Stephen Matthews Stephen.Matthews at acu.edu.au
Mon May 5 12:35:34 AEST 2014

ACU Philosophy Seminar Series

Doug McConnell (University of Melbourne)

“Narrative, self-governance and addiction”

2.30 PM – 4.00 PM


North Sydney, MacKillop Level 16 TWH Building

Strathfield, MSM VC Room (E2.45 Room)

In other states: ACU talks are linked by videoconference to all ACU national campuses.
Melbourne, St Patrick's Lv 7 (ROOM 703),  250 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne
Brisbane, McAuley AC.22
Canberra, Signadou 110  Ballarat Aquinas 503.

All enquiries: Steve Matthews (stephen.matthews at acu.edu.au)

I argue that self-narratives can undermine or empower self-governance in several ways. Certain self-narratives can entrench addiction while changes to such narratives can promote recovery. To make my case, I begin with Michael Bratman's account of agency where the agent self-governs if they form and follow plans and policies according to norms of practical reason. I then explain what a narrative account of self-governance adds to Bratman's view, drawing on first-hand accounts of substance dependent people. Self-narratives include plans and policies but connect them with the contingent aspects of agents’ wider self-concepts. The overarching self-narrative has effects on the plans and policies that appear plausible to the agent beyond the limits set by practical norms. If my account is correct, then we should consider self-narrative influences when assessing and attempting to improve self-governance.
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