This is a trope applying to the dynamics of groups of four. While the FourTemperamentEnsemble seeks to classify members by their personality, this trope classifies members by their outlook, or life philosophy, especially as demonstrated when the Group is faced by a problem or challenge.

Keep in mind that this trope crops up in more character-driven works and will probably be absent from a work where the group of heroes are more cohesive or single-minded. That is to say, if there isn't much argument within the group, then they never have much chance to demonstrate the differing traits making up this trope.

The dynamics for this trope are very effective because it combines the best parts of a GoodCopBadCop or a RedOniBlueOni binary (The Cynic vs The Optimist) and a PowerTrio, (The Cynic - The Realist - The Optimist) placing The Realist in between the two opposing views, along with a fourth member (The Apathetic) to contrast all of them at once, including a fourth dimension to the argument, and even the potential for a fifth to be conflicted over the issue, often resulting in a ThreePlusTwo. All of this in a package that can even be coupled with the FourTemperamentEnsemble for double the fun. This is [[SeriousBusiness some serious]] CastCalculus.

!!!A FourPhilosophyEnsemble intro:

* '''The Cynic'''
** ''Common Attributes'': Logic, practicality, criticism, ReasonBeforeHonor, [[ShootTheDog free of guilt]] in [[IDidWhatIHadToDo doing what's necessary]], DeadpanSnarker, hostility or antagonism, caution, prioritizes survival over other goals, skepticism, shoots first (''might'' ask questions later), lacks compassion for people unwilling to make painful choices, [[KillHimAlready deadly]] [[FinishHim battle-finisher]], disregard for social norms such as rules or politeness, questionable morality, book smart or street smart.
** ''Common Characterizations'': A defiant {{Red Oni|Blue Oni}}, pure [[GoodCopBadCop Bad Cop]], TheCynic ([[CaptainObvious duh!]]), TheSpock, AntiHero, KnightInSourArmor, TheSnarkKnight, GrumpyBear, TheRival, TheUnfettered, OnlySaneMan, ByronicHero
** ''Most Common Perspective'': BlackAndGrayMorality, [[EvilVersusEvil Black-and-Black Morality]], a [[BitchInSheepsClothing hypocritical version]] of BlackAndWhiteInsanity [[note]][[TheUnfettered fetters not much deeper]] than "avoid the SevenDeadlySins"[[/note]], a ''stickler'' for ritualistic/[[LawfulGood letter-of-law]] absolutes (but still Unfettered)
** ''Most Common [[FourTemperamentEnsemble Temperaments]]'': in the skepticism/caution cases Melancholic; otherwise Choleric [[note]]since the defiance of a melancholic Cynic is generally limited to civil disobedience of an accepted norm s/he knows to be logically/morally unsound and corrupt at its core; a melancholic cynic is otherwise rather unusual[[/note]].
** ''Most Common [[PersonalityBloodTypes Blood Type]] Association:'' Type O or Type A
** ''UsefulNotes/MyersBriggs types in general'': Thinkers, generally '''[[superscript:__]]TJ'''
** Usual [[Literature/HarryPotter Hogwarts]] House: Slytherin or Ravenclaw

* '''The Optimist'''
** ''Common Attributes'': Determination, loyalty to ideals, HonorBeforeReason, morality or friendship over rules, self-sacrifice, feelings over facts, lack of forethought, disregard for consequences, relentlessness (even stubbornness), optimism, blind faith, naivety, prioritizes 'the right thing' over survival.
** ''Common Characterizations'': Either [[RedOniBlueOni Oni type]], pure {{Good Cop|Bad Cop}}, TheMcCoy, ThePollyanna, TheFettered, IdealHero, NiceGuy, [[GenkiGirl Genki Boy/Girl]], TheDeterminator, MessianicArchetype, PluckyGirl
** ''Most Common Perspective'': BlackAndWhiteMorality, WhiteAndGreyMorality
** ''Most Common [[FourTemperamentEnsemble Temperament]]'': Usually Sanguine, though in moralistic, [[TheIdealist idealistic]] cases Phlegmatic.
** ''Most Common [[PersonalityBloodTypes Blood Type]] Association:'' Type B
** ''UsefulNotes/MyersBriggs types in general'': Feelers, generally '''E[[superscript:_]]F[[superscript:_]]''' and '''[[superscript:__]]FP''' types
** Usual [[Literature/HarryPotter Hogwarts]] House: Gryffindor or Hufflepuff

* '''The Realist'''
** ''Common Attributes'': Takes the middle ground or TakeAThirdOption, mediation, objectivity, decisiveness, balance between the group's well-being and the goal, personal code, disciplinarian, calm or quiet, leadership, experience, adaptability, and willingness to bend the rules.
** ''Common Characterizations'': {{Red Oni|Blue Oni}} (usually), a {{Good Cop|Bad Cop}}, TheKirk, TheCaptain, SupportingLeader, TheFettered, OnlySaneMan (in certain ways), TeamMom / TeamDad, MentorArchetype, ReasonableAuthorityFigure
** ''Most Common Perspective'': GrayAndGreyMorality, {{Black|and Gray Morality}}/{{White|and Grey Morality}} with Grey Morality [[note]]These characters will often have the perspective that because both sides are fighting, a) neither side is truly good, or b) both sides honestly believe in what they fight for, but that the better choice would be to compromise[[/note]], {{Blue and Orange|Morality}} (optional) included in a MoralityKitchenSink
** ''Most Common [[FourTemperamentEnsemble Temperaments]]'': Either Melancholic or Sanguine.
** ''Most Common [[PersonalityBloodTypes Blood Type]] Association:'' Type A or B
** ''UsefulNotes/MyersBriggs types in general'': Variable; often '''[[superscript:__]]FJ''' or '''EN[[superscript:_]]P'''
** Usual [[Literature/HarryPotter Hogwarts]] House: Gryffindor or Ravenclaw

* '''The Apathetic'''
** ''Common Attributes'': Aloof or busy, uninvolved or neutral, different background or culture from other characters, different goals or priorities than other characters, perhaps enigmatic and lacking apparent goals at all, mysterious, ambivalent or not invested in the outcome, just along for the ride, silly or crazy, inactive, observer, support member.
** ''Common Characterizations'': CloudCuckoolander, SupportingProtagonist; a) in more [[RedOniBlueOni Blue Oni]] [[TheSmartGuy Smart Guy]] cases TheQuietOne, NonActionGuy; b) in more stolid, carefree cases TheUnfettered, {{Jerkass}}, SociopathicHero, WildCard, StrawNihilist, TheHedonist, TokenEvilTeammate
** ''Most Common Perspective'': BlueAndOrangeMorality, ItAmusedMe, BystanderSyndrome
** ''Most Common [[FourTemperamentEnsemble Temperaments]]'': Phlegmatic, for [[LazyBum general laziness]], or Choleric for lack of regard for others' affairs
** ''Most Common [[PersonalityBloodTypes Blood Type]] Association:'' Type AB
** ''UsefulNotes/MyersBriggs types in general'': '''E[[superscript:_]]TP''' or any '''[[superscript:_]]S[[superscript:_]]P'''
** Usual [[Literature/HarryPotter Hogwarts]] House: Any (seldom Ravenclaw)

!!!Occasionally the group will be joined by a fifth, called The Conflicted, or The Conflicted will replace The Apathetic.

* '''The Conflicted'''
** ''Common Attributes'': Indecisive and [[ShapedLikeItself conflicted]] ([[CaptainObvious duh!]]), changeable, doesn't have or voice strong opinions, empathy, good morality, prioritizes peace and cohesion among the group, appeasement, self-doubt, lack of confidence, fear, need for approval, dependent, blind trust of others.
** ''Common Characterizations'': [[RedOniBlueOni Blue Oni]], TeamPet, ReluctantWarrior, SadClown, HurtingHero, TheIngenue, TheEeyore, TheDitherer, ClassicalAntiHero
** ''Most Common Perspective'': GreyAndGrayMorality, MoralityKitchenSink (although binds self to BlackAndWhiteMorality)
** ''Most Common [[FourTemperamentEnsemble Temperament]]'': Mostly eclectic, reflecting their lack of alignment with a particular temperament.
** ''Most Common [[PersonalityBloodTypes Blood Type]] Association:'' Type A
** ''UsefulNotes/MyersBriggs types in general'': Introverts, most '''IN[[superscript:__]]''' and '''I[[superscript:_]]FJ''' types
** Usual [[Literature/HarryPotter Hogwarts]] House: Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff

A variation on this trope involves there being a group of four with a Cynic and an Optimist who are always as such, but the remaining two members trade among themselves the roles of Realist, Apathetic and Conflicted, or do away with two of the roles, simply having them share the same role (Realist or Conflicted), with one being the main holder and the other in a supporting role or crossed with aspects of the Apathetic.

It is possible to expand the group beyond four or five members using this trope as a template and fitting additional characters into each slot, portraying different parts of the role, four is simply the minimum to qualify for this trope. Beyond that the number of members is unimportant so long as the group involves not a significant amount of Apathetic members, a case that would pretty much defeat the purpose of the trope, which is group conflict. If only a small part of the group (such as just the leader and his lancer) is ever involved in the conflict then it's not this trope, and probably a more job or role-oriented ensemble trope, such as FiveManBand, SixStudentClique or MagnificentSeven. When the group uses the full five philosophy roles, it is common for them to form a ThreePlusTwo group.

[[folder: Example of this Trope in Action]]

Situation: Our group is on an Adventure InSpace, when suddenly they get pelted with space debris, their propulsion system is destroyed and they realize they are on a collision course with a meteor with very little maneuvering capabilities.

* The Cynic proposes they dump the ship and all their belongings and escape in space pods, even if it means leaving that urgently needed medicine they are transporting on board to be destroyed.
* The Optimist finds this idea appalling and insists that either they will fix the ship in time to get out of the way or what maneuvering capability they have will be enough, usually without any evidence to support this idea.
* The Realist goes over the pros and cons of the situation, calming down the argument to the point where actual decision making can happen. Eventually he chooses a side or proposes a third option everyone can live with. This may lead to acting on whatever plan he supports.
* The Apathetic may be a mechanic running about in the background, frantically trying to fix the propulsion systems with little time to think of anything else. Another portrayal is as an enigmatic passenger, watching the proceedings with bemusement, seemingly unaware of the danger. Alternatively they are gathering up their things, hopping in an escape pod without consulting anyone and saying "It's been real guys, see ya." Then again, they might just be insane.
* The Conflicted, should there be one, will be on the verge of tears throughout the ordeal. They may be in the corner quietly worrying, wanting to believe in The Optimist, but unable to stay strong when faced with everything that can go wrong. It might be that rather than distress over the situation, just as bad or worse is the way it has split the members of the group against each other. Conversely, they might just opt to scream "What are we going to do!?" in the background without contributing anything constructive.

Compare CastCalculus, MoralityKitchenSink, SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism, FourTemperamentEnsemble, ThreePlusTwo, FiveManBand.

!!!Example subpages:

* FourPhilosophyEnsemble/AnimeAndManga
* FourPhilosophyEnsemble/{{Film}}
* FourPhilosophyEnsemble/{{Literature}}
* FourPhilosophyEnsemble/LiveActionTV
* FourPhilosophyEnsemble/VideoGames
* FourPhilosophyEnsemble/WebComics
* FourPhilosophyEnsemble/WebOriginal
* FourPhilosophyEnsemble/WesternAnimation



[[folder:Card Games]]
* TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering: Black is Cynic, Blue is Cynic/Realist, Green is Apathetic/Realist, and White and Red are [[OrderVersusChaos two wildly different versions]] of Optimist.

* ''Comicbook/{{Empowered}}'': Emp (Optimist), Ninjette (Cynic), Thugboy (Realist) and Caged Demonwolf (Apathetic). Sistah Spooky probably counts as a second Cynic.
* ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'': Reed is the Optimist (science can fix it!), Ben the Cynic (that never works, Stretcho), Sue the Realist (will you boys stop arguing?) and Johnny the Apathetic (...sorry, what did you say?)
** It can also be noted that on the rare occasions when they have nothing to do and no one to fight, they usually slide out of these roles (and become utterly dysfunctional): Johnny is the Optimist (Let's go out and have some ''fun'' guys!), Sue is the Cynic (This blows. I hate everything. Why is everyone around me a jackass?), Ben is the Realist (We need to fight someone or we're all going to kill each other, Stretch!), and Reed is the Apathetic (''Do Not Disturb. Deep In Thought'').
* In ''ComicStrip/GetFuzzy'': Bucky is the Cynic, Satchel is the Optimist and Rob is both the Realist and the Apathetic.
* In ''ComicStrip/PearlsBeforeSwine'': Rat is the Cynic, Pig is the Optimist, Goat is the Realist, Zebra is the Apathetic.
* ''{{ComicBook/Watchmen}}'': Nite Owl (Optimist), Silk Spectre (Realist), The Comedian (Cynic), Dr. Manhattan (Apathetic), and Rorschach (Conflicted).
* By the early '80s under Creator/ChrisClaremont, the [[Comicbook/X-Men]] had developed this, with Charles Xavier (Optimist), Magneto (Cynic), Wolverine (Realist), Cyclops (Apathetic and currently retired), and Storm (Conflicted and used as a way to explore each of the other three's philosophies).

* Music/TheBeatles: Music/JohnLennon as the Apathetic, Music/PaulMcCartney as the Optimist, Music/GeorgeHarrison as the Cynic, and Music/RingoStarr as the Realist.
* Music/PanicAtTheDisco: Ryan Ross as the Cynic, Brendon Urie as the Optimist, Jon Walker as the Realist, and Spencer Smith as the Apathetic.
* In Fanfic/SkyBladeAcademy the four main characters and TrueCompanions have this mechanic, with KnightInSourArmour Atsuya as the Cynic, GenkiGuy Kaiba as the Optimist, TheKirk Kyoko as the Realist, and FishOutOfWater Iki as the Apathetic. The Conflicted could be all of them.
* In ''Fanfic/InnocentHope'', we have Raquel as the Cynic, Altair as the Optimist, Yuki as the Realist, or a milder Optimist, and Naki as the Apathetic.
* In ''Story/AesirCrossWars'', we have Azazel (The Cynic, with mild Realist tendencies), Freya (The Optimist), Forseti (The Realist), Uriel (The Apathetic), and Azrael (The Conflicted, temporarily Cynical, later a low-key Optimist).