In defence of narrative

Anthony Rudd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last few decades, a number of influential philosophers, psychologists and others (including Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor and Paul Ricoeur) have invoked the notion of narrative as having a central role to play in our thinking about ethics and personal identity.1 It has been argued that our sense of self is bound up with our capacity to tell a coherent story about ourselves, and that the mainstream analytic debate on personal identity has reached an impasse because the parties to it abstract the notion of a person from the narratives in which persons figure as characters. It has also been argued, ethically, that we should strive to achieve the kind of unity characteristic of a narrative in our lives. However, something of a backlash against these narrative theories now seems to be developing, exemplified in recent work by, for instance, Galen Strawson, Peter Lamarque and John Christman.2 My intention here is to defend the value of the narrative approach from some of the most common recent criticisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-75
JournalEuropean Journal of Philosophy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • philosophy


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