Authors, narrators, and autonomous agents: The art of relational autobiography

Southern Journal of Philosophy 61 (S1):50-61 (2023)
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In this article, I consider several different ways of unpacking the metaphor of self-authorship, asking what an author might be and how authorship thus understood might be related to personal autonomy. First, I consider authors as makers or creators in a generic sense. Next, I consider authors as a particular sort of creator (the creator of a text), and, finally, authors as an interpretive construct implied by a text. Ultimately, I argue that we both construct ourselves as authors and take responsibility for our self-constructs through narrative self-interpretation. Importantly, however, narrative self-interpretation is not simply a process of individual self-narration. Given the limitations placed on the autobiographical perspective by our temporal and subjective locations and the intersection of any one person's story with the stories of others, I argue that both autonomy and autobiography are best understood as relational.



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Andrea Westlund
Florida State University

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References found in this work

The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.
The Constitution of Selves.Christopher Williams & Marya Schechtman - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (4):641.
Introduction: Practical Identity and Narrative Agency.Catriona Mackenzie - 2008 - In Catriona Mackenzie & Kim Atkins (eds.), Practical Identity and Narrative Agency. New York: Routledge.
What an Author Is.Alexander Nehamas - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (11):685-691.

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