- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Narrative Identity1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Statistics" above.
Write-up2 (as at 04/04/2020 00:14:24): Narrative Identity
Shoemaker sees a problem:-
- Narrative identity isn’t really an account of numerical identity4, but is dependent on it. It is analogous to the PV5, but is closer to what most non-philosophers usually mean by “personal identity”; saying someone is “no longer the same person” implies such a change in personality that their life no longer fits into a single narrative.
- The most convenient introduction is probably in "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Ethics", section 2.3 (Stanford: Personal Identity and Ethics - The Narrative View).
- To quote:-
- what makes some feature mine may actually be making reference to a non-numerical type of identity, a type of identity we are thinking of when addressing the familiar question of an identity crisis: “Who am I really?” This is the question of identity as proper attributability, as providing an account of one's true self and the various attributes genuinely belonging to it.
- the Narrative Criterion of Personal Identity: what makes an action, experience, or psychological characteristic properly attributable to some person (and thus a proper part of his or her true identity) is its correct incorporation into the self-told story of his or her life. … Narrative identity is thus really about a kind of psychological unity, but not just an artless or random unity.
- for that subject of experiences to be a person, a genuine moral agent, those experiences must be actively unified, must be gathered together into the life of one narrative ego by virtue of a story the subject tells that weaves them together, giving them a kind of coherence and intelligibility they wouldn't otherwise have had. This is how the various experiences and events come to have any real meaning at all — rather than being merely isolated events — by being part of a larger story that relates them to one another within the context of one life
- What explains my special sort of concern for myself is that I'm in fact an extended narrative ego — not some time-slice concerned about the well-being of some future time-slice — and I'm constantly extending that narrative into the future, so my concern is global, a concern for the whole self I'm creating via this story, the whole self whose various parts are mine.
- what makes some past action mine (for which I'm eligible for praise or blame) is that it flowed from my central values, beliefs, and experiences, that there's a coherent story I may tell uniting it to the other elements of my life.
If narrative identity depends on numerical identity7, then it is as subject to fission-problems8 as accounts of numerical identity9. I noticed in Aeon: Jaarsma - Choose your own birth that Simone de Beauvoir – in Pyrrhus and Cineas states that “I am not a thing, but a project”. This claim may connect Narrative Identity to Existentialism10. De Beauvoir’s contrast is rather a stark claim. But it highlights the difference between those who think of persons as concrete particulars of whatever form and those who think of them as a process11 of some sort.I’m not sure where Andy Clark’s view – eg. in "Clark (Andy) & Kuhn (Robert Lawrence) - Aeon: Video - Andy Clark - Virtual immortality" – that “we are patterns in information space” fits into all this. For a page of Links12 to this Note, Click here.Works on this topic that I’ve actually read13 include the following:-
- What matters to us with respect to all of our practical concerns is that we ourselves continue to exist: it's a necessary presupposition of my rational anticipation, self-concern, possibilities for compensation, and so on that I myself persist, but this is an issue of numerical identity6. Another way to put this is that one can't be a person, on the narrative view, unless one gathers up the various experiences one has as a subject of experiences into a coherent narrative, but then the identity of that subject of experiences must be preserved across time for its experiences to be so gathered up.
A fairly full reading list might be:-
- "Aronson (Polina) - Mrs Myself", Aronson
- "DeGrazia (David) - Human Identity and Bioethics: Introduction", DeGrazia
- "Flora (Carlin) - Indescribable you", Flora
- "Lerner (Berel Dov) - Review of 'Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction' by David Shoemaker", Lerner
- "Pearl (Sharrona) - Changing faces", Pearl
- "Sacks (Oliver) - The Lost Mariner", Sacks
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Ethics", Shoemaker
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Ethics - Conclusion: Notes on Method", Shoemaker
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Moral Responsibility", Shoemaker
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Self-Regarding Ethics - Alternative Approaches", Shoemaker
This is mostly a place-holder15.
- "Alexander (Ronald) - The Self and Narrative Identity", Alexander
- "DeGrazia (David) - Advance Directives, Dementia, and the Someone Else Problem", DeGrazia
- "DeGrazia (David) - Human Persons: Narrative Identity and Self-Creation", DeGrazia
- "Harrison (Glynne) - Who am I today? The modern crisis of identity", Harrison
- "Hershenov (David) - Review of David DeGrazia’s Human Identity and Bioethics", Hershenov
- "Schechtman (Marya) - The Narrative Self-Constitution View", Schechtman14
- "Teichert (Dieter) - Narrative, Identity and the Self", Teichert
- "Thomas (Laurence) - Group Autonomy and Narrative Identity: Blacks and Jews", Thomas
Footnote 10: Footnote 14:
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (04/04/2020 00:14:24).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)