The attempt to understand human behaviour by classifying individuals into groups according to certain inner or outer characteristics. Almost all disciplines concerned with human beings (medicine, psychology) have a tendency to group humans according to certain sets of general principles.
Astrology is no exception. Astrological classification includes the four elements fire, earth, air and water which correspond to the four temperaments, together with the three qualities cardinal, fixed and mutable.
The classification into human types raises ethical questions concerning the concepts of free will and determinism. Critics accuse astrology of narrowly defining behaviour and denying the possibility of the individual's self-development.
Notes and References
- According to an eighteenth century book on physiognomy (Johann Kaspar Lavater, ca. 1775)