De verhalen van ons leven

Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 110 (3):357-377 (2018)
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The stories we live by: On narrative self-constitution and self-understandingIn spite of what Galen Strawson defends, it is claimed that a narrative attitude ‐ as a psychological fact ‐ is of great use for self-reflective beings in making their experiences understandable and managing their lives. Secondly, there is doubt about the existence of what Marya Schechtman called a ‘narrative self’, i.e. a self that is constituted by the stories people tell about themselves. It is proposed to leave the constitution question aside and to choose, like Peter Goldie did before, for the ‘narrative sense of self’ as an anchor point when we want to understand how people think about their lives and themselves in narrative terms. Finally, it is disputed that narrative self-understanding would be impossible or should be banished to the world of fiction, as anti-narrativists contend. Although the life stories of people are inevitably perspectival and in essence contestable, they are always factual stories that can be true and false and thus play a significant role in better understanding ourselves and others.



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Patrick Delaere
Erasmus University Rotterdam

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