Authors
Kevin Harrelson
Ball State University
Abstract
Our ability to tell stories about ourselves has captivated many theorists, and some have taken these developments for an opportunity to answer long-standing questions about the nature of personhood. In this essay I employ two skeptical arguments to show that this move was a mistake. The first argument rests on the observation that storytelling is revisionary. The second implies that our stories about ourselves are biased in regard to our existing self-image. These arguments undercut narrative theories of identity, but they leave room for a theory of narrative self-knowledge. The theory accommodates the first skeptical argument because there are event descriptions with retrospective assertibility conditions, and it accommodates the second argument by denying us epistemic privilege in regard to our own past. The result is that we do know our past through storytelling, but that it is a contingent feature of some of our stories that they are about ourselves.
Keywords self-knowledge  personal identity  narrative identity  memory  retrospection
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DOI 10.1017/apa.2015.30
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA

Making Peace with Moral Imperfection.Camil Golub - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (2).
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