Self and Other: The Limits of Narrative Understanding

Dan Zahavi
University of Copenhagen
If the self—as a popular view has it—is a narrative construction, if it arises out of discursive practices, it is reasonable to assume that the best possible avenue to self-understanding will be provided by those very narratives. If I want to know what it means to be a self, I should look closely at the stories that I and others tell about myself, since these stories constitute who I am. In the following I wish to question this train of thought. I will argue that we need to operate with a more primitive and fundamental notion of self; a notion of self that cannot be captured in terms of narrative structures. In a parallel move, I will argue that there is a crucial dimension of what it means to be other that is equally missed by the narrative approach. I will consequently defend the view that there are limits to the kind of understanding of self and others that narratives can provide.
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DOI 10.1017/s1358246107000094
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References found in this work BETA

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Citations of this work BETA

Narrative and Embodiment – a Scalar Approach.Allan Køster - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (5):893-908.
Is the Self a Social Construct?Dan Zahavi - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (6):551-573.
Body and Self: An Entangled Narrative.Priscilla Brandon - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (1):67-83.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

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