Teleology, Narrative, and Death

In John Lippitt & Patrick Stokes (eds.), Narrative, Identity and the Kierkegaardian Self. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 29-45 (2015)
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Abstract

Heidegger, like Kierkegaard, has recently been claimed as a narrativist about selves. From this Heideggerian perspective, we can see how narrative expands upon the psychological view, adding a vital teleological dimension to the understanding of selfhood while denying the reductionism implicit in the psychological approach. Yet the narrative approach also inherits the neo-Lockean emphasis on the past as determining identity, whereas the self is fundamentally about the future. Death is crucial on this picture, not as allowing for the possibility of a final meaning to our lives, but as determining Dasein as ‘pure unactualizable possibility.’ Ultimately, therefore, narrative is not what constitutes selfhood – but this does not mean that narrative is not relevant to personal identity, because narrative allows identity to be expressed in action.

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Roman Altshuler
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Citations of this work

Agency, Narrative, and Mortality.Roman Altshuler - 2022 - In Luca Ferrero (ed.), Routledge Handbook for the Philosophy of Agency. New York: Routledge. pp. 385-393.
Personal identity: birth, death and the conditions of selfhood.Niels Wilde - 2021 - Continental Philosophy Review 55 (1):1-18.

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References found in this work

Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
The Constitution of Selves.Marya Schechtman (ed.) - 1996 - Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Reasons Without Rationalism.Kieran Setiya - 2007 - Princeton University Press.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry Frankfurt - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press UK.
Being and Time.Ronald W. Hepburn - 1964 - Philosophical Quarterly 14 (56):276.

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