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Irrational Functions


Irrationality refers to that which accords with randomity.

As I make use of this term it does not denote something contrary to reason, but something outside the province of reason, whose essence, therefore, is not established by reason. Elementary facts belong to this category, e.g. that the earth has a moon, that chlorine is an element, that the greatest density of water is found to be 4.0 centigrade. An accident is also irrational in spite of the fact that it may sustain a subsequent rational explanation. […] The irrational is a factor of existence which may certainly be pushed back indefinitely by an increasingly elaborate and complicated rational explanation, but in so doing the explanation finally becomes so extravagant and overdone that it passes comprehension, thus reaching the limits of rational thought long before it can ever span the whole world with the laws of reason.

Psychological Types, Jung

In simple terms, irrationality refers to that which is not based in reason. If reason is that which is non-accidental, ordered, and measured, irrationality is that which is accidental, contingent, and based on chance. In this way, it is most attuned to the continuous flux of reality or of the innervations from reality, simply "what happens", as well as to elementary facts divided from judgmental criteria. Jung explains, “Elementary facts come into this category; the fact, for example, that the earth has a moon, that chlorine is an element ... etc.” By way of reactions, the irrational is most natural because it is most attuned to the natural flux of events, when they react they are more disposed to stark changes in attitude or disposition, and are more prone to these changes more often.


Intuition tells us what a thing is to time.

Intuition is the wild card of Jungian typology and often pretty easy to misunderstand as in the case of Jung's typology is a more novel and unique concept. As we have the three faculties that tell us basic fundaments about reality: that a thing is, what it is, and what it is to us, but we also have to know what that thing is in context to time, which is the macro-element of this function. This is a mysterious and largely unconscious function that provides perceptions in the forms of divinations about where a thing came from and to where it is going.

It is not so simple as seeing a baseball thrown and thinking "the ball came from the pitcher and is whizzing towards the batter," it takes place on a deeper psychological level. Instead, imagine a detective who reaches his conclusions in his work according to the belief that if he simply looks at a suspects face, he can intuitively know whether or not that suspect is guilty. He is not taking the sensory, phenomenal aspect of the suspect's face, he is taking only that which is noumenal; the negative space around the literal space taken as insight. Jung calls this the "American hunch" or the extrasensory apparatus of the mind.[1]

In this way, intuition may appear like all of the other functions in some form, hence why it is a wild card. It can appear like Thinking in its conclusory and insightful nature, it can appear like Feeling in its implicit nature, and it can appear like sensation in its extrasensory aspects.


  • Irrational
  • Implicit


Sensation tells us that a thing is.

Sensation is concerned with the concrete, realistic details. It is concerned with given information. That is, information that is specified and explicit. So overall, sensation is a focus on the concrete reality of things. It is similar to Thinking in that it deals with particulars. This is the function in which sensory aestheticism and bodily stimuli is most appreciated.

Sensation, or sensing, is that psychological function which transmits a physical stimulus to perception. It is, therefore, identical with perception. Sensation must be strictly distinguished from feeling, since the latter is an entirely different process, although it may, for instance, be associated with sensation as ‘feeling-tone’. Sensation is related not only to the outer stimuli, but also to the inner, i.e. to changes in the internal organs.

Primarily, therefore, sensation is sense-perception, i.e. perception transmitted via the sense organs and ‘bodily senses’ (kinæsthetic, vaso-motor sensation, etc.). On the one hand, it is an element of presentation, since it transmits to the presenting function the perceived image of the outer object; on the other hand, it is an element of feeling, because through the perception of bodily changes it lends the character of affect to feeling, (v. Affect). Because sensation transmits physical changes to consciousness, it also represents the physiological impulse. But it is not identical with it, since it is merely a perceptive function. [1]


  • Irrational
  • Explicit


[1] Jung, C. G. (1923). Psychological types: Or, The Psychology of Individuation.



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