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Schechtman, Marya, and . The Narrative Self

2011, In Shaun Gallagher (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Self. OUP Oxford.

Abstract: This article examines the narrative approach to self found in philosophy and related disciplines. The strongest versions of the narrative approach hold that both a person’s sense of self and a person’s life are narrative in structure, and this is called the hermeneutical narrative theory. This article provides a provisional picture of the content of the narrative approach and considers some important objections that have been raised to the narrative approach. It defends the view that the self constitutes itself in narrative and argues for something less than the hermeneutical view insofar as the narrative is less agency-oriented and without an overarching thematic unity.

Comment: This chapter offers a good introduction to the concept of narrative self. It surveys a few different types of narrative self, and covers some representative objections. The article would be perfect in classes focusing on different concepts of self, and on personal identity in general.