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Monday, 21 March 2016

Aristotle (LIE): Personality Type Analysis

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist known for his carefully detailed observations about nature and the physical world, which laid the groundwork for the modern study of biology. He was born around 384 BCE in the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia where his father was the royal doctor. He arguably grew up to become the most influential philosopher ever, with modest nicknames like the 'the master' and 'the philosopher'. His first big job was tutoring Alexander the Great (SLE), who soon after conquered the known world. Aristotle then headed off to Athens, worked with Plato (IEI) for a bit, then branched out on his own. He founded a little school called the Lyceum. French secondary schools - 'the lycees' - are named in honor of this venture. 
Aristotle was notably dry and practical, he sought to give advice on how to complete a specific task with efficiency. As such, he formulated a collection of helpful explanations on a variety of topics. Aristotle was fundamentally interested in how things worked and sought useful explanations that accurately described the objective world. For Aristotle, philosophy was more about practical wisdom, asking rigorous questions that were designed to achieve a specific product or answer. Aristotle was also primarily drawn towards deductive reasoning through the limitation of possibilities, focusing on a general topic and narrowing it down by deconstructing systems until only the indisputable facts could be measured and eventually become accepted as common knowledge. Aristotle's very assiduous productivity is best reflected in his various works; 'Posterior Analytics', 'Rhetoric, Metaphysics', 'Politics', 'The Poetics' and 'The Generation of Animals' that all described Aristotle's preference for explaining functionality of the external environment pragmatically. The following information mentioned above is applicable to the inherent strength and confidence towards P1.

Aristotle was fairly critical of innovative philosophy and dismantled the esoteric reasoning of other individuals and treated unusual ideas in Aristotle's criteria of applicability and practicality. He also ardently discarded any sort of 'useless speculation' and focused on the evaluation of information independently by referring to the reliability of its source. This is a very Gamma (P/R) approach towards evaluating information from it's source and removing any virtually useless information that does not fit into Aristotle's perspective on what is clearly measurable.

Like a lot of people, Aristotle was struck by the fact that the best argument doesn't win the debate or battle. He wanted to know why this happens and what we can do about it. He had lots of opportunity for observations: in Athens, lots of decisions were made in public meetings (often in the Agora - the town square) and the orators would vie with one another to sway popular opinion. Aristotle plotted the ways audiences and individuals are influenced by many factors that don't strictly engage with logic or the facts of the case. More serious individuals like Plato couldn't stand when one's hyped up emotionality completely deviated from the internal consistency of one's valid argument, deciding to avoid the marketplace and populist debate. Aristotle was much more ambitious, he invented the art of what we still call today, rhetoric - the art of getting people to agree with you. He wanted thoughtful, serious and well-intentioned people to learn how to be persuasive - to reach those who don't agree already. He makes these keen observations that you have to recognize, acknowledge and sooth people's fears, seeing the emotional side of the issue and taking in account by navigating around the interlocutor's insecurities in a debate. This is consistent with E3, manifesting as a reluctance to give false impressions or distort information with hyped emotionality and focusing on more on the direct transmission of factual information.

Aristotle was a highly productive and assiduous philosopher who wasn't disposed towards thinking motionlessly under a tree, he was constantly traveling and fulfilling his potential by educating the known world. He contributed to almost every field of human knowledge then in existence and he was the founder of many new fields of research. Aristotle neglected matters related to aesthetics and relaxation, preferring to reduce the amount of time for rest in favor of more productive activities. This fits well with S4, paying very little attention towards the aesthetics of the environment in his works and adopting a far more practical approach to that analyzed the functionality of the environment. Aristotle lived a very busy and productive lifestyle, rarely finding moments for rest and always being absorbed in something productive or informative in his spare time

Fascinatingly, Aristotle was deeply interested in ethics, more specifically in the case of what could be demonstrated to be a morally correct or incorrect course of action. Aristotle analyzed an important factor that makes people lead happy and successful lives, he suggested that good and successful people possess distinct virtues. Aristotle additionally proposed that we should get better at identifying what these qualities are, so that we can nurture them in ourselves and honor them in others. Aristotle further elaborates on the concept of what makes people happy by drawing up a table of how these qualities manifest in others; the Deficiency-mean-excess model presented in the 'Nichomachean Ethics'. We can't change our behavior in any of these areas just at the drop of a hat, but change is possible, eventually. "Moral goodness is the result of habit." and it takes time, practice and encouragement. Aristotle thinks that people who lack virtue should be understood as unfortunate rather than wicked. What the "morally corrupt" need is not scolding or being thrown in prison, but better teachers and more guidance. He was also very drawn to the concept of source integrity or intellectual honesty in the communication of measurable data. However, Aristotle was far more inclined to collect objective, factual data rather than formulate his own subjective observations about a subject. This is very consistent with R5 in how Aristotle sought guidance in others to confirm that he was following the ethical set of principles that he had his followers write for him.

In Aristotle’s logic, the basic ingredients of reasoning are given in terms of inclusion and exclusion relations, of the sort graphically captured many years later by the device of Venn diagrams. He begins with the notion of a patently correct sort of argument, one whose evident and unassailable acceptability induces Aristotle to refer to is as a ‘perfect deduction’. Aristotle seeks to exploit the intuitive validity of perfect deductions in a surprisingly bold way, given the infancy of his subject: he thinks he can establish principles of transformation in terms of which every deduction can be translated into a perfect deduction. He contends that by using such transformations we can place all deduction on a firm footing. This is a very P oriented perspective on L, in that Aristotle's reasoning was oriented towards getting things to work. I would say this conclusively fits L7 in respect to P1.

Furthermore, Aristotle's works covered a very broad range of subjects in the scope of external applicability. This included physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government; all of which build upon the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. Aristotle primarily accumulated knowledge that had usefulness and purpose that applied to a very wide variety of different subjects. This consistently makes sense for Aristotle to have strong and bold P and I, yet as previously mentioned sets a better example for Gamma quadra rather than Alpha quadra. As a result, I find that I8 is very likely for Aristotle, especially considering his methods of selecting only useful information and disregarding the extraneous data.

Thus far what has been mentioned about Aristotle clearly points towards P1, E3, S4, R5, L7 and I8. In conclusion, I believe Aristotle is a very good representative of the LIE type of information metabolism.

To learn more about LIE, click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.

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