• On the correct understanding of dichotomy Logic/Ethics in Socionics

    On the correct understanding of logic and ethics
    Written by Aleksei Trehov and Pavel Tsypin.


    See also:
    On the Correct Understanding of Dichotomy Intuition-Sensing by Trehov and Tsypin
    On the Correct Understanding of Dichotomy Rationality-Irrationality by Trehov and Tsypin
    On the Correct Understanding of Dichotomy Extroversion-Introversion by Trehov and Tsypin



    -Why do you use epithets? A detective must express himself by verbs and nouns, she said.
    "Seventeen Moments of Spring"

    -Could he be a cunning professional?
    -No! A cunning professional would not have gone to the shelter!

    "Seventeen Moments of Spring"


    Abstract: Typical errors in understanding the logic/ethics dichotomy are examined. Another definition of this dichotomy is provided.

    The understanding of the Reinin-Augustinavichiute dichotomies by different researchers can differ up to complete contrast. Furthermore, the abundance of popular literature and the absence of textbooks lead to a poor popular understanding. The authors consider it necessary to rectify the interpretations of the dichotomies of Socionics and to give them clearer definitions. We decided to begin a cycle of articles on this subject starting with dichotomy of Logic and Ethics.

    Let us look at how Logic/Ethics dichotomy is represented in the Socionics literature:

    "Our psyche analyzes information connected to time (for which it relies on intuition), space (by which sensing is occupied), matter (for which logic is responsible) and energy (which is the constituency of ethics)." [3, p.25]

    Here, fundamental objections don't come up; however, it seems necessary that the terms "matter" and "energy" need further explication, that would allow for appropriate understanding of these terms in relations to Socionics.

    Another example:

    "Logical thinking is built upon the evaluations of the parameters of objects and the correlations of their qualities. There exist laws, rules, and norms – these are the pillars of logical thinking." .. "Ethical thinking has a completely different nature. It avoids cold calculation and weighing judgements on weights of reason, i.e. what is less veritable or just. When making valuation, an ethical type is guided by the advice of the heart. Ethics legalizes for itself the right to subjectivism. Ethics does not burden itself with proofs." [4, p.102-103]

    This interpretation is very objectionable in several ways. First of all, how can ethical thinking have a "different nature" if it is, like logical thinking, also an aspect of rational judgment? Furthermore, who would discover and analyzes the laws, rules, and norms of psychological and social development? There the topics deal directly with people’s needs and potentials; is this not a field of study that falls into the sphere of ethical thinking? Finally, what is this "advice of the heart"? Socionics and socionics types, after all, are about the processing of information by the human intellect. What does the heart have to do with anything on the subject? An ethical type thinks with his head just like a logical type does; he has no different organ for this. And both logical and ethical types feel with their heart (not to be confused with the "heart" in the cardiological sense).

    Other definitions originate from the book of E. Rumyantsev:

    "Logic is the cognitive function of the psyche of a person, which processes information and makes decisions objectively and impartially."
    "Ethics is the mental function of subjective judgment or valuation, involving the inner, sincere/soulful world of people." [6, p.186-188]

    The assumption of "incorrigible" subjectivity of ethics is completely unclear. It would thus follow that roughly half of all people -- ethical types -- think inadequately about all matters (that is, they think subjectively). What would happen, then, if an ethical type would take up thinking on something of objective and scientific importance? Let us repeat -- ethics is just as rational an aspect as logic, and its subjectivity does not logically follow from anything. In addition, what is this "sincere/soulful inner world of people", and how does one descend into it? In what realm does this world exist? How does an ethical type enter it? What exactly does he do? Is he some kind of "clairvoyant of peoples' souls"? This cannot be talked about seriously!

    "The main motivations behind actions of [ethical] types are personal motives, but not business interests." [5, p.180]
    "In logicians reason and principles prevail above relations. In their intentions such people try to rely on facts, to be objective and impartial in the estimations of the qualities of those around them. [5, p.181]

    Here ethics is presented as some "gradient of stupidity". And honestly, what else can you say of a person who is unable to respect business interests and rely on facts when analyzing reality, and who is always subjectively biased? In reality, an ethical type is as much a "person of business" as a logical type. Ethics also intensively pursues its business interests and isn’t any more foolish (in the everyday sense) than logic. The difference is in what set of instruments the person predominantly uses: logical or ethical. For example, in the search for work or in attempts at promotion, ethical type is inclined to rely on acquaintances and connections in greater measure than his or her own professionalism (however high it actually is). Any logical type would envy this ability to objectively estimate the real, ethical potential and possibilities of one's acquaintances and assistants. Thus, the sanity and soundness of a person's judgment does not at all depend on belonging to one of the poles of the Logic/Ethics dichotomy.

    If we return to the last quoted phrase from the book of Meged and Ovcharov, the contradiction is noticeable: "the evaluation of the qualities of people around them" is a purely ethical process, during which it is the person of logical type that gravitates towards arbitrariness and non-objectivity. A person of ethical type, meanwhile, is less prone to making mistakes in the "human analysis", though he finds it harder to work with inanimate material objects.

    Finally, according to [8]:

    "Logical types are certain that cause-effect connections exist objectively in the world. Meaning for them is a real concept; it could be present or absent from each specific statement or assertion. Thus, a logical type can always distinguish intelligent assertions from senseless ones.

    Ethical types ... subconsciously hope that it would be possible with strong wish or desire to change the circumstances, simply ignore the facts or draw any kinds of conclusions from them. The main thing is presence of someone for whom it would be worthwhile to formulate things in such manner, or a strong desire to see and set things in that way."

    A number of questions arise after reading this: so is the person of ethical type unaware and unacknowledging of the existence of cause-effect relationships in this world? Do people of ethical types not recognize the laws of physics or biology? [Do they fail these classes in school?] Show us such a person! Where is he? Furthermore, it follows from the quoted text that the person of logical type is a normal, sensible, reasonable person who recognizes objective reality. By contrast, a person of ethical type is utterly subjective, at all times, no matter what he is considering and thinking about. It's impossible to agree with such assertions.

    Interestingly, C. G. Jung associated the tendency towards objectivity not with Logic/Ethics dichotomy but with another dichotomy – the E/I-vertness:

    "Introverted types differ from extroverted in the fact that they are oriented predominantly not on the object and not on objective data, but on subjective factors. In an introvert, between the perception of an object and its own action there is a subjective opinion, which prevents the action from acquiring an objective nature." [9, p.415]
    "If a man so thinks, feels, and acts, in a word so lives, as to correspond directly with objective conditions and their claims, whether in a good sense or ill, he is extroverted." [9, p. 371].
    "As a result of the general attitude of extroversion, thinking is orientated by the object and objective data." [9, p.380]
    "Feeling in the extroverted attitude is orientated by objective data, i.e. the object is the indispensable determinant of the kind of feeling. It agrees with objective values." [9, p.394]
    "Intuition as the function of unconscious perception is wholly directed upon outer objects in the extroverted attitude." [9, p.407]
    "Introverted thinking is primarily orientated by the subjective factor." [9, p.422]
    "Intuition, in the introverted attitude, is directed upon the inner object, a term we might justly apply to the elements of the unconscious." [9, p.442]

    Generally speaking, it is possible to hear from many socionists that it is only logical types who are capable of being completely objective, whereas ethical types are allegedly doomed to lifelong subjectivity in all questions. Our conceptions are completely different.

    First of all, the tendency towards objectivity is not solely a Socionics factor, but depends on person's mental and cultural levels, i.e. it is a personal quality that is not exclusively attributable to any TIM. One often meets classical (and very "strong") logical types, whose judgments in any matters are completely subjective.

    These attempts to depict ethical types as defective in questions of objectivity reverses Aushra's discovery, turns it inside out. The Socionic nature of society is expressed in that both poles of any dichotomy are objectively in demand.

    From the point of view of Socionics, "the phenomenon of human objectivity" can be divided into logical and ethical objectivity. The realization/implementation of these different forms of objectivity is tied to differences in the objects [or targets] of logic and ethics. To put it simply, a logical type is inclined to be objective when evaluating material objects and characterizing the laws of their existence. An ethical type in his turn is inclined to be objective when estimating the qualities of people (and other living beings) and in his or her understanding of the laws of interactions in society (and all of its subdivisions, including familial relations). For example, there are numerous objective psychological reasons built into the theories of economics, while fields of marketing and personnel management rest for the most part upon these laws.

    Our understanding

    A more correct approach would be to completely omit the word "objectivity" from the definitions of this dichotomy. It would be more to differentiate their definitions: a logical type has a more nuanced understanding of external circumstances when it comes to questions of "what?" and "how?"; an ethical type focuses on internal circumstances and questions such as "for what?" and "why?"

    We read in [2]:

    "...People of logical types are occupied by exogenous processes and exogenous relations, while people of ethical types are occupied with no less objective endogenous processes and endogenous relations. The former study exogenous processes and explain their external circumstances; the latter - endogenous processes and explain their internal circumstances; that is, their inclinations, needs, and attractive forces."

    Let us give a definition:

    Logic is the tendency to appeal to reasoning and data analysis in terms of material (inert, inanimate) aspects of phenomena;
    Ethics is the tendency to appeal to reasoning and data analysis in terms of energy (animated) aspects of phenomena.

    Let us give some examples.

    A logical type when he or she is using some thing thinks primarily about its effectiveness and functionality. A car must move, not break down and so on, that is, to carry out its functions; a computer must work, etc. A person of logical type will not sell or exchange a thing only because it has gone out of fashion. However, for the ethical type the prestige and modernity of a thing is an argument in its own right. For an ethical type, following fashion is an instance of recognizing social expectations (rules, norms) to which ethical person is usually sensitive. For a logical type a person is defined through their action; a logical type won't go into the motivations behind someone's behavior. For an ethical type, however, these motives are very important; quite frequently they are important in themselves, irrespective of their connection to the actual behavior. The ethical type is interested in knowing the reason, even if the act did not concern him or her directly. This is one of the reasons behind the natural attraction of ethical types to the field of psychology.

    Ethics is capable of giving a comprehensive analysis of the motivation of the actions of people and groups. This form of judgement is irreplaceable for judicial and law work. It has been noted that ethical types as a whole are much more inclined to self-reflection than logical types; ethical types are more inclined to mentally put themselves in the place of another person, and to attempt to understand their internal motivations.

    Logical judgement is, on the whole, more evident, since it covers material (noticeable) aspects, whereas ethical judgement requires time to verify its statements. For example, if the matter concerns evaluation of working potential of a person. When an ethical type makes such evaluation only time will show whether this evaluation was correct. It would seem that such "delay" doesn't decrease the value of ethical evaluations. Unfortunately, in our times only logical analysis is currently in demand, which undoubtedly impoverishes society and even casts it behind is some fields.

    Possible confusions

    From our definition it follows that logical types feel naturally confident in the spheres of material production, technology, equipment, and exact sciences. Not infrequently they creatively consider the laws and regularities of the material-object world, of the inanimate world where there is no concept of "personal motives". For a logical type, expediency and effectiveness are of priority, and, from their point of view, human relations can be scarified in serve of these "sacred cows". The logical type is a person of matter, impersonal technology; he or she lives by the principle "the aircraft comes first, and the girls - that's for later!" An ethical type, on the contrary, is worried primarily about what other people think of him, how they evaluate his actions. For a positive opinion of others around him, he is capable of completely disregarding the interests of a matter.

    It is necessary to distinguish Socionics Logic from a common concept of "everyday logic". The latter can be represented with socionics terms as a trinomial unity [7]:

    Si + Te + Fi

    The phrase "everyday logic", circulating in society, is associated with the following assertions:

    * a person who has "everyday logic" knows how to take care of himself or herself - how to prepare food, how to do laundry, how to choose clothing, what items and are required for daily life. This is the sphere of influence of Si .
    * the "everyday logical" person must have good judgement and discernment in financial matters, be familiar with technology, know how to work in some kind of "objective" rhythm (for example, from 9am to 6pm), be capable of coordinating his own activities and activities of other people, be dynamic and quick to mobilize. All of this is the sphere of Te .
    * finally, a real "everyday logical" person must be capable of adequately interacting with people around him, to be competent in interpersonal and collective situations, to be sociable, friendly, able to go for reasonable compromise, or, alternatively, to irreconcilably defend his own values and principles. It is evident that the above is related to element of Fi .

    Thus, the person who has "everyday logic" is not necessarily a logical type in socionics sense. Frequently, such "everyday logician" is of (Si:Fe), (Fi:Se), (Te:Si), or (Ne:Fi) TIMs.

    Socionics "Ethics" has little in common with the traditional concept of ethical behavior and ethical talk. In reality, socionics ethical types don't always consider it necessary to adhere to accepted ethical standards of behavior; in consequence of which they may be considered as "unethical" by people around them. This is because a person in possession of strong ethics (in socionics sense) relates to social and ethical standards of behavior with greater degrees of freedom; he or she can invent new rules for social interactions, a "new order" or "new approach"; and therefore be seen by others as rude - a disturber of etiquette and ethical canons.

    A typical socionics logical type, on the contrary, is often ethical from the point of view of commonly accepted ethical standards, that is, he/she tries to strictly adhere to the unwritten rules of interaction. Why does he/she do this? Because he/she feels uncertain and inadequate in the sphere of interaction with people. The logical type fears doing anything incorrect and disclosing his ethical incompetence by a wrong actions or word; therefore, he holds onto objectively existing norms of social communication.

    Ethical type, in communication, receives maximum amount of information on nonverbal channels: observing body language and poses, facial expressions and mimicry, movement of the eyes, emotions, and even respiration rates of their conversation partner. Logical type, as a rule, is not as successful at this; a person of such type prefers to obtain information directly through written or spoken words.

    For a logical type it is more difficult to understand the connections between people and groups. It is easier to formulate new natural laws, or invent new technical devices. An ethical type, to the contrary, is not in such friendly terms with "“inanimate technology"; he is wary of it, uses it with care, fearing do something wrong and break it; however, in the sphere of human relations and associated sciences, ethical type feels much more freedom and can even be the generator of new ideas and the creator of new theories of psychological or economic directivity.

    Ethics and emotionality

    "Ethical type is a person of emotion, but does not necessarily manifest his or her feelings outwardly." [12]

    For manifestations of emotions and their analysis, the aspect of Fe is responsible. The aspect of Fi – we want to emphasize this especially – is not connected to emotionalism. It examines such questions as ethical initiatives and analyzes interpersonal as well as group relationships; this aspect is tightly connected to psychology.

    Emotional manifestation depends on the following factors:

    1. The place of Fe in Model A.
    2. Temperament (energy exchange levels) of the person.
    3. Individual qualities.

    From this it follows that:

    1. The most emotional types are (Fe:Ni) and (Fe:Si) since their Fe is 4-dimensional and is not dependent on any other functions. However, they are fully capable of controlling their emotions (at least within some limits). They can hold their emotions inside for a long period of time – until there is an informational signal from Ni or Si , respectively.

    Quite outwardly emotional are both (Te:Ni) and (Te:Si) TIMs due to their normative (role) Fe . Fe as accepting function grants the largest intensity of expressed emotions than as producing one.

    2. The linear-energetic temperament (EJ) yields the maximum amount of emotionality, followed by the flexible-mobile (EP), balanced-stable (IJ) and receptive-adaptive (IP) temperaments [10], [11]. The priority of emotionality for balanced-stable (IJ) temperament over receptive-adaptive (IP) temperament is accounted for by the accepting Fe and stability of his own energetic manifestations.

    3. The psycho-energetic traits of a person can be such that even having TIM with weak Fe , such a person exhibits powerful, long-lasting, intensive emotional manifestations. It is also possible for individuals of TIMs (Fe:Ni) or (Fe:Si) to manifest emotions very modestly for long periods of time. Let us note that most frequently such personalities have subtypes intuitive-logical in case of (Fe:Ni) and sensory-logical in case of (Fe-Si).

    Conclusion: the emotional manifestations of people and their analysis are related to the socionics category of "ethics." However, socionics ethics is in no way identical to emotionality. Socionics ethics is a rational analysis of reality, only tangentially and not always related to emotions. In particular, Aushra has said (according to S. Kashnitsky), having (Fi:Se) TIM in mind:

    "Ethics is relationships and not emotions. Clyde is not emotional at all, but he is an excellent diplomat."

    The question of identification

    During verbal typing it is necessary to keep in mind, that an ethical type can methodically and logically discuss many things and phenomena of reality, particularly those that are related to the people and their interactions. It is even possible to say that ethics is the logic of social communication and behavior. With regards to this kind of logic, ethical types perform well. A person of an ethical type is fully capable of solving simple problems in the field of exact sciences; however, he or she never feels fully confident being occupied by such subjects as mathematics or chemistry on professional level.

    Accordingly, logical types find it difficult to understand many aspects of the development of society, and, consequently, many of the regularities and laws governing economic theory and many other scientific disciplines, which, at first glance, seem thoroughly "logical"(although, naturally, a logical type is capable of being occupied by them at a professional level). It is reasonable to note that logic is the ethics of interrelations in the material (inanimate) world.

    The following fact is interesting and important for type identification: logic in ethical types is normative, and therefore they are highly concerned with "logicalness" of their thoughts and actions. In order to substantiate their actions, they frequently rely on elements of formal logic by making references to "authority", laws, rules, and other "indisputable" sources [10]. Let us note that formal logic is the most easily accessible "logical tool", and for this very reason it enjoys great success with the more "advanced" ethical types.

    Aushra wrote:

    "The logic of all socionics ethical types is normative. They strictly carry out all logical norms, and it is of importance to them what is scientific or at least generally accepted and proven, because they neither discover nor develop any new logical relationships, methods, or approaches. Within their own logical reasoning, they are very careful and are never assured of its flawlessness. For this same reason, the scope of their logical interests is quite wide; they read up on various topics more so than logical types and are good story-tellers of the scientific truths. Conversely, logical types are often erudite in cultural, humanistic, and artistic literature, which grants them the ability to understand ethical standards." [1, p.141]

    A logical type frequently has no need in relatively primitive formal substantiations for his actions; he uses meaningful, substantiated logical arguments, and relates critically to authorities.

    Generally speaking, the identification of this dichotomy is complex, since the majority of intellectually developed people in mature age acquire many qualities of the opposite pole of this dichotomy (logical types develop their ethical side, and vice versa). Out of the entire Jungian basis, Logic/Ethics dichotomy is the most diluted during typing and maximally subjected to developmental advancement or partial reprogramming.


    Literature and references:

    1. Augustinavichiute A. Соционика: Введение / Сост. Л. Филиппов. М. – СПб., АСТ, 1998.
    2. Augustinavichiute A. Theory of the Reinin Dichotomies // Socionics, Mentology and Personality Psychology, №3, 1998.
    3. Горенко Е. А., Толстиков В. И. Природа собственного «я». – М.: Армада-пресс, 2001.
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    5. Meged V. V., Ovcharov A. A. Характеры и отношения. – М.: Армада-пресс, 2002.
    6. Румянцева Е. А. На пути к взаимопониманию: соционика – учителям и родителям. – М.: Армада-пресс, 2002.
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    8. Удалова Е. А. Уроки соционики, или Самое главное, чему нас не научили в школе / Е. А. Удалова, Л. А. Бескова. – М.: Астрель, 2003.
    9. C.G. Jung Psychological Types / Пер. с нем.; Под общ. ред. В. В. Зеленского. – Мн.: ООО «Попурри», 1998.
    10. Viktor Gulenko Структурно-функциональная соционика: Разработка метода комбинаторики полярностей. – К.: Транспорт Украины, 1999. –Ч.1.
    11. Меньшова Т. И., Цыпин П. Е., Лёвин И. В. Секреты типирования. – М.: Доброе слово, 2004.
    12. Ekaterina Filatova Соционика для всех. Б&K, 1999.


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