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Thread: What does it mean to 'use' a function?

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    Default What does it mean to 'use' a function?

    Topic says it all.

    I'd like to hear as many opinions on this as possible. The answer to the question might seem obvious at first, but is it really...?

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    To go through the cognitive process associated with that function? For example, to use might be to imagine or envision something. Assuming it is Ni that's responsible for that role, but you see what I'm getting at.
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    I think that when we say we "use a function" we really mean we pay attention to the information that is described by the "function" label.
    For example: I more often pay attention to the information set that is labeled as Ne. At times however, I need to pay more attention to a different information set. When I attempt to describe those times when I'm using a particular information set, saying that I'm using Fi or Se or whatever is a shortcut in my communication efforts.

    Another example is "How do I function?" "I function by paying more attention to Ne and Fi information than I do other information." or "I don't function as well when I am forced to pay attention to Ti information."

    Please take into consideration though that I have issues with Model A and it's set up. So what I'm referring to when I refer to "function" may differ from what someone else is referring to when they say "function".
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    Default Re: What does it mean to 'use' a function?

    Quote Originally Posted by labcoat
    Topic says it all.

    I'd like to hear as many opinions on this as possible. The answer to the question might seem obvious at first, but is it really...?
    This is a very good topic. Yeah, it's not clearly defined. Here's my take: To use a function actually means to create in our mind or with our behavior a structure that resembles the the theoretical model that we refer to as that function. In my view, functions apply to the structure of phenomena; they are not really specifically biological. What the mind produces resembles certain things...and the functions are the names for those general patterns.

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    This is a fundamental question to understanding cognition, and therefore the higher construct of typology. The short answer is that to ‘use’ a function means your ego is directing a function consciously. It is equally important to answer what is happening with a function when it is not in ‘use’, so that we might understand better how this is different. There are many aspects to this question, but herein I will address only three: function differentiation, development and function mode.

    Jung doesn’t tell us what a function is, just their basic operation. Functions may be independent operations of the mind or roles of a single cognitive entity. Either way cognition is clearly being separated from the other constructs of the mind. Although the ego must use cognition to learn how to interact with the world, cognition is not part of the ego itself. It is not part of the personal unconscious or collective unconscious, although it uses them in the course of its work. Cognition’s natural state is neither conscious nor unconscious (Which simply means not conscious, and I do not subscribe to the suggestion that the unconscious is an entity, it is rather a state.). Different parts of cognition may be unconscious or conscious or all of it may be either at any given time.

    The mind is subject to biological variables in the same way the body is. We each develop aspects of our bodies to a certain ability, this can be degraded because of biological factors or improved. We have a maximum potential that most of us will never reach in any given area. But the level of this potential is limited by biological factors. The mind is subject to biological variables as well. There are other factors that affect cognition regardless of these biological variable.

    Each person still has two important dimensions for each function of cognition, differentiation and development. Development means how good the function is at its job. The other is how well the function is differentiated. This means how well someone can use a function, by use it is meant active conscious direction.

    Jung frequently refers to a functions as being differentiated. What determines ones primary cognitive function is the function the most differentiated by the individual. By this he means how the ego is able to see and use this one function. The ego will not be able to consciously direct, to use, functions until it differentiated them from the other function. There are multiple possibilities for people as to which functions are differentiated and to what extent relative to other functions.

    In children generally no functions are differentiated, and as children grow early in life they are generally just getting the hang of each function. They are all a little bit differentiated form each other, but none really stand out above the rest. Once children mature into their teenage years they begin to develop one function over the other, and to the expense of other. This balances itself out through someone’s life.

    According to Jung what normally happens is that one function is differentiated the most. One from an opposing attitude, extraversion and introversion, and an opposing functional purpose, rationality and irrationality, will be developed as well. Normally one is developed better than the other. However since two functions fill those requirements sometimes people may differentiated their ‘secondary’ functions equally. When that happens neither one will be differentiated as well they would be if just one had been differentiated. However, these function will still be better differentiated than the rest of the function. This eventuality does not necessarily lead to an unstable psyche in Jung’s view.

    There are abnormal, and most likely unstable, situations as well. Any combination between no functions being differentiated to all functions being differentiated to the maximum extent possible are possible. Someone being unable to consciously use any function, or consciously being able to use all functions equally, or any combination in between. Equal differentiation doesn’t mean they can be used equally well, as differentiation is not how well the functions work. This leads us to the second concept present in Jung’s cognitive function, the functions development or skill.

    It is unclear where differentiation ends and development begins. I have several thoughts on the subjects of where that boundary is, and the what development of a function could be. These are the amount a function is used, some aspect of a function that increases its ability with use, lastly something external to cognition.

    It is possible that how much a function is used will affect how well it can be used. We know that when a thinking function operates it is using one object from the consciousness. We know that is getting or forming another from contents in memory. It is possible that as function use increases the bed of material increases, giving the function a larger frame of reference to work with. It is clear that this principle is at work when we continually do related things. For instance, the most we talk about psychology the larger our context becomes. The quicker we learn new material and the easier it for us to make judgment and analysis. It isn’t clear if that is related to functions specifically.

    The development may be an increase in the abilities of the function itself, much in the same was a muscle gains strength with use the function, or cognition, itself may actually increase in ability. What could account for this or how this could work is not something I can offer any hypothesis on, simply that it is a possibility.

    My last hypothesis is the one that blurs the boundary of development and differentiation to an almost indistinguishable level. It may account for both as being the result of the same thing. This concept comes not to me from Jung, but from Piaget. Piaget’s Theory of Intelligence states that intelligence is separate from cognition. Intelligence is the result of blueprints or schemas we learn and or develop on our own that we apply to your cognitive abilities.

    These schemas allow us to use our simpler abilities to achieve more complex results. They also allow us to make sure what we are thinking is constant. These schemas would more than likely allow multiple functions to work together. The development of a function, and or differentiation, may be what schemas we have developed for a function or group of functions. Related functions could probably use similar schemas. For instance Fi and Ti, Se and Ne, Si and Ne and Fe and Te.

    Logic is most prevalent example of a schema. Logic, despite what we think, is not something that exists outsides ourselves. And most cultures in the world have very different ideas of what constitutes an acceptable formal process. Logic does seem to be tied to thinking processes, but that doesn’t mean that the thinking processes mandates our conceptualization of logic, simply that is allows it.

    Of course the variance of a functions ability, outside of the aforementioned biological factors, may be none some or all of these proposals. I believe the my last comment of Piaget’s Theory of Intelligence is something that is actually occurring, although it may not be related to function differentiation or to function development. Regardless of the strict definitions function usage is the conscious direction of the ego on a differentiated function, whatever that maybe. This raises other questions though, such as what is happening to a function that isn’t being used?

    Jung doesn’t state when function are, or are not, in passive mode, only when they are in active mode. I believe that if a function is not being actively used passive is the default state. You cannot turn off the cognitive processes, they are running your entire life non-stop. One reason for this is that we know that functions are producing result with or without conscious direction. The most obvious sign of this is that we are constantly receiving a stream of interpreted sensory data via sensing without conscious direction, often despite internal attention.

    Sleep doesn’t seem to offer any reprieve to these processes either. Although we longer receive a lot of sensory data the processes are still at work on dreams. People ask, “what is the purpose of dreams?” This is a loaded question, it presupposes that dreams have a purpose. They may exist simply because cognition can’t be turn off while the body, or other parts of the mind such as the ego, enters sleep for another reason (I think this has obvious evolutionary advantages, as it allows us to still be able to receive some important environmental state changes even though we are not conscious.) .

    While dreaming the functions seem to be bound to the recent contents of the conscious mind. You dream about things that happened that day. You may be pulling material from the rest of your mind just as you do when awake, or with conscious direction of function, but the impotence for the cognitive functions processing is still the content of the short term memory.

    Given the nature of dreams and this sensory data I have concluded it is more than likely that all of your functions are in operation all the time. This is what Jung’s passive function mode is manifest. This is an important processes, but the ego, the entity responsible for interacting with the outside environment, needs more direct access to functions to get the needed information. This usage is active use of function.

    Active usage of functions would mean that the ego would have to know about the function (aspect of cognition), how to use it, and how to use the results. I think this is what Jung meant by ‘differentiate’. This creates a symbiotic relationship between the ego and the function. The ego absorbs the results of a function as part of its identity, and uses those results above others to build out its constructs, this include persona (personality). Based on a previously posted paper on dopamine and extraversion it seems reasonable to suggest that the brain is receiving a physical reward for, at least successful, use of preferred function in the form the neurotransmitter dopamine. Ego use function, function result allows ego to interact with environment, use reinforced.

    The explanation of function use being the ego using a function is a simple answer. But you’re right, the answer isn’t as simple as it seems. While I addressed the states of a function, I didn’t say how active use differs from passive. I didn’t say how a function is differentiated or developed. I didn’t say how a function looks to the ego, or how it uses it. That took a really long time to write…
    INTj

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    Thanks. That was one of the most informative posts on this forum yet.

    Active usage of functions would mean that the ego would have to know about the function (aspect of cognition), how to use it, and how to use the results. I think this is what Jung meant by ‘differentiate’. This creates a symbiotic relationship between the ego and the function. The ego absorbs the results of a function as part of its identity, and uses those results above others to build out its constructs, this include persona (personality).
    I'm curious about what the results of each one of the functions would be. I suppose it is to a degree self-evident that use of function is a 'process'. Fundamental to the notion of a process is the transition from one state to another. Any hints on what these states might look like for each one of the functions?

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    Well, obviously, 'state' means a definable entity at a particular moment in time - for Static types, this is their recognisition of objects in the present (their 'real' value\potential), for Dynamic types, their 'state'\definable entity is the environmental context of objects (at any moment in time), as this remains constant over time, while the objects in that environment change as a result of external factors.
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    Quote Originally Posted by labcoat
    I'm curious about what the results of each one of the functions would be. I suppose it is to a degree self-evident that use of function is a 'process'. Fundamental to the notion of a process is the transition from one state to another. Any hints on what these states might look like for each one of the functions?
    I think I understand, but to make sure I will restate your question the way I see it. Are you asking what is it that a function is producing? and or what is the internal data representation of the mind?
    INTj

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    Quote Originally Posted by Republicus
    Logic is most prevalent example of a schema. Logic, despite what we think, is not something that exists outsides ourselves. And most cultures in the world have very different ideas of what constitutes an acceptable formal process. Logic does seem to be tied to thinking processes, but that doesn’t mean that the thinking processes mandates our conceptualization of logic, simply that is allows it.
    Maybe you have a point in the other things you say, but this is completely false. Forgive me for being blunt, but I am sick an tired of relativistic bullshit like your statements above. Logic is definitely something that exists outside ourselves. Maybe we can find examples of cultures that have different ideas of what constitutes an acceptable formal process (even though I doubt it) but that is totally irrelevant. There is only one universal logic, and it is not something we have made up. It is valid in every possible world including our own. The laws of classical logic cannot be doubted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    Maybe you have a point in the other things you say, but this is completely false. Forgive me for being blunt, but I am sick an tired of relativistic bullshit like your statements above. Logic is definitely something that exists outside ourselves. Maybe we can find examples of cultures that have different ideas of what constitutes an acceptable formal process (even though I doubt it) but that is totally irrelevant. There is only one universal logic, and it is not something we have made up. It is valid in every possible world including our own. The laws of classical logic cannot be doubted.

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    I think I understand, but to make sure I will restate your question the way I see it. Are you asking what is it that a function is producing? and or what is the internal data representation of the mind?
    Yes, that is a good way of putting it.

    Or, slightly more accurate: how does each individual function affect the data representation of the mind?

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    Quote Originally Posted by labcoat
    I think I understand, but to make sure I will restate your question the way I see it. Are you asking what is it that a function is producing? and or what is the internal data representation of the mind?
    Yes, that is a good way of putting it.

    Or, slightly more accurate: how does each individual function affect the data representation of the mind?
    So you are also asking about the aggregate, how would repeated use of a function affect the mind structure and or contents?
    INTj

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    Just the contents will do. Sorry about the confusion.

    State of the contents of the mind --> function use --> new state of the contents of the mind.

    How does the old state differ from the new one?

    You'll have to excuse me for asking such penetrative questions. I'm mayoring in AI and am anxious to see what benefits socionics and jungian psychology can bring to my field. If ever I can, I want to put numbers and boolean variables to the terms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by labcoat
    I'm mayoring in AI and am anxious to see what benefits socionics and jungian psychology can bring to my field. If ever I can, I want to put numbers and boolean variables to the terms.
    I was afraid of that. I knew I wasn't only one thinking that I'll see what I can do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Republicus
    Quote Originally Posted by labcoat
    I'm mayoring in AI and am anxious to see what benefits socionics and jungian psychology can bring to my field. If ever I can, I want to put numbers and boolean variables to the terms.
    I was afraid of that. I knew I wasn't only one thinking that I'll see what I can do.
    I think Slava is trying to do something similar too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    Quote Originally Posted by Republicus
    Logic is most prevalent example of a schema. Logic, despite what we think, is not something that exists outsides ourselves. And most cultures in the world have very different ideas of what constitutes an acceptable formal process. Logic does seem to be tied to thinking processes, but that doesn’t mean that the thinking processes mandates our conceptualization of logic, simply that is allows it.
    Maybe you have a point in the other things you say, but this is completely false. Forgive me for being blunt, but I am sick an tired of relativistic bullshit like your statements above. Logic is definitely something that exists outside ourselves. Maybe we can find examples of cultures that have different ideas of what constitutes an acceptable formal process (even though I doubt it) but that is totally irrelevant. There is only one universal logic, and it is not something we have made up. It is valid in every possible world including our own. The laws of classical logic cannot be doubted.
    Yes...If two cultures' logic isn't equivalent, then they should come up with different answers to any sort of question involving scientific inquiry and complex calculations. So, for example, if another culture has a "separate" logic, and they try to do things like send people to the moon, and they actually succeed in doing those things, then we can say that their logic is actually equivalent to ours. If it were not equivalent, they would come up with different answers, which would mean that since our calculations of how to get to the moon were accurate, theirs would be inaccurate, and they wouldn't get to the moon.

    Of course, other cultures may have different priorities. They may not care to go to the moon. But if they achieve similar technological successes, then any differences in their logical procedures must be superficial, because they would have to come up with identical answers to questions in any areas where our answers have proven to be correct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan
    Quote Originally Posted by Republicus
    Quote Originally Posted by labcoat
    I'm mayoring in AI and am anxious to see what benefits socionics and jungian psychology can bring to my field. If ever I can, I want to put numbers and boolean variables to the terms.
    I was afraid of that. I knew I wasn't only one thinking that I'll see what I can do.
    I think Slava is trying to do something similar too.
    BTW...If a number of us are trying to do that, we may be more successful by working together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan
    BTW...If a number of us are trying to do that, we may be more successful by working together.
    Great minds think alike, I was pondering the same thing. Sigh there really are no original ideas are there?
    INTj

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    This is a difficult topic.... From what I can tell, our accepting functions are always attempting to effect a definite end... although this is sometimes difficult to perceive. Certainly the use of a function implies a conseqence that is only indirectly tied to the use of the following function. This phenomenon is relative to your state of mind, however, and not easy to prove.

    I suspect if we try to break down our sentences into their composite functions, and give each other criticism in regard to each other's opinions, we can come to a reasonable objective consensus.

    I've got a hunch that the functions always produce content in a definite order, and only a quarter of all the information we produce is by choice.

    Republicus:
    Great minds think alike, I was pondering the same thing. Sigh there really are no original ideas are there?
    I would call that sequence of thought ("great minds think alike") followed by ("I was pondering the same thing) and then ("there really are no original ideas are there?")

    You are obviously open to suggestions at this point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Republicus
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan
    BTW...If a number of us are trying to do that, we may be more successful by working together.
    Great minds think alike, I was pondering the same thing. Sigh there really are no original ideas are there?
    There are many ideas that already exist (to our benefit, unless you are looking for fame and ego boost) the task is to string them together in a way that will do what you want. People have been trying to rationalize their weaknesses since the begining of mankind, and even monkeykind, and fishkind. (BTW: If you are looking for fame and ego boost, then working together seems a bit ... lacking in foresite, or even malicious)

    I've already come to the conclusion that true AI isn't possible to create although as humans we can approach it with our technology. Usually most of the AI guys claim they can do it, and then give up and make a toy that looks like a person and says preprogrammed words, and then end up depressed having realized that they failed doing something that was impossible and fueled by emotions they couldn't understand or deal with. It is however a very good path for aquisition of wisdom and knowledge, but doesn't have a happy ending. Unless you are john nash, you get $1 mill and a round of aplause and maybe a thumbs up, unless you piss off the Fi people with your anti-Fi, Ti rationalizations. Then you can go home with a smile as you talk to your immaginary friends.
    -Slava


    What a great replacement for a nany

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    To add to the topic:

    I see using a function as focusing on specific mathematical aspect of the internal or external world. In social situations using a function can mean discussing the maths behind a statement, event or static, or by directing attention to a specific root context. Ie, talking about hair style, or talking about friendships,.. these things make people think about their own hair style, or their own friendships which may or may not be fruitful due to their focus or lack of focus on those aspects of their soul in relation to the world.
    -Slava


    What a great replacement for a nany

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slava
    To add to the topic:

    I see using a function as focusing on specific mathematical aspect of the internal or external world.
    That's actually pretty much exactly the way I see it. There may be biological mechanisms at work to help implement this, but ultimately it comes down to something mathematical about phenomena in general. In a sense, we look at some fluid, complex behavior and recognize certain mathematical patterns inherent in it, and we call these "functions."

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    Here is an important article : "The Semantics of the Information Elements (Summary)"

    http://www.socionics.us/works/semantics.shtml

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