Mind and Narrativity. Towards an Integrated Narrative Account of Self, Consciousness and Reasons for Action
09 / 2011 - 08 / 2015
In the past two decades, a variety of narrative theories on aspects of the human mind have been proposed as alternatives for more traditional, broadly "cognitivist" views. Reflective consciousness, a sense of self, and the ability to attribute reasons for action are all deemed to be narrative phenomena. Narrative theories of aspects of mind provide alternatives for more orthodox "cognitivist" approaches. Up till now, however, narrative theories on self, consciousness and reasons remain insular. No integrated account has been put forward that connects the roles played by narrativity in the overall functioning of the human mind. As a result, possible ways in which narrative theories of aspects of the mind may complement and strengthen each other into one full-blown, viable alternative for cognitivism, have not yet been explored. The proposed PhD project aims to fill this lacuna. The first stage of this project aims to develop an integrated account that connects the roles played by narrativity in consciousness, sense of self and the attribution of reasons for action. This account makes use of the generally overlooked fact that narrative theories of consciousness, self and reasons are all rooted in the tradition of philosophical thinking according to which the human mind is the "product" of our participating in socio-cultural practices. The second stage of the project will put the integrated account to use. It will develop a narrative theory of a key feature of the human mind in which the interconnection between consciousness, self and reasons is salient: the human ability to have self-knowledge and to be conscious of ones own reasons for action.