Narrative Identity, Autonomy, and Mortality: From Frankfurt and MacIntyre to Kierkegaard

Overview

In the last two decades, interest in narrative conceptions of identity has grown exponentially, though there is little agreement about what a "life-narrative" might be. In connecting Kierkegaard with virtue ethics, several scholars have recently argued that narrative models of selves and MacIntyre's concept of the unity of a life help make sense of Kierkegaard's existential stages and, in particular, explain the transition from "aesthetic" to "ethical" modes of life. But others have recently raised difficult ...

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Narrative Identity, Autonomy, and Mortality: From Frankfurt and MacIntyre to Kierkegaard

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Overview

In the last two decades, interest in narrative conceptions of identity has grown exponentially, though there is little agreement about what a "life-narrative" might be. In connecting Kierkegaard with virtue ethics, several scholars have recently argued that narrative models of selves and MacIntyre's concept of the unity of a life help make sense of Kierkegaard's existential stages and, in particular, explain the transition from "aesthetic" to "ethical" modes of life. But others have recently raised difficult questions both for these readings of Kierkegaard and for narrative accounts of identity that draw on the work of MacIntyre in general. While some of these objections concern a strong kind of unity or "wholeheartedness" among an agent's long-term goals or cares, the fundamental objection raised by critics is that personal identity cannot be a narrative, since stories are artifacts made by persons. In this book, Davenport defends the narrative approach to practical identity and autonomy in general, and to Kierkegaard's stages in particular.

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Editorial Reviews

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"The account of narrative practical identity presented in this book is nuanced, sophisticated, and answers many of the objections given to specific versions elsewhere. Although it leaves room for further development, it provides an excellent base upon which to build. It also provides a powerful perspective from which to read Kierkegaard's notions of existential stages, double-mindedness, patience, infinite resignation, and purity of heart."– William McDonald, University of New England, Australia in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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Product Details

Meet the Author

John Davenport is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Narrative Realism about Practical Identity 3. Narrative Unity, Autonomy, and Ethical Identity 4. Kierkegaardian Wholeheartedness: Purity of Heart vs. Spiritlessness 5. Narrative Identity and Morality: Kierkegaard's Solution 6. Conclusion: Implications of Narrative Autonomy Theory
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