The story of the self: narrative as the basis for self-development
There is an on-going debate between those who believe selves are stable kinds of pre-linguistic entity and those who maintain that selves, are themselves, formed by our linguistic practices specifically our capacity to compose stories and appreciate narratives (cf. Kerby 1991: 4, Dennett 1991: ch. 13, MacIntyre, 1981: ch. 15 Riceour, 1992: fifth study). The latter view is usually advanced under the auspices of a particular vision of the nature of language. The essence of that vision, which rejects the idea that language serves a purely referential function, is nicely expressed by Kerby when he writes "language is viewed not simply as a tool for communicating or mirroring back what we otherwise discover in our reality but is itself an important formative part of that reality, part of its very texture." (Kerby 1991: 2). I make a provisional case for thinking that selves might indeed be a 'product' of our narrative practices but from a different angle.