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James Mensch [78]James R. Mensch [27]James Richard Mensch [2]
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Profile: James Mensch (Charles University, Prague)
Profile: James Richard Mensch (Charles University, Prague)
  1. James Mensch (2013). The Question of Naturalizing Phenomenology. Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 17 (1):210-228.
    The attempt to use the results of phenomenology in cognitive and neural science has in the past decade become increasingly widespread. It is, however, open to the objection that phenomenology does not concern itself with the embodied, empirical subject, but rather with the non-causally determined “transcendental” subject. If this is true, then the attempt to employ its results is bound to come to grief on the opposition of two different accounts of consciousness: the non-causal, transcendental paradigm put forward by phenomenology (...)
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  2. James Mensch (2007). The a Priori of the Visible. Studia Phaenomenologica 7:259-283.
    Jan Patočka and Maurice Merleau-Ponty attempted to get beyond Husserl by focusing on manifestation or visibility as such. Yet, the results these philosophers come to are very different — particularly with regard to the a priori of the visible. Are there, as Patočka believed, aspects of being that can be grasped in their entirety, the aspects, namely, that involve its “self-showing”? Or must we say, with Merleau-Ponty, that being can only show itself in finite perspectives that can never be summed (...)
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  3. James Mensch (2003). Givenness and Alterity. Idealistic Studies 33 (1):1-7.
    If we trace the word phenomenon to its Greek origin, we find it is the participle of the verb, phainesthai, “to show itself.” The phenomenon is that which shows itself; it is the manifest. As Heidegger noted, phenomenology is the study of this showing. It examines how things show themselves to be what they are.1 One of the most difficult problems faced by phenomenology is the mystery of our self-showing. How do we show ourselves to be what we are? How (...)
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  4. James Mensch (2010). Husserl's Account of Our Consciousness of Time. Marquette University Press.
    Having asked, “What, then, is time?” Augustine admitted, “I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me; but if I am asked what it is and try to explain, I am baffled.” We all have a sense of time, but the description and explanation of it remain remarkably elusive. Through a series of detailed descriptions, Husserl attempted to clarify this sense of time. In my book, I trace the development of his account of our temporal self-awareness, starting (...)
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  5.  21
    James Mensch (2016). Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre: Presence and the Performative Contradiction. The European Legacy 21 (5-6):493-510.
    In this essay I explore the divide that separates Heidegger and Sartre from Husserl. At issue is what Derrida calls the “metaphysics of presence.” From Heidegger onward this has been characterized as an interpretation of both being and knowing in terms of presence. To exist is to be now, and to know is to make present the evidence for something’s existence. Husserl’s account of constitution assumes this interpretation. By contrast, Heidegger and Sartre see constitution in terms of our pragmatic engagements (...)
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  6.  39
    James Mensch (2011). Religious Intolerance. Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 15 (2):171-189.
    Religion has been a constant throughout human history. Evidence of it dates from the earliest times. Religious practice is also universal, appearing in every region of the globe. To judge from recorded history and contemporary accounts, religious intolerance is equally widespread. Yet all the major faiths proclaim the golden rule, namely, to “love your neighbour as yourself.” When Jesus was asked by a lawyer, “Who is my neighbour?” he replied with the story of the good Samaritan—the man who bound up (...)
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  7.  46
    James Mensch (2009). Embodiments: From the Body to the Body Politic. Northwestern University Press.
    The intertwining: the recursion of the seer and the seen -- Artificial intelligence and the phenomenology of flesh -- Aesthetic education and the project of being human -- The intertwining of incommensurables: Yann Martel's life of Pi -- Flesh and the limits of self-making -- Violence and embodiment -- Excessive presence and the image -- Politics and freedom -- Sovereignty and alterity -- Political violence -- Public space -- Sustaining the other: tolerance as a positive ideal -- Forgiveness and incarnation.
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  8.  4
    James R. Mensch (2003). Ethics and Selfhood: Alterity and the Phenomenology of Obligation. State University of New York Press.
    Argues that a coherent theory of ethics requires an account of selfhood.
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  9.  30
    James Mensch (2003). Benito Cerino. Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 7 (2):117-131.
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  10.  29
    James Mensch (2006). Excessive Presence and the Image. Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 10 (2):431-440.
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  11.  26
    James Mensch (2002). Selfhood and Politics. Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 6 (1):11-22.
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  12.  4
    James Mensch (1988). Intersubjectivity and Transcendental Idealism. SUNY Press.
    This book offers new answers to this persistent philosophical question by defining the question in specifically Husserlian terms and by means of a careful examination of Husserl’s later texts, including the unpublished Nachlass.
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  13.  31
    James Mensch (2008). Violence and Embodiment. Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 12 (1):4-15.
    While the various forms of violence have been the subject of special studies, we lack a paradigm that would allow us to understand the different forms of violence (physical, social, cultural, structural, and so on) as aspects of a unified phenomenon. In this article, I shall take violence as destructive of sense or meaning. The relation of violence to embodiment arises through the role that the body plays in our making sense of the world. My claim is that violence is (...)
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  14.  7
    James Mensch (2016). The Spatiality of Subjectivity. Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 20 (1):181-193.
    This article describes how the spatiality of our existence determines the temporal relations that inform the contents of our consciousness. It argues that the extension of time—the fact the moments that compose it do not collapse into each other—can only be explained in terms of the dependence of time on space. Such dependence causes us to rethink the concept of subjectivity according to a multi-dimensional spatial paradigm, one that crosses the traditional divide between minds and bodies.
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  15.  39
    James Mensch (2008). Violence and Embodiment. Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 12 (1):4-15.
    While the various forms of violence have been the subject of special studies, we lack a paradigm that would allow us to understand the different forms of violence (physical, social, cultural, structural, and so on) as aspects of a unified phenomenon. In this article, I shall take violence as destructive of sense or meaning. The relation of violence to embodiment arises through the role that the body plays in our making sense of the world. My claim is that violence is (...)
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  16.  15
    James Mensch (2006). Politics and Freedom. Idealistic Studies 36 (1):75-82.
    True freedom involves choices whose scope is not limited in advance by a particular dogma. When we attempt to understand it, a number of questions arise. It is unclear, for example, how the openness of real choice can fit into the organized structures of political life. What prevents the expressions of freedom from disrupting this life? What sets limits to their arbitrariness? The general questionhere concerns the adaptability of freedom to a political context. In this paper, I argue that freedom (...)
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  17. James R. Mensch (2000). An Objective Phenomenology: Husserl Sees Colors. Journal of Philosophical Research 25 (January):231-60.
  18.  15
    James Mensch (2015). Desire and Selfhood. The European Legacy 20 (7):689-698.
    As Hegel observed in his Phenomenology of Spirit, “Self-consciousness, for the most part, is desire.” Phenomenologically, the “object of consciousness is itself… present only in opposition” to consciousness, while consciousness is felt as the absence of the longed-for object. According to Hegel, when desire is satisfied, this opposition ends and self-consciousness ceases. My essay seeks to answer the question of why desire never really terminates, why it almost continuously characterizes our waking life. I shall do so by exploring desire not (...)
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  19.  22
    James R. Mensch (1997). Instincts — a Husserlian Account. Husserl Studies 14 (3):219-237.
    According to the standard, accepted view of Husserl, the notion of a Husserlian account of the instincts appears paradoxical. Is not Husserl the proponent of a philosophy conducted by a “pure” observer? Instincts relate to the body, but the reduction seems to leave us with a disembodied Cartesian ego. Quotations are not lacking to support this view.
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  20.  30
    James R. Mensch (1991). Phenomenology and Artificial Intelligence: Husserl Learns Chinese. Husserl Studies 8 (2):107-127.
    For over a decade John Searle's ingenious argument against the possibility of artificial intelligence has held a prominent place in contemporary philosophy. This is not just because of its striking central example and the apparent simplicity of its argument. As its appearance in Scientific American testifies, it is also due to its importance to the wider scientific community. If Searle is right, artificial intelligence in the strict sense, the sense that would claim that mind can be instantiated through a formal (...)
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  21.  31
    James Mensch (2012). Public Space and Embodiment. Studia Phaenomenologica 12:211-226.
    Hannah Arendt’s notion of public space is one of her most fruitful, yet frustrating concepts. Having employed it to analyze political freedom, she claims that such space has largely disappeared in the modern world. In what follows, I am going to argue that this pessimistic assessment follows from Arendt’s exclusion of labor and work from the public realm. Against Arendt’s claim that such activities are essentially private, I shall argue that they, like action, manifest our embodied being-in-the-world. When we think (...)
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  22.  39
    James Mensch (2001). Derrida–Husserl. New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 1:1-66.
  23. James R. Mensch, Multiple Personality Disorder: A Phenomenological/Postmodern Account.
    A striking feature of post-modernism is its distrust of the subject. If the modern period, beginning with Descartes, sought in the subject a source of certainty, an Archimedian point from which all else could be derived, post- modernism has taken the opposite tack. Rather than taking the self as a foundation, it has seen it as founded, as dependent on the accidents which situate consciousness in the world. The same holds for the unity of the subject. Modernity, in its search (...)
     
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  24.  61
    James Mensch (2007). Public Space. Continental Philosophy Review 40 (1):31-47.
    “Public space” is the space where individuals see and are seen by others as they engage in public affairs. Hannah Arendt links this space with “public freedom.” The being of such freedom, she asserts, depends on its appearing. It consists of “deeds and words which are meant to appear, whose very existence hinges on appearance.” Such appearance, however, requires the public space. Reflecting on Arendt’s remarks, a number of questions arise: What does the dependence of freedom on public space tell (...)
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  25.  11
    James Mensch (2014). Eros and Justice: The Erotic Origin of Society. Levinas Studies 9:97-121.
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  26.  48
    James Mensch (2010). The Temporality of Merleau-Ponty’s Intertwining. Continental Philosophy Review 42 (4):449-463.
    In his last work, The Visible and the Invisible, Merleau-Ponty explored the fact that we believe that perception occurs in our heads and, hence, assert that the perceptual world is in us, while also believing that we are in the world we perceive. In this article, I examine how this intertwining of self and world justifies the faith we have in perception. I shall do so by considering a number of examples. In each case, the object in itself will turn (...)
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  27.  6
    James Mensch (2008). Violence and Embodiment. Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 12 (1):4-15.
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  28.  49
    James R. Mensch (1997). Freedom and Selfhood. Husserl Studies 14 (1):41-59.
    Freedom is a perennial topic of philosophy. It is also one of themost puzzling. Regarding it, we are tempted to say with Augustine, “I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me.” 1 We can all sense its presence.We use the word constantly, yet an account of it seems to elude us.My purpose in this paper is to see if phenomenology can provide such an account, one that includes in its description the features philosophers ascribe to freedom. (...)
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  29.  17
    James R. Mensch (2009). The Phenomenological Status of the Ego. Idealistic Studies 39 (1/3):1-9.
    For phenomenology, the study of appearances and the ways they come together to present a world, the question of the ego presents special difficulties. The ego, itself, is not an appearance; it is the subject to whom appearances appear. As such, it cannot appear. As the neo-Kantian, Paul Natorp expresses this:“The ego is the subjective center of relation for all contents in my consciousness. . . . It cannot itself be a content and resembles nothing that could be a content (...)
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  30. James Mensch, Empathy and Rationality.
    Much of the current debate opposing empathy to rationality assumes that there are no universal standards for rationality. From the postmodern perspective, the “rational” does not just vary according to the different historical stages of a people. It also differs according the social and cultural conditions that define contemporary communities. What counts as reasonable in the Afghan cultural sphere is often considered as irrational in the Western European context. What Americans take to be rational modes of conduct are not considered (...)
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  31.  20
    James Mensch (2013). Violence and Selfhood. Human Studies 36 (1):25-41.
    Is violence senseless or is it at the origin of sense? Does its destruction of meaning disclose ourselves as the origin of meaning? Or is it the case that it leaves in its wake only a barren field? Does it result in renewal or only in a sense of dead loss? To answer these questions, I shall look at James Dodd’s, Hegel’s, and Carl Schmitt’s accounts of the creative power of violence—particularly with regard to its ability to give individuals and (...)
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  32.  35
    James Mensch (2005). Manifestation and the Paradox of Subjectivity. Husserl Studies 21 (1):35-53.
    The question of who we are is a perennial one in philosophy. It is particularly acute in transcendental philosophy with its focus on the subject. In its attempt to see in the subject the structures and activities that determine experience, such philosophy confronts what Husserl called “the paradox of human subjectivity.” This is the paradox of its two-fold being. It has “both the being of a subject for the world and the being of an object in the world.” As the (...)
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  33.  32
    James Mensch (1997). Presence and Post-Modernism. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 71 (2):145-156.
    The post-modern, post-enlightenment debate on the nature of being begins with Heidegger’s assertion that the “ancient interpretation of the being of beings” is informed by “the determination of the sense of being as ... ‘presence.’”[i] This understanding, which reduces being to temporal presence, is supposed to have set all subsequent philosophical reflection. At its origin is “Aristotle’s essay on time.” In Heidegger’s reading, Aristotle interprets entities with regard to the present, equating their being with temporal presence. He also takes time (...)
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  34. James R. Mensch (1981). The Question of Being in Husserl's Logical Investigations. Distributors for the U.S. And Canada, Kluwer Boston.
  35.  11
    James Mensch (2001). Derrida–Husserl: Towards a Phenomenology of Language. New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 1:1-66.
  36.  15
    James R. Mensch (2011). Patočka's Conception of the Subject of Human Rights. Idealistic Studies 41 (1-2):1-10.
    Jan Patočka appears as a paradoxical figure. A champion of human rights, he often presents his philosophy in quite traditional terms. He speaks of the “soul,” its “care,” and of “living in truth.” Yet, in his proposal for an “asubjective” phenomenology, he undermines the traditional notion of the self that has such rights. The question that thus confronts a reader of Patočka is how to reconcile the Patočka who was a spokesman of the Charter 77 movement with the proponent of (...)
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  37.  19
    James R. Mensch (1994). Husserl and Sartre. Journal of Philosophical Research 19:147-184.
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  38.  30
    James R. Mensch (1999). Husserl's Concept of the Future. Husserl Studies 16 (1):41-64.
    At first glance, a phenomenological account of the future seems a contradiction in terms. Phenomenology’s focus is on givenness or presence. Attending to what has already been given in its search for evidence, it seems incapable of handling the future, which by definition, has not yet been given since it not-yet-present. Thus, for the existentialists, in particular Heidegger, phenomenology misses the fact that the Da-, the “thereness” of our Dasein, is located in the future. It misses the futurity inherent in (...)
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  39. James Mensch, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Ethics.
    Thesis: With the end of the cold war, ideological conflicts have faded. In their stead, we have witnessed the rise of cultural strife. On the borders of the great civilizations conflicts involving basic cultural values have arisen. These have given increased emphasis to the ethical imperative of cross cultural understanding. How do we go about understanding different cultures? What are the grounds and premises of such understanding? How does such understanding tie into the basic ethical theories that have marked the (...)
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  40. James Mensch, Imagination and Machine Intelligence.
    The question of the imagination is rather like the question Augustine raised with regard to the nature of time. We all seem to know what it involves, yet find it difficult to define. For Descartes, the imagination was simply our faculty for producing a mental image. He distinguished it from the understanding by noting that while the notion of a thousand sided figure was comprehensible—that is, was sufficiently clear and distinct to be differentiated from a thousand and one sided figure—the (...)
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  41.  9
    James Mensch (2011). José Joaquín Andrade (Traductor). Eidos: Revista de Filosofía de la Universidad Del Norte 15:76-95.
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  42. James Mensch, The Intertwining of Incommensurables: Yann Martel's Life of Pi.
    In the Author’s Note that introduces the Life of Pi, Yann Martel claims that he first heard of Pi in a coffee shop in India. A chance acquaintance tells him, “I have a story that will make you believe in God” (LP, vii).[i] The story concerns the life of an Indian boy who grows up surrounded by the animals of his father’s zoo. When Pi is sixteen, his family decides to emigrate. His father sells off the animals to an American (...)
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  43.  24
    James Mensch (2006). Artificial Intelligence and the Phenomenology of Flesh. Phaenex 1 (1):73-85.
    A. M. Turing argued that there was "little point in trying to make a 'thinking machine' more human by dressing it up in ... artificial flesh." We should, instead, draw "a fairly sharp line between the physical and the intellectual capacities of a man." For over fifty years, drawing this line has meant disregarding the role flesh plays in our intellectual capacities. Correspondingly, intelligence has been defined in terms of the algorithms that both men and machines can perform. I would (...)
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  44. James Mensch, Existence and Essence in Thomas and Husserl.
    In a series of conversations recorded towards the end of his life, Husserl is quoted as saying, "Yes, I do honor Thomas ..." and "... certainly I admit Thomas was a very great, a colossal phenomenon."1 With this, however, is the assertion that one "must go beyond Thomas."2 What is this going beyond Thomas? The purpose of this essay is to explore this in terms of the distinction between existence and essence we considered in our first chapter when we inquired (...)
     
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  45. James Mensch, Temporalization as the Trace of the Subject.
    Both in its methods and spirit, Kant’s critical philosophy seems the opposite of recent French philosophy. In its deductive approach, it exemplifies a severe rationality; its structures of argument and proof often abstract from our lived experience. The philosophies of Derrida and Levinas, however, attend to such experience. In particular, they are sensitive to precisely those aspects of it that seem to exceed our conceptual abilities. Thus, for Levinas the face of the other manifests an “inabsorbable alterity.” It cannot be (...)
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  46.  8
    James Mensch (2007). The Intertwining of Incommensurables. In Christian Lotz & Corinne Painter (eds.), Phenomenology and the Non-Human Animal. Springer 135--147.
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  47. James Mensch, Real and Ideal Determination in Husserl's 'Logical Investigations'.
    One of the permanent factors driving philosophy is the puzzle presented by our embodiment. Our consciousness is embodied. We are its embodiment; we are that curious amalgam that we try to describe in terms of mind and body. Philosophy has sought again and again to describe their relation. Yet each time it attempts this from one of these aspects, the other hides itself. From the perspective of mind, everything appears as a content of consciousness. Yet, from the perspective of the (...)
     
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  48. James Mensch, Confronting the Janus Head.
    If post-modern philosophy has a spiritual father, this is surely Nietzsche. The great revival of interest in his thought parallels our period’s discomfort with foundational, “metaphysical” thinking. He appeals to our disquiet with talk of essences. Many find his “deconstruction” of science and morality liberating. Above all his doctrine of “perspectivism” has found a general appeal. The pluralism that is its apparent result is attractive to everyone from feminists to defenders of multiculturalism. There is, however, a darker side to Nietzsche. (...)
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  49. James Mensch, Death and the Other: The Origin of Ethical Responsibility.
    What is the origin of ethical responsibility? What gives us our ability to respond? An ethical response involves responding to myself: I answer the call of my conscience. It also involves answering to the Other: I respond to the appeal of my neighbor. Is one form of response prior to the other? Contemporary thinking about these questions has been largely taken up by the debate between Levinas and Heidegger. Responsibility, according to Heidegger, begins with our concern for our being.1 The (...)
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  50. James Mensch, Shame and Guilt—The Unspeakablity of Violence.
    What is the relation of shame to guilt? What are the characteristics that distinguish the two? When we regard them phenomenologically, i.e., in the way that they directly manifest themselves, two features stand out. Guilt and shame imply different relations to the other person. Their relation to language is also distinct. Guilt involves the internalization of the other, not as a specific individual, but rather as an amalgam of parents, elders, and other social and cultural authority figures.i This amalgam of (...)
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