Who Do We Think We Are?

Philosophy and Literature 43 (1):173-191 (2019)
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Abstract

Our moral lives are replete with acts of autobiographical story-telling. The stories we tell are intended to help others understand what we do by helping them understand “who we are” in a practical or normative sense. The act of addressing one’s stories to an audience, however, is as likely to destabilize as it is to confirm one’s understanding of “who one is”. Drawing on themes in Wally Lamb’s novel I Know This Much is True, I offer a dialogical account of narrative self-transformation, and articulate a conception of forgiveness understood as compassionate acceptance of ourselves (and others) as fallible self-narrators.

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Andrea Westlund
Florida State University

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