Narrative Thinking about One’s Past

Peter Goldie

in The Mess Inside

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199230730
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741340 | DOI:
Narrative Thinking about One’s Past

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Chapter 2 develops the notion of perspective in autobiographical narrative thinking, where the narrator, with his or her external perspective, is the same person as the ‘character’ in the narrative. These potentially diverging perspectives are at the heart of narrative thinking about our past. This is shown through the idea of dramatic irony in such thinking, where you now know things about your past that you then, in the past, did not know. This allows the introduction of the notion of free indirect style, where it becomes unclear whether the perspective being expressed is internal or external. Drawing on recent empirical work on personal memories, it is shown how our memories of our past can be infused with the irony of what we now know, and what we now feel about what we now know, through the psychological equivalent of free indirect style.

Keywords: perspective; narrative; memory; dramatic irony; free indirect style

Chapter.  12805 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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