Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/22845
Title: Practically Narrating - A Modern Accounting for An Ethical Self
Authors: SHAUN OON QING WEI
Keywords: Narrative Identity, Practical Identity, Identity, Narrative, Ethics, Personal Identity
Issue Date: 20-Jan-2011
Source: SHAUN OON QING WEI (2011-01-20). Practically Narrating - A Modern Accounting for An Ethical Self. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In this thesis, I aim to show that narrative identity, the conception of the self as a locus of various narrative strands, can meet key contemporary demands made on practical identity. However, accounts of narrative identity compete with dominant will-centric accounts of identity, exemplified by Christine Korsgaard?s account of moral identity. The purported necessity, universality, and also the historical ubiquity, of Korsgaard?s moral identity critically restrict the scope for narrative identities to be valuable practical identities. I therefore makes two claims. First, I make the negative claim that there is no practical identity which we must necessarily have. Second, I make the positive claim that narrative identity is a good account of practical identity for today. In the prologue, I begin by discussing how we construct accounts of events and how our modes of construction frame our accounts. I continue with a discussion of the features of one mode of accounting - plotting. I then define a narrative as the collection of various plots into a single meaningful whole. I conclude the prologue by suggesting that seeing identity to involve narratives can give us insights into our practical selves. However, to do so, we need to first free our understanding of practical identity from the dominating grip of will-centric accounts. With that, I put aside my account of narratives to return to it later, and turn to undermining will-centric accounts. In Chapter 1, I distinguish three ways of accounting for identity - agential, personal and practical - and show that these accounts can be considered independent of each other. Doing so allows my later discussion of narrative identity as practical identity to be unencumbered by concerns of agential and personal identity. Here, I examine Harry Frankfurt?s concept of the person using my taxonomy in order to demonstrate the taxonomy?s value. In Chapter 2, I look at Korsgaard?s will-centric moral identity as a practical identity, and show it to be conceptually neither necessary nor governing. Then, contrasting it with Henry Rosemont?s role-centric ethics, I show that it is also not practically necessary, though from a will-centric worldview, it might appear that way. In Chapter 3, I look at the genealogy of the will-centric worldview to consider its lingering appeal. I compare two different genealogies by Korsgaard and Charles Taylor, showing how different genealogies emphasis and hide different features. I suggest that it is more appropriate to see practical identity as reacting to particular situated demands than responding to some abstract general requirement; and with that, will-centric models are less appealing. In Chapter 4, I finally return to narratives and suggest narrative identity, built upon the features previously discussed, to respond especially well to the urgent modern demands of plurality and creativity. It is thus plausibly a more attractive model of identity than will-centric models that are less well-equipped to do so. In the epilogue, I end by discussing the development of my narrative account.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/22845
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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