Each of the 16 personality types have a way of life and perspective that is meaningful to them on account of their cognitive preferences. These cognitive preferences can likely be distilled into different philosophies that each MBTI type implicitly follows. Here is a look at the school of philosophy that you likely live by according to MBTI type.
INTJ & ISTJ – The Stoics
Stoicism is a philosophy of self-control and emotional restraint that was founded in ancient Greece by the philosopher Zeno of Citium. Stoics believed that true happiness comes when we are living in harmony with the natural order of nature’s plan and not driven or controlled by carnal desires and emotional impulses. Stoics believe that emotions, especially destructive ones, lead to errors in judgment and interfere with the pursuit of developing clear and unbiased thinking.
The INTJ and ISTJ personalities are a natural representation of the stoic philosophy as they are types who tend to keep their emotions under wraps. They exhibit a very phlegmatic temperament but also search their feelings for moral guidance and direction where needed. They prefer to operate with rational dignity, but there is a strong feeling side to them that shapes their ethics, morality and other value-based principles.
INFJ & ISFJ – The Confucians
Confucianism is a system of thought originating in ancient China and promotes ideals that are very amenable to the INFJ values. Confucianism is fundamentally idealistic about the human condition believing that human beings are essentially good and perfectible. Furthermore, this philosophy encourages self development and communal endeavors.
It also extols the virtues of compassion for fellow human beings, although not the same universal and unconditional extent that Mohism promotes. Confucianism emphasizes the importance of responsibility to family and society and the goal of achieving unity between the individual self and the divine. The Confucian focus on the inner and the outer worlds, which is to say the individual and its relation to others, speaks to the dual interests of the INFJ and ISFJ who are both introverted yet interested in people and relationships.
INFP – The Yangists
Yangism is something of a snowflake philosophy that promoted the preservation of individual uniqueness and the self-interest of the individual. It is a philosophy of ethical egoism that rejected the Confucian ideals of propriety, humaneness, righteousness, and law. Founded by Yang Zhu during the Warring States period in China (475 BCE – 221 BCE), Yangism emphasized the importance of the individual over the collective and saw individual well being and self-cultivation as the prime purpose of life. Anything that interfered with these aims was considered immoral and unnecessary.
Yangism has been regarded as being the direct opposite of Mohism which promotes altruism and interdependence. Yangism in contrast has been criticized as being more selfish and self-serving while also minimizing the importance of duty and public service. INFPs are known for preferring to be unique and different rather than blend in or conform with what is considered normal or standard. As creatives who spend a lot of time to themselves cultivating their craft and sense of identity, the INFP is a natural proponent of the Yangist philosophy in many ways.
INTP – The Pyrrhonists
Pyrrhonism is a philosophy of skepticism originated by Pyrrho in the 4th Century BCE. Pyrrhonistic philosophy challenges the basis or criterion for how we perceive or assess reality. Pyrrhonists are inclined to suspend judgment rather than draw conclusions on non-evident propositions. Furthermore, they reject dogmatism and the acceptance of claims without evidence. Pyrrhonists contend that even our very perception of such evidence is subject to question.
The variability between observer and object makes our perceptions somewhat relative and thus we can never truly discern anything with absolute certainty but only approximate based on probability. As a thinking-perceiver type, INTPs are not inclined to leap to conclusions and tend to mull over ideas ad infinitum. Furthermore, because INTPs have the capacity to reason for and against a premise or idea or theory, they are comfortable with the idea that a matter may simply remain inconclusive.
ENTP & ENFP – The Cynics
Cynicism was an ancient Greek philosophy originated by Antisthenes. Cynics were against convention and material pursuits. They believed that living a life of virtue and living in harmony with nature and regular physical training were the key to happiness. They promoted a simple life, self-sufficient and free from conventional pursuits of wealth, fame and power. They shunned modesty, satirized society. and evangelized their philosophy in the streets. Additionally, Cynics were so unconventional that they rejected manners and exhibited a shameless disregard for public properties. They lived a bit like animals in the streets relying on whatever alms they could acquire from strangers.
Cynics desired to own no property and keep only the bare necessities for living. They viewed greed as a major source of unhappiness. As two of the most quirky and intellectually hipster types, ENTPs and ENFPs are naturally drawn towards unorthodox ways of life. Their thirst for meaning and love of intellectual freedom can make them open to unusual philosophies such as cynicism which in many ways is similar to hipsterism in it’s rejection of mainstream custom and convention and also for its overall counterculture attitude. Historians believe that Jesus’ was a Cynic and his teachings along with other books from the New testament Bible bear strong similarities with Cynic philosophy from which many Christian ideals may have been influenced.
ENFJ – The Mohists
Mohism is an ancient Chinese philosophy developed by a philosopher known as Mozi. Mohism stood as a major rival to Confucianism with whom it differed on a number of key issues. One of which was the idea of “universal love”. Mohism promoted impartial caring, such that all individuals should be loved equally and unconditionally. Mohists believed that morality should not be defined by tradition or ritual, nor should it be distinguished by affiliation.
Mohists believed that family and friends should be treated no differently than any other person including strangers..They espouse a more universal standard of compassion by which all people are loved equally and unconditionally.. ENFJs espouse a similarly inclusive and charitable attitude about people. While ENFJs may not go so far as to make no distinction between their personal intimate relationships and their casual associations, ENFJs definitely show a broad appreciation and tolerance for all kinds of people.
ESFJ – The Collectivists
Collectivism is a philosophy of cohesion that prioritizes the group interests over individual self-interests. Collectivist attitudes base it’s values, identity, and interests on the people and associations to which it belongs. This way of thinking promotes a form of interdependence and cooperation within a group in the service of achieving common goals that benefits everyone. This type of mentality is the domain of ESFJs and their extroverted feeling values. ESFJs are naturally keen on serving the needs of their group and being a team player rather than step out of line to assert their individuality.
ESTJ – The Legalists
Legalism is an ancient Chinese philosophy of administration that laid out the principles for how to consolidate wealth and power and establish bureaucratic order, security and stability. Legalism emphasized strict enforcement and adherence to standards and procedures. It rose to prominence at a time when China was wrought with fractious in-fighting between it’s warring states.
Legalist philosophy provided a framework by which Law and Order can be implemented and maintained by a centralized power. It relied on structure, hierarchy and strong authoritative control and advocated for reward systems and also strict punishments. The Qin dynasty’s brutal implementation of this policy led to it’s overthrow and a subsequent disfavor of legalist philosophy. Legalism was likely created and embraced by ESTJs as it speaks to their desire for structure in order.
ISFP & ESFP – The Cyrenaics
The Cyrenaics were a Greek School of philosophy that extolled the virtue of pleasure as being the only intrinsic good. The Cyrenaic philosophy was sensual and hedonistic in nature. It promoted the pursuit of pleasure particularly by way of the physical senses but also encouraged that pleasure be derived from altruistic behaviors. Furthermore, the Cyrenaics placed more value on physical pleasure over mental pleasure. They deemed pain to be the only evil in life and physical pleasure as being the Supreme good.
They also made distinction between past pleasures of the memory and future anticipated pleasures as having no real existence. The only real pleasure is the fleeting and transient pleasures experienced in the present moment. However, this philosophy also warns against overindulgence and becoming a slave to the pursuit of pleasure. Additionally, pleasure-seeking should be constrained by certain social responsibilities and respect for laws and customs. As types who are driven to seek out physically stimulating experiences and sensory pleasures, the ESFP and ISFP can probably count themselves as honorary Cyrenaics!
ISTP & ESTP – The Utilitarians
Utilitarianism is a philosophy or rationale that emphasizes actions that provide maximum utility. Wether that utility be in the service of well-being, happiness or societal prosperity, utilitarians seek to take action that has the most benefit and usefulness for the most people. Although ESTPand ISTP are not overly concerned with pleasing everybody, the extraverted feeling that forms part of their stack of cognitive functions may ensure that group considerations are a factor into their decision process. For instance, ESTPs may be inclined towards taking actions that will give them the most popularity or earn the most twitter followers. For ISTP and ESTP, size and scale may be an integral factor in deciding what is worth their while and what is not.
ENTJ – The Objectivists
Objectivism is a philosophical system popularized by Ayn Rand, the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “the Fountainhead”. The objectivist concept is that the moral purpose for each individual is the pursuit of their own happiness and that productive achievement is the noblest virtue. Objectivism also emphasizes the use of reason, rational egoism, and the sanctity of individual rights.
Furthermore, objectivism regards capitalism as the only social system that fully recognizes and supports individual rights. Objectivists are in favor of minimal government interference so that individuals can be as free as possible to achieve according to their ability and be self-determined. ENTJs being a type noted for being the most entrepreneurial and ambitious, are likely to have a natural affinity for the objectivist philosophy.
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