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Narrative, Self-Realization, and the Shape of a Life

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
Issue number2
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)371-385
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date14/04/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Velleman, MacIntyre, and others have argued for the compositional view that lives can be other than equally good for the person who lives them even though they contain all and only the same moments, and that this is explained by their narrative structure. I argue instead for explanation by self-realization, partly by interpreting Siegfried Sassoon’s exemplary life-narrative. I decide between the two explanations by distinguishing the various features of the radial concept of narrative, and showing, for each, either that self-realization is just as good an account, or that we should prefer the self-realization account, of the composition it is supposed to explain. I conclude that, if the shape of a life matters, it matters because some shapes are self-realizations, not because they are narratives.