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Narrative identity, practical identity and ethical subjectivity


Atkins, KM, Narrative identity, practical identity and ethical subjectivity, Continental Philosophy Review, 37, (3) pp. 341-366. ISSN 1387-2842 (2004) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1007/s11007-004-5559-3


The narrative approach to identity has developed as a sophisticated philosophical response to the complexities and ambiguities of the human, lived situation, and is not – as has been naively suggested elsewhere – the imposition of a generic form of life or the attempt to imitate a fictional character. I argue that the narrative model of identity provides a more inclusive and exhaustive account of identity than the causal models employed by mainstream theorists of personal identity. Importantly for ethical subjectivity, the narrative model gives a central and irreducible role to the first-person perspective. I will draw the connection between narrative identity and ethical subjectivity by way of an exposition of work by Paul Ricoeur and Marya Schechtman, and a brief consideration of Korsgaard’s work on practical identity and normative ethics. I argue that the first-person perspective – the reflective structure of human consciousness – arises from human embodiment, and therefore the model of identity required of embodied consciousness is more complex and irreducibly first-personal than that provided in a causal account. What is required is a self-constitution model of identity: a narrative model of identity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Metaphysics
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Ethics
Objective Field:Social ethics
UTAS Author:Atkins, KM (Dr Kim Atkins)
ID Code:38340
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:31
Deposited By:Philosophy
Deposited On:2005-08-01
Last Modified:2010-05-13
Downloads:9 View Download Statistics

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