Saturday, June 04, 2011

"Narrative, Identity and the Kierkegaardian Self," Department of Philosophy, University of Hertfordshire, November 4-5, 2011.

Narrative accounts of selfhood have been a major, if heavily contested, feature of personal identity theory in the last quarter-century, driven by the work of thinkers as diverse as MacIntyre, Ricoeur, Schechtman, Dennett and Velleman. In the last decade, it has further been claimed that Kierkegaard (despite MacIntyre’s controversial reading of him in After Virtue) also holds a narrativist conception of the self – and that his work holds valuable resources for getting to grips with the normative dimensions of narrative identity. However, Kierkegaard’s work also brings some of the serious questions about narrative identity into stark focus:

· What makes the attainment of narrative identity normative?
· Do selves exist prior to their narration?
· How can the narrative self be something we both are and are ethically enjoined to become?
· How can we understand our lives as a narrative when the ending of our story - our death - is necessarily unknown to us?
· Are metaphysically realist or anti-realist versions of the narrative selfhood hypothesis more tenable – and what of the claim that practical and metaphysical identity cannot be separated at all?
· Are narrative conceptions of self consistent with any strong form of free will?

We welcome proposals for papers (40 minutes reading length maximum) addressing the conference theme. Papers on narrative and selfhood that do not deal directly with Kierkegaard will also be considered. Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words to Dr. Patrick Stokes,, by Friday 5th August.

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