Karsten Stueber
College of the Holy Cross
_ Source: _Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 393 - 409 This essay will utilize the central historicist insight about the nature of the historical world and historical writing in articulating the cognitive function of narratives. It will argue that full-blown narratives are best understood as developmental portraits of a chosen entity/ unit in respect to its individuality. The argument will proceed through a critical analysis of the debate between Noel Carroll and David Velleman about the nature of the narrative connection and the question of whether the explanatory force of a narrative has to be understood in causal or emotional terms. I will side with the causalist in this respect but will also show that we need to be very careful in distinguishing between causal explanations underwritten by a theory and the use made of such causal accounts within the context of narratives concerned with explicating individuality. Accordingly, I agree with Mink that narratives are special cognitive instruments. Yet Mink’s characterization of narrative understanding as a “configurational mode of comprehension” that is strictly distinguished from the theoretical mode needs to be amended. Narrative understanding should be conceived as an autonomous and irreducible mode of comprehension. At the same time, it should be viewed as being dependent on a variety of theoretical perspectives it uses intricately
Keywords Velleman   causality   Carroll   historicism   narrative explanation   Mink
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DOI 10.1163/18722636-12341309
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References found in this work BETA

Narrative Closure.Noël Carroll - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 135 (1):1 - 15.
Narratives and Action Explanation.Thomas Uebel - 2012 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (1):31-67.
Historical Explanation, Folk Psychology, and Narrative.Mark Bevir - 2000 - Philosophical Explorations 3 (2):152 – 168.
Modes of Comprehension and the Unity of Knowledge.Louis O. Mink - 1960 - Atti Del XII Congresso Internazionale di Filosofia 5:411-417.

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