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Real Materialismand Other Essays$
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Galen Strawson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267422

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267422.001.0001

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Against Narrativity

Against Narrativity

(p.189) 7 Against Narrativity
Real Materialism

Galen Strawson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues against two popular claims. The first is a descriptive, empirical thesis about the nature of ordinary human experience which is called in this chapter the psychological Narrativity thesis: ‘each of us constructs and lives a ‘narrative’ ... this narrative is us, our identities’ (Oliver Sacks). The second is a normative, ethical claim which this chapter calls ethical Narrativity thesis: we ought to live our lives narratively, or as a story; a ‘basic condition of making sense of ourselves is that we grasp our lives in a narrative’ and have an understanding of our lives ‘as an unfolding story’ (Charles Taylor); a person ‘creates his identity (only) by forming an autobiographical narrative — a story of his life’, and must be in possession of a full and ‘explicit narrative (of his life) to develop fully as a person’ (Marya Schechtman).

Keywords:   narrative, Narrativity, Diachronic personality, Episodic personality, non-narrative, anti-narrative, person, memory, story-telling, identity

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