Literature and the narrative self

Philosophy 78 (1):93-108 (2003)
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Claims that the self and experience in general are narrative in structure are increasingly common, but it is not always clear what such claims come down to. In this paper, I argue that if the view is to be distinctive, the element of narrativity must be taken as literally as possible. If we do so, and explore the consequences of thinking about our selves and our lives in this manner, we shall see that the narrative view fundamentally confusues art and life. We learn from art itself that our selves and lives transcend narratives and that thinking in a narrative manner ignores the rich complexity of individual persons. Footnotes1 I am grateful to John Cottingham, Galen Strawson, Bart Streumer and Douglas Farland for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.



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Samantha Vice
University of the Witwatersrand

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