Narrative, Self-Realization, and the Shape of a Life

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (2):371-385 (2018)
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Abstract

Velleman, MacIntyre, and others have argued for the compositional view that lives can be other than equally good for the person who lives them even though they contain all and only the same moments, and that this is explained by their narrative structure. I argue instead for explanation by self-realization, partly by interpreting Siegfried Sassoon’s exemplary life-narrative. I decide between the two explanations by distinguishing the various features of the radial concept of narrative, and showing, for each, either that self-realization is just as good an account, or that we should prefer the self-realization account, of the composition it is supposed to explain. I conclude that, if the shape of a life matters, it matters because some shapes are self-realizations, not because they are narratives.

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Sam Clark
Lancaster University

Citations of this work

Do Good Lives Make Good Stories?Amy Berg - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (2):637-659.

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References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
After virtue: a study in moral theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1981 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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