Owsiany on teleology in narrativePosted: May 4, 2012
Owsiany defends MacIntyre’s account of teleology in personal narrative against criticisms put forth by Peter Goldie and Peter Larmarque. The sort of closure and teleology in MacIntyre’s account need not amount to self-deception.
Some of the questions Michael fielded:
Nick Herlinger: Are you ultimately trying to defend a narrative view of the self? Do you think that, say, even the wrong account of narrative self is preferable to an episodic account like Strawson’s?
Andria Bianchi: You attribute to MacIntyre the thought that a unitary life can have closure, but does this point to the possibility of episodes themselves having closure?
MO to AB: Sure, you can have shorter, smaller goals that are achieved in one’s life, but the life quest is the dominant arc which would militate against total closure as a possibility for some discrete episodic chunk of a life, for MacIntyre.
Kathy Behrendt: I agree with your criticism of Lamarque’s understanding of teleology as MacIntyre employs it. But MacIntyre also speaks of discovery of the role we are playing–does this imply determinism, and in an odd way fulfil Lamarque’s prophecy/complaint?
MO: but does such discovery amount to predeterminism in Lamarque’s sense–I don’t think so.
Byron Williston: About Aristotle and the mean: seeing yourself accurately is a way of guarding against self-deception. You bring out the standard example: courage. But what about the other virtues–generosity or liberality or temperance. If I wildly misrepresent to myself how courageous I am, confrontation with a burning building will pretty clearly show this deception up. But when it comes to many of the other virtues, aren’t they unlike courage in this respect– can’t I indulge in self-deceptive self-creation and not get the kind of practical comeuppance of the former sort? Isn’t there disanalogously more wiggle room for aggrandized self-understanding?