannot completely separate out the opposite function. It just falls to the background.

An example of tertiary Fi I was once given was buying some clothes or something a person saw that would make them feel good, when they should be using the money to pay bills. At first, it sounded like the typical “liking” description of Fi, and I projected my own assumption of impulsive behavior into it. That’s something any type could do on an impulse.
But looking over it again, this was likely more of a somewhat conscious, rational decision, and not completely an impulse. It’s one that might be regretted, but it was a weighing of “humane” importance. We need to live a little and try to make ourselves happy sometimes.

I normally resist that process, thinking of the problems that would result later, in which case I would not be able to “rest”, and which would cancel out any “good feeling” in the short term. If I were to do something like that, it would be from an impulse, likely from stress, and not thought out like that at all. Or, if I did consciously and rationally deal with it, it would be to think of how to squeeze the finances so that there wouldn’t be a problem.
In this case, the personal value is there, but either more in the background or unconsciously erupting, while the impersonal focus is what’s more conscious.

Likewise, every situation will have impersonal logical aspects to it, and these will usually fall into the background for a Feeling type evaluating the situation.

In the background, I’m thinking its attitude is less distinct.
So is the emotion I feel from Ti gratification distinctively Fe; while the same emotion an ETJ feels at the gratification of his Te has to be Fi? This is something that was always confusing, and in reading type descriptions (notably in Quenk’s Was That Really Me?) it looked like the same things were being attributed to both attitudes of F.

I would say that in such a case, the preferred attitude of the inferior is not as significant. It’s sort of like Jung’s concept of “concretistic” feeling or thinking (which remain bound to sensations). It’s not differentiated, and thus not oriented.
So this again shows the nature of four functions (not eight), with the attitudes assigned by the ego separately according to the situation.

It’s the complexes (inferiority or anima/animus) that really differentiate the attitudes, bringing a distinct [one-out-of-eight] function-attitude out of the background to the forefront.
If the ego or “hero” complex is doing its thing, making detached technical evaluations referencing its internal world, then the inferiority complex is not constellated at that point, so the background Feeling is not differentiated right then. It’s just there, almost out of sight, providing the emotional investment.
Now, when something occurs that constellates the hero’s diametric opposite inferior/anima/animus complex, then it will evaluate based on its preferred Feeling, and assigned external orientation. (You can also do a “right-brain” (P) function switch, or have the Daimonic complex constellated, which will also evaluate according to Feeling, but maintain the dominant attitude).


  1. I got this idea of trying to refine T/F, from seeing someone at work, who is very “Sanguine” (And I don’t seem to see many male Sanguines in person, so he really stands out), and is likely an ExFP. Probably S, because he seems to be focused on living life as it comes, rather than looking for or discussing meaning. Very bright and friendly, often buys cakes, cookies, etc. for everyone (I usually give in, trying to avoid sugar and wheat as much as possible these days, but if someone’s giving it away, I can’t resist); sometimes irritating to some people in this heavy ISTJ environment.

    Trying to verify my correlation of type with temperament, as well as refining my understanding of the true definitions of the functions, I thought to myself, what makes me think this guy (and others like him I’ve seen) is a Feeler? I have not been close enough to him personally to really see him make decisions (beyond buying the goodies for everyone). I don’t see him articulating any “values”. I draw my sense of a Sanguine from temperament theory, particularly this description: The Sanguine in Inclusion Temperament

    What makes this profile most likely a Feeler? That system is based on FIRO-B, and doesn’t go into MBTI typology, so there’s nothing about “making decisions based on values, emotions”, etc. What makes any of us look at a person and assign T/F (as well as any of the other dichotomies)?

    Obviously, the “people-focus” is apart of it.
    When I thought about what I see when I see that person, and comparing with my wife, who’s part Sanguine, and also a Feeler (but opposite in orientation from what I believe that guy is), and then you have the NFJ’s, who aren’t even “people-focused” in the social area like all the other Feelers, but rather in the conative area) the common thread is the focus on “humanity”.
    Just living and interacting with people, and in the case of my wife who I live with, and is always trying to pry it out of me, “feelings” and emotions. The “properties of subjects” (themselves and others).
    Everybody has them, but these types are more in touch with them, and it comes out as just being focused on being “human”. Interacting, loving, serving, all stemming from a focus on human emotional needs. There’s somewhat of a clue of this in Berens’ descriptions of the ExFP’s aux. Fi, where they “key in to their values”, and this school of typology often teaches that this is often “unseen”.

    I also should not forget a close friend of ours who also figured in this thought process; who’s Phlegmatic in Inclusion, and the other areas of temperament the same as my wife; and she seems to fit ISFJ. However, the typical profile of that type might fit a Supine-Melancholy better. The ISF/INP Interaction Style (“Behind the Scenes” or “Responder”) can be either Supine or Phlegmatic in Inclusion. The Phlegmatic will seem more emotionally and socially “neutral” on the surface as the Phlegmatic basically is.
    So how do I know this person is a Feeler? Same way. She is more focused on just being human, and accepting and expressing emotions, and connecting with others than with trying to understand or order according to the technical aspect of life (she’s like a “lite” version of my wife. The Feeling also does seem extraverted, and she’s also more into day to day living and referencing stored knowledge than deriving meanings for things, so she fits S as well).

    Others I can think of are fictional characters such as Bubbles, as opposed to Blossom or Buttercup (Powerpuff Girls). Or DeeDee in contrast to Dexter. Both are known for their “sunshine and flowers” personas, and while it is possible for a Thinker to admire these things (I certainly do), a person more in touch with Feeling will be more into these things for their own sake (where I might be appreciating the contrast of colors {Ti}, or reliving nice things from when I was young {Si}, but otherwise, I do not approach the rest of life with that kind of mindset).

    I had one person on a board recently describe Feeling as “the lack of Thinking” as observed in a person, and this may sound lopsided, but at a first glance of people, you will see some talk who are clearly logically focused, while others will seem to just simply “be”. It seems T stands out more in a person; perhaps because of its impersonal nature. (Likewise, N will also stand out because it’s more than just about day to day living).

    On the flipside, I also think of some people (including some from when I was young) who seem ESTP. These were very boisterous kids or even adults who would make fun of anyone quiet and nerdy. One used to ask me sarcastically “how many nuts and bolts are there in a 747?”
    But that type’s auxiliary function is supposed to be introverted Thinking. Wouldn’t that make them respect nerdy attention to technical factoids? Could those people really be TP’s and mock the things of Ti?

    But in the case of the young people, their auxiliary was not developed. Some people like that probably grow up and still have underdeveloped auxiliaries. The environment is not really conducive for Ti perspectives. So their egos are running almost solely off of dominant Se; perhaps jumping to the tertiary as well (Fe).
    The aux. T preference is just enough to make them “impersonal”, and directive (being combined with S), but they just don’t focus it to science or book knowledge. Part of this is simply preferring Se instead of Ne. And again, Ti being aux. and not dominant. (So ISTP might also be more typical of what we expect from Ti).
    One person who comes to mind, when she got a bit older, stopped being such a bully, and still was never a technical genius, but still seemed to have a wit that could have been from an internal standard of impersonal judgment.

    Then, you have Rachael Ray, who has a very girly persona, and for years I thought was ESFP (others in type discussions picked up Fe, and said ESFJ!) Then, evidence pointing to ESTP started being brought to me, such as reports of obvious “Choleric” behavior (“In Charge” rather than “Get Things Going”) in person, and the final thing for me was her saying she had an Erector set as a child. Now, it may sound funny to type someone based on this, but still, this is on top of other evidence, and then, for let alone a girl to be into something like that (going against the cultural push to ignore such “boyish” things), it shows a clear “technical” focus. (The background was obviously very different from the ESTP’s I grew up with who learned to scoff at such “nerdy” things!)

    We would associate cooking with Feeling (Fe “serving the group”, or Lenore’s example of how Fi would figure in making a good spaghetti sauce), but this is from cooking being a traditionally female activity, and females traditionally having a Feeling persona. But cooking has just as much of an impersonal, technical aspect as anything else. (I was surprised in junior high when one of the “Shop” classes was cooking!)
    It might seem more “humane”-ly focused, because it more directly affects us as living beings. But like everything else, it starts with impersonal objects and natural laws and principles.

    Fellow cook Alton Brown is someone everyone would agree was a definite INTP! He breaks down the more scientific aspects of food where for Rache, Ti will be auxiliary and take a back seat to the Se element. Still, you can see that technical element in the way she focuses on the almost purely impersonal aspects of the food, as well as the other topics she covers, as “girly” as they may be (fitness, fashion, etc).
    Of course, as with other females with tertiary Feeling, the Fe will be very visible and help promote the feminine, sociable stage persona.

    I on the hand am apart of one of the other anomaly groups, the sole “role-informative Thinkers”, the NTP’s. So what happens, is that I like the idea of people, and tend to like who they are, but not what they do (this is from the task or structure focus of the conative “iNtuitive Thinking” part of it, which I believe is the tough-minded “Choleric” that counterbalances the people-focused Sanguine or Supine).

    Hence, as I have been saying in discussions, NTP’s often are mistaken (by themselves or others) as Feelers, because of that softness or light-and-airiness in their personality.
    But if you really look at what they focus on, it is clearly technical things, or “properties of objects”, and not properties of subjects (neither themselves nor others), unless they are simply being self-conscious due to stressful situations or midlife soul searching, or whatever. I myself am going through all of this, but still sometimes shudder at the idea of being a frail, vulnerable emotional human. A Feeling type, as I understand it, would more likely embrace it.

    That NTP’s “softness” or “airiness” is coming from the P, not any F; and P, like F, will tend to be more people-focused, in one area or the other. In the NP’s case, the “airy” Ne function. But this people-focus will differ from the F’s, again, by not being focused on the subjective properties such as emotions and values, but rather simply Ne’s “openness” to ideas, rather than forcing people into some sort of external closure.

    Also, as I’ve said, this “humane” focus is what makes females, especially mothers, seem like automatic Feelers (while “normal” males would be Thinkers). Since the female has to carry, then nurse the child (and the way human society developed, usually is the one who more closely raises them), she then has to pay more attention to the human side of things with this new person she is caring for. Meanwhile, the father usually continues with the impersonal tasks of bread-winning and protecting, so thus takes on a “Thinking” role. Even without a child, “societal values”, at least in the West, retained these “traditional roles”.

    So that’s how I derived:
    T focuses on the properties of impersonal objects for making judgments
    F focuses on the properties of personal subjects for making judgments

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