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Discussion Starter #1
So, I need to write an essay about a controversial and possibly scientific claim or theory for my philosophy of science class; specifically a claim or theory concerning what in Dutch are called the 'gamma sciences', which study human behaviour and societies (for example, psychology, economics or sociology). And I chose to discuss the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a theory.

However, I need to get some good writing on the subject matter to serve as reference material; both by MBTI theorists and theorists (preferably philosophers of science) who have written about MBTI from an external scientific or philosophical perspective. Basically, the kind of literature pertaining to MBTI that I need to get my hands on falls into two types:

Type I: writings that are concerned with explaining the MBTI theory, as clearly as possible, by giving definitions of key notions such as, for example, 'cognitive functions' or 'personality types' that I can refer to. Not handbooks on how to use the theory in specific cases or books that offer a general introduction to the theory, but theoretical books that explain the MBTI from beginning to end in a systematic manner.

Type II: writings by commentators who are not themselves MBTI theorists and who have tried to assess the scientific value of MBTI, or who have used a philosophical perspective while trying to determine to what extent MBTI can be called scientific (and why it can be called scientific or not).

Do you people have any suggestions for books that I can use (of both types)?
 

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MOTM August 2012
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Start here https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=...ibrary/Developing-type-history-Jung-today.pdf you'll be lost otherwise. Also check his bibliographies (or just email him directly he'd be a good resource).

And of course I would read Psychological Types by Carl Jung (if you can the whole book not just the general description of the types in Chapter Ten) for a good foundation.

Then I'd pick up Gifts Differing by Peter Myers to get a good foundation of Myers-Briggs. You should also be familiar with a book by Harold Grant called Image to Likeness which forms the foundation for how modern type theory (called type dynamics) evolved and on that you should also be aware of Renierse and Harker's study that basically disproved it https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.capt.org/research/article/JPT_Vol69_0109.pdf

A lot of type books on amazon for instance regurgitate the same information, or the same basic tenets of off-shoots of certain theories (shadow functions, for example) and while interesting may not necessarily be the best guide for you. You'd want to keep it to MBTI and Jung and not get too caught up in some of the other things that float out there either using MBTI type codes (like David Kiersey's work -- which you will need to reference but understand that Kiersey is not MBTI) or some of the more exotic theories out there. If you don't have a good understanding any data that you reference might be misaligned to the wrong ideas (I for example would not bring in Dario Nardi's neurological research into a discussion because Nardi is not necessarily working solely within the confines of MBTI precepts).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for that post. I had already put Psychological Types on my own list, of course, but thought that it might be too old, and possibly outdated, with regard to any discussion of the MBTI in its contemporary guise (I do not even think Jung himself is counted as an MBTI theorist; just as the most important inspiration for the MBTI).

Really, the MBTI forms a rather big research program for the kind of essay I need to write, so I will have to know exactly what its core tenets are and how they are interpreted nowadays. And this is quite difficult to distil if you only have a casual interest in the MBTI, like I have had up till now. So, your help is highly appreciated.

But I do have one question regarding Keirsey. You wrote:

You'd want to keep it to MBTI and Jung and not get too caught up in some of the other things that float out there either using MBTI type codes (like David Kiersey's work -- which you will need to reference but understand that Kiersey is not MBTI) or some of the more exotic theories out there.
Now, I already knew that he is not an MBTI theorist per se, and that he is an important outside influence on MBTI theorists at best, but yet you say that I should reference him. Could you tell me why I probably need to do that? Is his influence on the MBTI that great? If so, in what way?
 

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MOTM August 2012
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It is that great actually. Myers and Kiersey collaborated quite a bit in the 1970s and it would be to fair to say that in terms of things like type descriptions and general nomenclature there is a lot of overlap (for better or worse) between what Kiersey posits in his Please Understand Me books and pre-type dynamics MBTI. Even down to little things like the casual uses of the terms NT, or NF or SJ which are so ubiquitous these days even in MBTI circles are ultimately owed to Kiersey's temperaments. To me you have to at least give some cursory reference to Kiersey's influence (if for no other reason that many people who are new to MBTI style typology don't even recognize that Kiersey isn't MBTI. To the point that when data about MBTI statistics are put out by CAPT or others, the terms SJ or NF or NT, etc are routinely used. That's how intermixed the ideas are especially when you start looking into different books on the subject. A handful of people like Lenore Thomson sort of outright reject some of Kiersey's claims and others like Linda Berens have come up with their own, but I think it would be to tough to take an honest look at MBTI today without looking at least a little at Kiersey's contribution).

The reason I linked you to Peter Geyer's site is 1) he's an expert on MBTI and Jung who has been around a while and has seen all of the trends and fads come and go with type theory but 2) he co-authored the latest MBTI so has first-hand knowledge. He'd be the first person I'd email directly with your questions. Also @Eric B on this site, I believe is a certified practitioner as well and a wealth of knowledge.
 

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But I do have one question regarding Keirsey. You wrote:


Now, I already knew that he is not an MBTI theorist per se
The Keirsey of Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II was very much an "MBTI theorist," as further explained in this post.

Please Understand Me came out in 1978 and, as Linda Berens has noted, "its popularity spread like wildfire by word of mouth only. ... On its own, it has sold over a million copies with no big publisher to market it." It was the first book to really popularize the MBTI, and is still arguably the best book to recommend to someone who only wants to read one MBTI book.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The Keirsey of Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II was very much an "MBTI theorist," as further explained in this post.

Please Understand Me came out in 1978 and, as Linda Berens has noted, "its popularity spread like wildfire by word of mouth only. ... On its own, it has sold over a million copies with no big publisher to market it." It was the first book to really popularize the MBTI, and is still arguably the best book to recommend to someone who only wants to read one MBTI book.
Well, I will look into it, but insofar as I have been informed correctly, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are related yet independent systems of assessing personality. Or do you mean to say that Keirsey contributed to the conceptualization and development of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator outside of his own work on the Keirsey Temperament Sorter? If so, I would of course like to hear more about it.
 

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Well, I will look into it, but insofar as I have been informed correctly, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are related yet independent systems of assessing personality. Or do you mean to say that Keirsey contributed to the conceptualization and development of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator outside of his own work on the Keirsey Temperament Sorter? If so, I would of course like to hear more about it.
I linked you to a post with further explanation if you want to "hear more about it."
 

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MOTM August 2012
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Especially when it comes to type descriptions I think Kiersey's influence is paramount in this discussion. He is so intrinsic to the fabric of modern MBTI, even if he doesn't, for example, go down the cognitive function road, which is where most people struggle with him in this community, I just don't think you could really ignore him.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I linked you to a post with further explanation if you want to "hear more about it."
I already said that I would look into that. There is no need to push me. Also, I said that I would like to "hear more about it" if you meant to say that he worked on MBTI outside of developing the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. However, that is not what you say in your linked post, where you say that Keirsey is "basically just an MBTI guy" and where you imply that he can be said to write about the MBTI in Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II. But that is not what I would want to "hear more about" from you, since I can judge for myself whether or not (and to what extent) I think of those books as relevant literature when discussing the MBTI. So, I really do not see how your last post is a proper response to my question in post #7 of this thread.

Thank you for presenting me with your interpretation though. I am sure I will have to consider Keirsey's role more carefully before I formulate my own opinion on his relationship to MBTI.
 

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To possibly clarify my perspective: Unlike (I guess) @LiquidLight, I'm not necessarily saying you need to read Keirsey for purposes of your paper. (Also, if you do, you might want to get ahold of the shorter PUM, rather than the longer PUM II.) I was just disagreeing with your notion (not infrequently encountered on internet forums) that the typology in PUM is essentially different from the MBTI, with just some modest overlap.

I don't think you should necessarily feel the need to read Jung either. The MBTI — including in the hands of the more function-centric modern theorists — is quite a lot less Jungian than many internet forumites seem to think. And Psychological Types is a long slog.

Isabel Myers' Gifts Differing isn't the first source I'd point to for someone who's just interested in understanding what the preferences are about and the types are like, but it's pretty good, and it's short, and it's what you might call the primary "official" source. So it may be the best "first source" for purposes of a paper like yours.
 
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