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Book: The Five Principles of Middle Way Philosophy

Chapter: d. Continuity of Persons

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.44175


Applying incrementality to persons means that we need to treat our descriptors of the qualities or categorizations of persons as a matter of degree rather than as absolute or essential, aiding provisionality. This applies to ourselves as well, offering a helpful interpretation of the Buddhist doctrine of ‘no self’. It can be applied in an array of ethical issues, for instance incrementalizing the absolute boundaries of personhood used in the abortion debate. This does not threaten respect for persons, which is dependent on how we judge our responses to others rather than essentialist beliefs about them.

Chapter Contributors

  • Robert Ellis ( - rmellis) 'Middle Way Society'