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Two senses of narrative unification

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journal contribution
posted on 10.12.2020, 02:42 by Mary Walker
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

In this paper I seek to clarify the role of narrative in personal unity. Examining the narrative self-constitution view developed by Marya Schechtman, I use a case of radical personal change to identify a tension in the account. The tension arises because a narrative can be regarded either to capture a continuing agent with a loosely coherent, consistent self-conception–or to unify over change and inconsistency. Two possible ways of responding, by distinguishing senses of identity or distinguishing identity and autonomy, are examined, but I argue that neither precisely maps this tension. I then develop a distinction between two ways in which narrative can unify: through “bottom-up” processes related to the connection between agency and self-conception; and “top-down” processes related to self-interpretative activity. The account provides ways to resolve some criticisms of narrative theories of identity, in particular in better accounting for the role of repudiated characteristics in narrative identity.

History

Publication Date

01/01/2019

Journal

Philosophical Explorations

Volume

22

Issue

1

Pagination

16p. (p. 78-93)

Publisher

Taylor and Francis

ISSN

1386-9795

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The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

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