The Premise

“The history of philosophy is to a great extent that of a certain clash of human temperaments. Undignified as such a treatment may seem to some of my colleagues, I shall have to take account of this clash and explain a good many of the divergences of philosophers by it. Of whatever temperament a professional philosopher is, he tries, when philosophizing, to sink the fact of his temperament. Temperament is no conventionally recognized reason, so he urges impersonal reasons only for his conclusions. Yet his temperament really gives him a stronger bias than any of his more strictly objective premises. It loads the evidence for him one way or the other, making for a more sentimental or hard-hearted view of the universe, just as this fact or that principle would. He trusts his temperament. Wanting a universe that suits it, he believes in any representation of the universe that does suit it. He feels men of opposite temper to be out of key with the world’s character, and in his heart considers them incompetent and ‘not in it,’ in the philosophic business even though they may far excel him in dialectical ability.” — William James

Like William James and his colleagues “in the philosophic business,” we “trust our temperament,” and “want a universe that suits it.” But also like his philosophic colleagues, when we interact with our colleagues, we try “to sink the fact” of our temperament. But, alas, and again like James’ colleagues, our temperament gives us “a stronger bias” than our “objective premises.” Yet more, we are prone to look upon those differing from us in being “of opposite temper” as “out of key.”

Though we may prefer to be seen as “objective” by pointing to “this fact or that principle” as our reason for pursuing a particular agenda, our temperament inexorably inclines us toward using particular methods to achieve particular results.

About Keirsey

Dr. David Mark Keirsey is a scientist that is interested in how and why the world works. The first half of his professional career was as a Computer Scientist, specializing in Artificial Intelligence. Notably, he was part of a team who created the software for the first operation of an autonomous cross-country robotic vehicle. In the current latter part of his career, he has broaden his interest to include all of science, mathematics, computation, and the history and future of the world. His plan is to write at least three books, two of which are tentatively called Mathematics Itself and Existence Itself. The third is a book on Leadership. Currently he is part of a web-based company, to develop interactive team and human personality tools based on his father's best-selling work on human temperament. He is a Architect Rational in temperament.
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2 Responses to The Premise

  1. David Keirsey says:

    Reblogged this on Please Understand Me and commented:

    The Premise of Temperament

  2. goodrumo says:

    Reblogged this on iheariseeilearn and commented:
    The Premise

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