Speaking anecdotally, it's been my experience that logicians have the best senses of humor, metaphysicians tend to a little pomposity and lot of wine, philosophy-of-language types are a little oversensitive to rules, and ethics students have the most fun. Though not a psychological disposition per se, philosophy of mind appears to require long hair - either huge beards or unkempt manes.

The question's a bit of fun on my part, but I hope ultimately pragmatic: Have there been any published attempts to relate personality types to fields of study in philosophy? Better yet, are there any robust attempts to recommend a discipline based on some kind of psychological profile? All this is to really ask - is there a way to judge, prior to study and determining one's interests a posteriori "which field of philosophy is best for me?"

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    I guess I'm just not sure about the urgency behind attempting to identify psychosocial types with philosophical branches -- can you tell us a little more about why this might have become interesting to you? – Joseph Weissman Dec 30 '12 at 18:00
  • Conferences and cocktail parties. As I said, there's a pragmatic concern you can take away from the question, if you want to actually interact with other philosophers in your course of work. Conversation is aided by a little lightheartedness from time to time, and one could see this as at least sufficing as the equivalent of asking someone their horoscope to break the ice. However, if there's actually a study like this to be found, wouldn't anyone engaged in, or planning to be engaged in postgraduate studies find it interesting? – Ryder Dec 30 '12 at 21:16
  • +1 for an entertaining and interesting question. Possibly, it's the philosophy that creates the psychological type? – Mozibur Ullah Jan 3 '13 at 21:22

This reminds me of the old Fichte line that the " sort of philosophy one chooses depends on what sort of person one is."

I 've never heard of any attempts to correlate psychological profiles with areas of study, the closest thing which comes to mind is the philpapers.org surveys done in 2009 linking stances and areas of speciality to demographics. From personal experience I have observed that 'dispositions [often] fit positions'.

One point that's hard not to make in relation to the question is that many philosophers (and modern day psychologists) assume a degree of maleability in the psychological traits of persons. Philosophy as a practical enterprise (Greek philosophy in particular comes to mind) is often itself viewed as a means of altering what could loosely be construed as one's psychological type.

  • Interesting. I read somewhere that liberals and conservatives tend to have certain psychological profile. I would venture to say that those who like to study philosophy tends to be introverted, self-conscious and shy, and more susceptible to sleep disorders. – Annotations Dec 31 '12 at 15:44
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    See, this is where questions like this lead us. Why on earth would anyone make a statement like "More than 50% of the people studying philosophy tend to have sleep disorders"? Do statements like that, even if true, have practical or theoretical implications of any importance? I dislike that and vote to close. – iphigenie Dec 31 '12 at 17:22
  • The statement about sleep disorder is from Trait Theory, the study of human personality. The practical or theoretical implication of trait theory to philosophy is the influence of traits in philosophical beliefs. The tags of the question are: metaphilosophy, psychology and education. Suitable. – Annotations Dec 31 '12 at 18:36
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    @RicardoBevilaqua I didn't mean to offend you, yes, your answer suits the tags very well, I just think that the question doesn't belong here to begin with. – iphigenie Jan 1 '13 at 11:37
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    @iphigenie I understand your opinion. For you to understand my comment I would have to explain much more in the comment. There is a correlation between psychological traits and the professions. Metaphilosophy is the philosophical examination of the practice of philosophizing itself. Philosophy involves the study of fundamental or general concepts and principles involved in thought. This study can be biased by personality traits of the philosopher. The question is not specifically about this, but tangentially touches on the subject. – Annotations Jan 1 '13 at 15:18

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