The Story of My Life

Richard Moran

in The Philosophical Imagination

Published in print August 2017 | ISBN: 9780190633776
Published online June 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190633806 | DOI:
The Story of My Life

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If narrative is thought to be a privileged form of understanding a human life, what relation does that thought bear to the idea of the “agent’s point of view?” This essay returns to an early source of this debate, the claims for the priority of narrative self-understanding in Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue and, in particular, a disagreement he registers with the early Sartre. It explores an Existentialist critique of the idea of “living one’s life as a story,” and in doing so seeks to rescue it from a certain psychological (or perhaps “phenomenological”) interpretation of the “agent’s point of view” on which both MacIntyre and Sartre rely. It argues that the exclusive focus on narratives that concern individual human lives, as capturing or failing to capture “life as it is lived,” are in various ways distorting of both the nature of narrative form and the understanding of human lives.

Keywords: the self; narrative; existentialism; philosophy and literature; Jean-Paul Sartre; Alasdair MacIntyre; self-knowledge; storytelling

Chapter.  10230 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Philosophy of Mind

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