Narrative, Second-person Experience, and Self-perception: A Reason it is Good to Conceive of One's Life Narratively

The Philosophical Quarterly 73 (3):615-627 (2022)
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It is widely held that it is good to conceive of one's life narratively, but why this is the case has not been well established. I argue that conceiving of one's life narratively can contribute to one's flourishing by mediating to oneself a second-person experience of oneself, furnishing one with valuable second-personal productive distance from oneself and as a result self-understanding. Drawing on Eleonore Stump's theory that narratives re-present to their audiences the second-person experiences they depict, I argue that conceiving of one's life narratively facilitates taking on the second-person experience that an audience would have in hearing one's life narrative, mediating how someone from a second-person perspective might perceive oneself and as a result yielding valuable self-understanding. I conclude with some practical implications.

Author's Profile

Grace Hibshman
University of Notre Dame


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