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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Narrativity and non‐Narrativity

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Abstract I argue against two popular claims. The first is a descriptive, empirical claim about the nature of ordinary human experience which I call the psychological Narrativity thesis (PNT). According to PNT, ‘each of us constructs and lives a “narrative” … this narrative is us, our identities’ (Sacks O. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. London: Duckworth; 1985, 110). The second is a normative, ethical claim which I call the ethical Narrativity thesis (ENT). According to ENT, we ought to live our lives narratively, or as a story: a ‘basic condition of making sense of ourselves is that we grasp our lives in a narrative’ and have an understanding of our lives ‘as an unfolding story’ (Taylor C. Sources of the Self. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1989, 47–52). On this view a person ‘creates his identity (only) by forming an autobiographical narrative—a story of his life’, and must be in possession of a full and ‘explicit narrative (of his life) to develop fully as a person’ (Schechtman M. The Constitution of Selves. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press; 1996, 93. WIREs Cogn Sci 2010 1 775–780 This article is categorized under: Philosophy > Metaphysics

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