Although I might have posted this as a comment within a previous thread, it's simply easier to find a conversational thread when it's listed as a title in the archives. My comments here are stimulated by a remark made by H. Pattee, which I thought might be interesting to pursue.
H. PATTEE’s 07/07/07, 07:07 AM response to IRA’s comment of July 3, 2007 10:31 PM
IRA: The L-mind is distrustful of the wisdom of the citizenry (for good reason) and thinks they need an intellectual elite to guide them down the correct path.
HP: This is wrong historically and wrong today. It was C-mind elitist like Plato and Aristotle that distrusted the citizenry. Plato thought philosopher kings should rule. Aristotle called democracy “mob rule.” The L-mind actually began as a revolt against elitist C-mind monarchies and aristocracies.
Modern L-minds and C-minds can be discriminated through the use of a series of questions concerning public policy and personal responsibility issues. It is impossible to go back over 2300 years and ask these same questions, since even with time travel, the questions would be meaningless to Plato and Aristotle. However, if we can establish objective criteria and basic properties for L-minds and C-minds without being biased by partisanship, we can surmise from their writings what type of mind these philosophers might have had.
I believe commenter H. Pattee is wrong when he accuses Plato of being a C-mind elitist. First of all it has not been demonstrated that C-minds are elitist. That's just political rhetoric speaking. In fact, as Ira points out C-minds generally propose solutions to problems which respect the individual and his or her capability and independence. L-minds seem to prefer solutions which assume the individual incapable or functioning without outside intervention. L-minds generally support ERA, racial quotas, labor unions and minimum wages.
Plato's notion of the "philosopher king" certainly doesn't make him an "elitist" as proposed by H. Pattee. Plato was in favor of a meritocracy (in The Republic). Anyone could become a philosopher king if they had the talent. Plato also favored equal rights for women including equal access to military training. Both Aristotle and Plato had a problem with pure democracy in their historical analyses of the constitutions of various governments. They both believed that democracy inevitably led to government by tyrants and the loss of rights of the individual. They observed that democracy led to an elite which catered to, and then manipulated the mob to the detriment of the individual. According to modern day Libertarians, we are witnessing that progression today.
In terms of the objective criteria we have been talking about, I think that Plato was a top-down thinker, while Aristotle was a bottom-up thinker. Plato saw the world in terms of broad principle such as Justice and Right and Dignity. He deduced correct behavior by questioning whether such and such an action would be consistent with the broad intuitive principles. Aristotle, on the other hand, was an experimentalist, closely observing the world around him. Alexander the Great's soldiers carried samples of flora from all over the world back to Aristotle. He then theorized the broad reasons why nature was so constructed.
I'm sure that by picking and choosing among the vast writings of these two thinkers, we can find support for either L-mind or C-mind status. This would probably be useful in clarifying our notions. But, let's not forget that we're dealing with a couple of very special minds that were perhaps capable of approaching the world from either direction.
P.S. It is also not true that "The L-mind actually began as a revolt against elitist C-mind monarchies and aristocracies." That period started with revolts of serfs who believed they had natural rights against their masters. That belief in oneself (as opposed to the hierarchy) is a characteristic of the C-mind. It's easy to confuse the word "liberal," because it has changed so much over the centuries. For example, the French still call their Republican Party, "the liberals." I hope we can steer clear of partisan assumptions about one another and avoid equating political thinking and philosophical thinking.
[Minor typo and long quote structure edit by Ira]