Narrative and fission: A review essay of Marya Schechtman's the constitution of selves

Philosophical Psychology 10 (2):211 – 219 (1997)
This book presents, in method, logical form, and philosophical content, a counterproposal to mainstream personal identity theory. The lotter's purported conflation of logical questions, i.e. reidentification with characterization, leads to an implausible reductionism about selves. A self-constituting narrative is the basis for identity, and contra reductionism, the ontological primitive of a person. As a dynamic valuational and intentional system, the narrative meaningfully constructs the autobiographical past through memory and both causally directs and emotively anticipates the experiences and form of future selves. Schechtman's account, in contrast to mainstream theories, rightly connects identity to those four features that weigh heavily in our values, viz. survival, self-concern, responsibility, and compensation. Though bold and original, the account dispels a couple of important issues along with its rejection of mainstream theory. These issues, encountered most notably through fission cases, are taken up in the evaluation with a “narrative split”.
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DOI 10.1080/09515089708573216
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