Narrative identity: Irony of Human Identity: the Finished/Unfinished Self in Narration

Klementyna Chrzanowska 1
1 - Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Instytut Filozofii
2016; 17 (2):
ICID: 1224623
Article type: Original article
IC™ Value: 3.00
Abstract provided by Publisher
Narrative identity is an essential category of contemporary philosophical anthropology,
and especially philosophy of selfhood, simply cannot do without. This article will illustrate
this specific point with the example of the phenomenon which Stanely Cavell calls ‘the
irony of human identity’: the fact that every human being has a sense of surpassing any
descriptions that may be offered him/her by the surrounding world, or even by him/herself.
A sense that my very self, in the sense of the Ricoeurian ipsé, which somehow always
remains unexpressed, and, what is more, that I, the subject, can negate my current identity
at any moment. Here, the aim is to show that, on the one hand, a narrative understanding
of selfhood is necessary to do justice to this ironic tension, and, on the other, that narration
as an act of language use is itself exposed to an irony of its own: the tension between language as a system, as something given and inherited, and language as a creative medium
where a constant search for new forms of expression continues. The meaning of this
relationship between language and the human self begs further research.

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