Sunday, June 7, 2009


There has been some disputation over which theory to follow: the Four Temperaments or Myers-Briggs. Obviously, Myers-Briggs has gotten more attention from the mainstream psychologists. But how did this theory come about? Why does everybody think it's more credible than the four temperaments? Well I'll tell you what I think, whether you like it or not. :-) I think that Myers-Briggs is probably the four temperaments with a facelift. Just think about it. Most of the qualities that both Myers-Briggs and the temperaments use to determine the particular person are the same. However, there could be one way in which Myers-Briggs could be it's own system. You see, the temperaments do not tell you what your personality is. They tell you what your temperament is. This temperament determines what our inclinations are and how we tend to act and what we tend to do. A lot of outside factors mold these tendencies, and our personality is a result of this molding.

Since the temperaments don't determine our entire personality and Myers-Briggs does (I think), then perhaps it could be a credible system. However, I would like to make it know that I have heard some rumors about the founder (was it more than one?) of this personality type indicator. I have heard that he was involved in some sort of occultic practices. Now, I haven't done any of my own research to confirm this, but if it were to be true then that would be a reason for scepticism.


michael j pastor said...

There shouldn't be any disputation about which theory to follow because they're essentially the same theory, just presented from different viewpoints.

With Temperament, it is presumed that the Perception mental function (either S or N) is the primary factor in sorting people between one Type and another. The MBTI doesn't presume that.

MBTI doesn't tell you what your personality is anymore than Temperaments tell you what you tend to do. The MBTI doesn't determine your total personality either.

And the rumors about the "founder" being into the occult are just that: rumors. You're probably thinking of Jung, who studied all religions and philosophies (including the ancient greek temperaments) in addition to his empirical observations. Lastly, declaring a theory invalid because of the actions or beliefs of the theoretician is called "poisoning the well" and is an invalid argument.

When you think about it, from today's perspective, aren't the ancient greeks "occultists?"

Ancient Greek Philosopher said...

Interesting insights: thanks for commenting!

I haven't really looked at a MBTI in awhile, so I guess I really don't have any business posting this. :-) But it was more for the discussion than anything else.

Like I said myself, I've always gotten the impression that MB was just the four temperaments with a facelift: probably in a different language so modern psychologists would be able to relate to it better. However, I do think (from what I remember) that MB kind of mixes the temperaments up so that they have interchangeable qualities. So it does have features that are exclusive to it.

Like I also said, I have not done any of my own research on the matter, and I think I was thinking of Jung after all. And as far as declaring the theory invalid, the jury is still out for me on whether that is grounds for a theory to be "tainted" at least (although it can give one grounds for suspicion). God can bring good out of evil persons, so that is why I have trouble with that point of view (are you Christian? I'm assuming you might be). I guess I should have written that last paragraph a little different.

Perhaps. :-) But I see them as engaging in occultic practices out of ignorance, whereas true occultists know what they are doing and wholeheartedly do it. However, I am not an expert on the subject, so don't quote me.

Everglade said...

Interesting... yes I think certain temperaments (though I'm not extremely impressed with them) correspond with certain Myers-Briggs test results. In my opinion, the test sort of divides the temperaments into more specific sub-temperaments. (What you said about interchangeable qualities seems spot-on) It sheds light on the variances within the temperaments, which has always been one of my qualms with the temperaments.(people are so different, they can't possibly be divided into only one of four groups)

Though sometimes I think the MB test could have even more results, because when I looked at the descriptions of the MB possibilities, I saw my characteristics in many of the categories.

You really should take the test and post your results!