In this paper we defend the notion of narrative identity against Galen Strawson's recent critique. With reference to Elyn Saks's memoir of her schizophrenia, we question the coherence ofStrawsons conception of the Episodic self and show why the capacity for narrative integration is important for a flourishing life. We aho argue that Scú put pressure on narrative theories that specify unduly restncúve constraints on self-constituting narratives, and chrify the need to distinguish identity from autonomy.
In the Introduction to Self to Self, J. David Velleman claims that 'the word "self" does not denote any one entity but rather expresses a reflexive guise under which parts or aspects of a person are presented to his own mind' (Velleman 2006, 1). Velleman distinguishes three different reflexive guises of the self: the self of the person's self-image, or narrative self-conception; the self of self-sameness over time; and the self as autonomous agent. Velleman's account of each of these different (...) guises of the self is complex and repays close philosophical attention. The first aim of this paper is therefore to provide a detailed analysis of Velleman's view. The second aim is more critical. While I am in agreement with Velleman about the importance of distinguishing the different aspects of selfhood, I argue that, even on his own account, they are more interrelated than he acknowledges. I also analyse the role of the concept of 'bare personhood' in Velleman's approach to selfhood and question whether this concept can function, as he wants it to, to bridge the gap between a naturalistic analysis of reasons for action and Kantian moral reasons. (shrink)
In his recent book Reflective Democracy, Robert Goodin argues that 'external-collaborative' models of democratic deliberation procedures need to be supplemented by 'internal-reflective' deliberation. The exercise of the moral imagination plays a central role in Goodin's account of 'democratic deliberation within'. By imaginatively putting ourselves in the place of a range of others, he argues, including those who maybe not be able to represent their own interests, we can make their points of view 'communicatively present' in deliberation. Goodin's argument emphasizes the (...) role of art and other forms of cultural representation in helping to bring about this expansion of moral imagination. Drawing on debates in philosophy of mind concerning the scope and limits of our capacities to simulate other minds, I argue that Goodin's analysis of 'democratic deliberation within' conflates different kinds of imaginative project. In doing so, it underestimates both the difficulties of imaginatively putting ourselves in the place of others and the political risks in doing so. I argue, alternatively, that moral engagement with others involves the capacity for sympathy and that art and other forms of cultural representation can enlarge the scope of our sympathies, by assisting us to overcome imaginative resistance to alien points of view. In developing this argument, I provide a qualified defense of Iris Young's claim that respect for others involves 'asymmetrical reciprocity'. (shrink)
Drawing on recent cognitive theories of the emotions, this article develops an account of critical reflection as requiring emotional flexibility and involving the ability to envisage alternative reasons for action. The focus on the role of emotions in critical reflection, and in agents' resistance to reflection, suggests the need to move beyond an introspective to a more social and relational conception of the process of reflection. It also casts new light on the intractable problem of explaining how oppressive socialisation impairs (...) the capacity for autonomy. (shrink)
This collection of original essays explores the social and relational dimensions of individual autonomy. Rejecting the feminist charge that autonomy is inherently masculinist, the contributors draw on feminist critiques of autonomy to challenge and enrich contemporary philosophical debates about agency, identity, and moral responsibility. The essays analyze the complex ways in which oppression can impair an agent's capacity for autonomy, and investigate connections, neglected by standard accounts, between autonomy and other aspects of the agent, including self-conception, self-worth, memory, and the (...) imagination. (shrink)
It is standard in feminist commentaries to argue that Wollstonecraft's feminism is vitiated by her commitment to a liberal philosophical framework, relying on a valuation of reason over passion and on the notion of a sex-neutral self. I challenge this interpretation of Wollstonecraft's feminism and argue that her attempt to articulate an ideal of self-governance for women was an attempt to diagnose and resolve some of the tensions and inadequacies within traditional liberal thought.