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Wow, talking about missing the point. The idea is that the Myers-Briggs personality test is bunk because it has two options for each category, when people are actually along a spectrum for each category, and most people are nearer to the middle than the extremes. Right. That's actually why the Myers-Briggs scores themselves actually put people along a spectrum according to how strong each trait is, and if they're close to the middle they say to count yourself as X instead (at least the Keirsey one that anyone uses does this; I have no knowledge of the official test you have to pay for, but no one else does either unless they pay lots of money for it, and that's dumb given the free availability of the Keirsey one).

The MBTI type scale is a highly useful way of coming to understand significant aspects of other people's preferences and tendencies. The problems with it have to do with focusing on four different ways that people can really differ and not getting to some other ways people can differ, but that just means it's incomplete. The idea that it's bunk merely because the scales it introduces are a matter of degree reflects nothing but total ignorance about how the scales function (since they are indeed scales and not binary categories). It's sad that someone with the readership of Ann Althouse is helping to perpetuate such a ridiculous criticism.


I also feel it is helpful if you understand the MBTI as a tool of description rather than of definition. The score doesn't define the person, it describes them. Words are, by their abstract nature, metaphors for the real object. When I say that two objects are red, I am not saying those two objects are the same exact colour. I am describing an aspect that on an abstract categorical level they share. An INTJ and an another INTJ aren't exactly the same, because any system will invariable have incomplete parts. It doesn't make it bunk, its just the nature of language.

The thing that makes this seem so silly to me is that that's all so obvious as to be hardly worth stating, and yet people somehow oppose the test because they don't seem to think of such an obvious thing. The old Keirsey-Bates personality book and the new Keirsey temperament book bend over backwards making all these qualifications, and just about no one uses the real test. They all use the Keirsey test, with the Keirsey explanations. You have to be licensed to administer the real one.

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