Causation and the Narrative Meaning of Life
Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.11, No.1 (June 2021):24-42
This paper argues that causation is the core of the narrative meaning of life. In the first part, I show that the narrative meaning of life does not stop at narrative identity and includes causal relations beyond personal agency. In the second part, I employ Aristotle’s definition of plot in the Poetics as the compass for the narrative meaning of life. I show that all requirements of a plot pertain to causal relations. In the third part, I discuss the value of narrative causal relations. Here I challenge the instrumentalist accounts that deny any intrinsic value to narrative causal relations and see them as instrumental to other sorts of meaning (e.g., the ethical). I finally defend the ontological value of narrative causation, which inheres in the structure of causal relations.
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