Practical Identity and Narrative Agency: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Practical Identity and Narrative Agency

1st Edition

Edited by Kim Atkins, Catriona Mackenzie


300 pages

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The essays collected in this volume address a range of issues that arise when the focus of philosophical reflection on identity is shifted from metaphysical to practical and evaluative concerns. They also explore the usefulness of the notion of narrative for articulating and responding to these issues.

The chapters, written by an outstanding roster of international scholars, address a range of complex philosophical issues concerning the relationship between practical and metaphysical identity, the embodied dimensions of the first-personal perspective, the kind of reflexive agency involved in the self-constitution of one’s practical identity, the relationship between practical identity and normativity, and the temporal dimensions of identity and selfhood. In addressing these issues, contributors engage with debates in the literatures on personal identity, phenomenology, moral psychology, action theory, normative ethical theory, and feminist philosophy.


"Narrative conceptions of agency have attracted considerable philosophical interest in recent years, and this book makes a significant contribution to the growing literature on this theme…Along with Mackenzie's introduction, which helpfully contextualizes and thematizes the volumes, these papers treat a rich array of interrelated topics. They are not only individually worth reading, but also resonate with one another and work well together as a collection." -- Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Table of Contents



1. Introduction: Practical Identity and Narrative Agency

Catriona Mackenzie

Part I: Personal Identity and Continuity

2. Staying Alive: Personal Continuation and a Life Worth Having

Marya Schechtman

3. Personal Identity: Practical or Metaphysical?

Caroline West

4. Narrative Identity and Embodied Continuity

Kim Atkins

Part II: Practical Identity and Practical Deliberation

5. Personal Identity Management

Jan Bransen

6. Imagination, Identity and Self-Transformation

Catriona Mackenzie

7. Why Search for Lost Time: Memory, Autonomy, and Practical Reason

John Christman

Part III: Selfhood and Normative Agency

8. The Way of the Wanton

J. David Velleman

9. Losing One's Self

Cheshire Calhoun

10. Normative Agency

Jeanette Kennett and Steve Matthews

11. Remorse and Moral Identity

Christopher Cordner

Part IV: Selfhood, Narrative and Time

12. Shaping a Life: Narrative, Time and Necessity

Genevieve Lloyd

13. How to Change the Past

Karen Jones

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Mind & Body