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Psychology and Human Nature

Probable / Possible "Scientific endorsement"
of Tripartite Human Nature Theory

Two instances of science-based - probable / possible - 'effective endorsement' of a Tripartite Soul theory of Human Nature will now be briefly considered.

In each case a link will be provided to fuller coverage on our partner site -

The New York Longitudinal Study

In 1956 a child psychiatrist named Dr. Stella Chess, together with her husband Dr. Alexander Thomas, a former director of psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital Center, embarked on what became widely-known-of, influential, and commented upon, as the New York Longitudinal Study.

Longitudinal studies are observational research method in which data is gathered for the same individuals who are the subjects of that study over years or even decades.
Such observational research method are not infrequently adopted in medicine, psychology and sociology, as, in those fields they are held to be well-suited to allowing researchers to investigate and report on changes detected over time.

In this case Dr. Chess and Dr. Thomas, fully assisted by Herbert G. Birch and Margaret E. Hertzig, set out to follow the development of more than one hundred and thirty infants as they went on to become children, teenagers and adults.

The New York Longitudinal Study focused on a number of dimensions of behaviour and concluded that people could be described as being "easy," "difficult" or "slow to warm up".

These findings were published in an influential academic context, the American Journal of Psychiatry, in 1960.

The research did suggest that suchy categorisation was not, in fact, fixed and that adjustments could well occur in response to changes in environment.
Nevertheless, the results of the study led by Dr. Chess and Dr. Thomas resulted in the popularization of a widely influential theory that children are born with distinct temperaments that can powerfully affect their outlook and are, broadly-speaking, rather enduring in the individual who has been considered to be "easy," "difficult" or "slow to warm up".

More detail at

The New York Longitudinal Study
Dr. Stella Chess & Dr. Alexander Thomas
personality types - temperament traits

William Sheldon on
Constitutional psychology personality theory

William Herbert Sheldon, working in the 1940's, overtly associated human body types with human temperament types.

According to Sheldon:

Tend to be physically plump and have relaxed, out-going temperaments.

Tend to have stong / athletic physiques and in terms of temperament be relatively active, adventurous, courageous - and potentially aggressive.

Tend to have smaller and slight physiques and are inclined to be self-conscious, reserved, thoughful and socially restrained.

Sheldon's suggestions are generally viewed as rather controversial in academic circles but nevertheless seem to attract a degree of popular acceptance.

More detail at

Dr. William Sheldon on
Constitutional psychology personality theory

Very few people would deny that there could well be aspects to Human Nature which empathise with poetical, or spiritual, truths making certain quotes eminently quotable and awakening strong suspicions that there are certain Eternal Truths which can be poetically, or spiritually, discerned.

Wisdoms of the Poets

A Disdain for Material Things
Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.
William Shakespeare
A Distrust of Intellect
The intellectual power, through words and things, Went sounding on, a dim and perilous way!
William Wordsworth

Errors like straws, upon the surface flow; He who would search for pearls must dive below.
John Dryden

Into the eye and prospect of his soul.
William Shakespeare

Here the heart May give a useful lesson to the head, And learning wiser grow without his books
William Cowper
Poetical Insights are possible!
God guard me from those thoughts men think In the mind alone; He that sings a lasting song Thinks in a marrow-bone;
William Butler Yeats
Poets are all who love, who feel great truths, and tell them: and the truth of truths is love.
Philip James Bailey

He hath a tear for pity, and a hand Open as day for melting charity
William Shakespeare
Purity of Heart
A peace above all earthly dignities, A still and quiet conscience.
William Shakespeare

There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats; For I am armed so strong in honesty That they pass by me as the idle wind, Which I respect not.
William Shakespeare
I charge thee, fling away ambition By that sin fell the angels. How can man then, The image of his maker hope to win by it? Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee; Corruption wins not more than honesty Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace, To silence envious tongues: be just, and fear not. Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's, Thy God's and truth's
William Shakespeare
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice, And could of men distinguish her election, Sh'hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been As one in suff'ring all that suffers nothing, A man that Fortune's buffets and rewards Hast ta'en with equal thanks; and blest are those Whose blood and judgement are so well co-medled, That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger To sound what stop she please: give me that man That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him In my heart's core, ay in my heart of heart, As I do thee
William Shakespeare
On a Contented Life
The primal duties shine aloft, like stars; The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless, Are scattered at the feet of Man, like flowers.
William Wordsworth

Live while you live, the epicure would say, And seize the pleasures of the present day; Live while you live the sacred preacher cries, And give to God each moment as it flies. Lord, in my views let both united be; I live to pleasure when I live to thee.
Philip Dodderidge

He that has light within his own clear breast May sit in the centre and enjoy bright day; But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts Benighted walks under the midday sun.
John Milton

Well may your hearts believe the truths I tell; 't is virtue makes the bliss where'er we dwell.
William Collins

For blessings ever wait on virtuous deeds, And though a late, a sure reward succeeds.
William Congreve

The soul's calm sunshine and heartfelt joy.
Alexander Pope
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Spiritual Practices may be found to be inherently rewarding by many people who engage in them. However, such persons can tend be seen as being unworldly and we would do well to remember that both worldly and unworldly people will, inevitably, live out their lives in the then prevailing historical and societal contexts.

Several truly notable authorities
endorse Tripartite Soul Theory

Key Socratic Dialogues from
Book 4 and Book 9 of Plato's Republic

Plato's Ideal State       Plato's Chariot allegory      

Philosophy - Eastern and Western & 'Tripartite' Human Nature

FIVE major World Religions & 'Tripartite' Human Nature