As a constitutional recluse, I have a great deal of internal grumbling at this time of year, when academic events take me out of the house to what I regard as an excessive degree. But this evening's speaker was excellent.
A delightful string of words was uttered in the course of his career retrospection (gracious contextualizing occurred in the talk format, but I will offer links as the blog equivalent): "I'm a sad hedgehog and a happy lumper."
1. I am a resigned splitter and a happy fox!
2. Despite the gist of the second Wikipedia article, the two definitional systems are not congruent.
3. I agree with this evening's speaker (the point was implicit rather than articulated) that lumper-fox is the most desirable intellectual configuration.
4. Splitter-hedgehog is potentially tiresome, or at any rate less intellectually stimulating than the other configurations--but a great deal of valuable scholarship is done by splitter-hedgehogs.
5. Fox-hedgehog is the more democratic of the two axes, since it can apply to various measures of personality; lumper-splitter is only applicable to those with a fairly developed intellectual practice of accounting for large-scale phenomena of one kind or another (historical, cultural, economic, biological, etc.).
(This is all pursuant to recent conversations about Gygaxian aspects of Myers-Briggs-type personality instruments. I am imagining a Pynchonesque secret history in which aspects of the D&D "alignment" system turn out to have been inflected or influenced by top-secret early-1960s LSD research by the US Department of Defense!)