Getting the story right: a Reductionist narrative account of personal identity

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Abstract

A popular “Reductionist” account of personal identity unifies person stages into persons in virtue of their psychological continuity with one another. One objection to psychological continuity accounts is that there is more to our personal identity than just mere psychological continuity: there is also an active process of self-interpretation and self-creation. This criticism can be used to motivate a rival account of personal identity that appeals to the notion of a narrative. To the extent that they comment upon the issue, proponents of narrative accounts typically reject Reductionist metaphysics that (ontologically) reduce persons to aggregates of person stages. In contrast to this trend, we seek to develop a narrative account of personal identity from within Reductionist metaphysics: we think person stages are unified into persons in virtue of their narrativecontinuity with one another. We argue that this Reductionist version of the narrative account avoids some serious problems facing non-Reductionist versions of the narrative account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-469
Number of pages25
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Volume171
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 31 2014

Keywords

  • Narrative
  • Personal identity
  • Reductionism

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