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Glad it Happened: Personal Identity and Ethical Depth

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The idea that a sense of oneself as continuing over time is necessary for the ethical and experiential depth characteristic of a human life has been expressed frequently in philosophical work on the self and other venues. The opposing view, that preoccupation with one's diachronic extension is misleading and self-damaging, has also had forceful proponents. This paper explores this conflict via reflection on Galen Strawson's defence of the value of 'Episodic' selfexperience and an objection to Strawson raised by Kathleen Wilkes. I argue that, while there are legitimate worries about superficiality with respect to the Episodic self, Strawson also offers powerful reasons to think that standard understandings of the kind of diachronic selfexperience required for an ethically and experientially full human life are too strong. Employing some structural features of narrative thought, the paper develops an account of the kind of experience of self-in-time that characterizes human self-experience that is stronger than Strawson's Episodic self but accommodates his legitimate complaints against stronger forms of Diachronic self-experience.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2020

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