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The continuous and discontinuous person: two dimensions of ethical life



Whereas early liberal thinkers developed the concept of the ethically accountable continuous forensic modern European person in contrast to what they saw as the discontinuous and hence unaccountable mimetic person, I argue that forensic and mimetic are better understood both as ideologies of personhood and as dimensions of all persons rather than as fully distinctive kinds of persons. I present an account of persons as accountable for their acts but show that this is not limited to the maximally continuous and autonomous person of liberal ideology. I review other forms of personhood encountered cross-culturally and suggest that the mimetic dimension offsets some of the problems inherent in an exclusively forensic model.

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