Is narrative identity four-dimensionalist?

Patrick Stokes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The claim that selves are narratively constituted has attained considerable currency in both analytic and continental philosophy. However, a set of increasingly standard objections to narrative identity are also emerging. In this paper, I focus on metaphysically realist versions of narrative identity theory, showing how they both build on and differ from their neo-Lockean counterparts. But I also argue that narrative realism is implicitly committed to a four-dimensionalist, temporal-parts ontology of persons. That exposes narrative realism to the charge that the narratively constituted self, on the one hand, and the self that is the object of much of our everyday self-reference and self-experience, on the other, can't be the same thing. This conclusion may well force narrativists to abandon metaphysical realism about narrative selves—which, in turn, may leave the invocation of ‘narrativity’ as identity-constituting somewhat under-motivated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E86-E106
JournalEuropean Journal of Philosophy
Issue numberS1
Early online date9 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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