The exploration of personal identity and theories of narrative in
Narrative Identity and Personal Responsibility is extraordinarily suggestive, resulting in implications for theories of action as well as ethics and psychology. Taking seriously the thought that we mediate our relations with the world by means of self-defining narratives grounded in the natural phenomenon of desire provides new answers to old puzzles of what it means to be human.
Narrative Identity and Personal Responsibility is about why and how identifying ourselves by means of narrative makes it possible for us to be responsible, morally and otherwise. The book begins as an investigation into how it is that we can hold people responsible for who they are, despite the fact that we have almost no control over our lives in our formative years. It explains the relation between representation, personal identity, and self-knowledge, demonstrating how awareness of the vulnerability of our identity as persons is the origin of our capacity for the cathartic revision of a self-identifying narrative which is the condition of moral awareness.
Innovative in its interdisciplinary juxtaposition of ethics, moral psychology, literary theory and literature,
Narrative Identity and Personal Responsibility develops a sophisticated and comprehensive account of human nature. This book offers an intuitively satisfying and humane yet rigorous account of why and how we think of ourselves as simultaneously free and constrained by nature. Its fundamental thesis, the mediation of narrative representation between agent and the world, suggests new answers to old problems in moral psychology, such as the question of free will and responsibility.
With a more literary style than many philosophy texts, it works through a series of interconnected problems of as much interest to a thoughtful layperson as to academic philosophers.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Part 2 Part One. Frankfurt, Taylor, and Self-Evaluation
Chapter 3 Chapter One. Frankfurt and Second-Order Evaluation
Chapter 4 Chapter Two. The Rational Wanton
Chapter 5 Chapter Three. Charles Taylor and the Nature of Desire
Part 6 Part Two. Desire and the Formation of Personal Identity
Chapter 7 Chapter Four. Desire and Personal Identity
Chapter 8 Chapter Five. The Value of Fantasy
Chapter 9 Chapter Six. Self-Knowledge and Narrative
Chapter 10 Chapter Seven. Responsibility for Self
Part 11 Part Three. A Defense of Empathy
Chapter 12 Chapter Eight. Plato on Mimesis
Chapter 13 Chapter Nine. Vicarious Emotion and Pleasure
Chapter 14 Chapter Ten. Aristotle on Mimesis: Aesthetic Pleasure
Part 15 Part Four. Narrative Identity
Chapter 16 Chapter Eleven. Ways of Being
Chapter 17 Chapter Twelve. Description, Interpretation, and Evaluation
Chapter 18 Chapter Thirteen. Exemption from Responsibility
Part 19 Part Five. Freedom and Resentment
Chapter 20 Chapter Fourteen. P.F. Strawson
Chapter 21 Chapter Fifteen. "Responsibility and the Limits of Evil"
Chapter 22 Chapter Sixteen. The Limits of the Moral Community
Chapter 23 Chapter Seventeen. Richard Wollheim: Retribution and Reparation
Chapter 24 Chapter Eighteen: Melanie Klein: Tragedy and Morality