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Discussion Starter #1
I'll try to keep this as short as possible to start off and then try to respond to the concerns of the responders.

What is a dichotomy? It is something that is either/or, on/off, or black/white - binary in options. One often described dichotomy in the MBTI world is the "letters" that make up one's MBTI type. Either you are E or I, N or S, F or T, and J or P. Thinking of it like that offers no shades of gray. It is a fairly efficient reduction of one's personality characteristics into a code that could be stored on a half of a computer byte. And from this code you can predict a whole number of things about a person. It's no Holy Grail but being such a rough binary reduction into dichotomies offers it a lot of practical value, and one only has to learn about 16 different type codes. And there is a significant amount of empirical research which allows for future predictions at various levels of confidence simply based on results of a short test.

How do you type yourself using the letters method? The official way is just to take a short test, and then your result has a tight connection to empirical research. I'd probably get INTP for example, and then I could read a lot about things tailored to people vaguely similar to me, as well as give people a good idea of what to expect before they even know me. This can arguably be helpful for work environments, and a lot of businesses do use MBTI to improve communication.

And another great thing about codes built of these 4 dichotomies is that they can be taken apart and viewed as individual entities containing information, just as easily as they were put together from 4 individual entities into a full MBTI code. So assuming I am INTP, I could say a bunch of statements each with meaning behind them:
I'm Introverted
I'm Intuitive
I'm Thinking
I'm Perceiving
and... any combination of these like I'm Introverted and Perceiving (IP), or NT, or NTP, or whatever.

These letters are highly flexible in how they can be used, and as most research shows, they may not be extremely predictive of stuff, but at least there is data to show just how predictive are letter combinations obtained from MBTI tests.

Keeping things simple with single letter comparisons, you can think of N vs S. There are a lot of demonstrable differences between the average person who gets N and the average person who gets S.

I'm not one to overestimate the significance of letters - I would rather just let the data speak for itself - but what I will do, and often strongly, is defend letter dichotomies being superior to function axes, which I basically see as an inferior version of letter dichotomies.

First of all, function axes are not any more nuanced or less binary than letter dichotomies when it comes to drawing lines. In fact, they are even more binary as the use of them in typology almost necessitates a binary approach, whereas with letters you can look at the letters as shades of gray more easily.

Instead of working with dichotomies like "either you are N or S" instead you are working with dichotomies like "either you are Ne/Si or Se/Ni". It's still a dichotomy and I don't see people really say "I have a weak Ne/Si preference over Se/Ni". It's like you have to be one or the other. The dichotomy is strict. But what is the practical use of even trying to figure out if you are one or the other? Where is any data showing things that NPs share in common with SJs, while NJs and SPs are on the opposite side?

Yet I see people constantly hating on “the dichotomies” while using different dichotomies which just seem comparatively useless. When I hear “intuitive” or “N” I have a strong idea of what people are talking about. When I hear “Se-Ni axis” I just see a malleable blob that can mean many things to many people, and certainly has no evidence behind itself as a useful concept.

My post is meant to be specific to the use of function axes within a typology context. I do feel like developing areas where you are weak, is useful, and that there are function systems which can produce useful typology results. But I would just like to focus on the axis part.
 
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