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Art, Mind, and NarrativeThemes from the Work of Peter Goldie$
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Julian Dodd

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769736

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769736.001.0001

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A Mess Indeed

A Mess Indeed

Empathic Access, Narrative, and Identity

(p.17) 1 A Mess Indeed
Art, Mind, and Narrative

Marya Schechtman

Oxford University Press

In developing a middle ground between narrativists and narrative sceptics Peter Goldie criticizes the view that personal identity is constituted through self-narrative. He also rejects the idea that empathic access to the past is required for personal survival. This chapter responds to Goldie’s objections. It acknowledges that Goldie identifies important complications and difficulties surrounding the notion of empathic access and uses the insights he offers to expand and improve this idea and to clarify the questions to which it applies. It is suggested that empathic access may be best conceived as a valuable heuristic, and provides an example of its value by showing how it helps to demonstrate the sense in which we are constituted by our narrative self-understanding. Goldie’s discussion of ironic distance as a feature of narrative thought is key to this demonstration.

Keywords:   Keywords empathic access, ironic distance, narrative, personal identity, personal survival, self-constitution

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