Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 51–66 | Cite as

Towards a constitutive account of implicit narrativity

  • Fleur JongepierEmail author


The standard reply to the critique that narrative theories of the self are either chauvinistic or trivial is to “go implicit”. Implicit narratives, it is argued, are necessary for diachronically structured self-experience (barring triviality), but do not require that such narratives should be wholly articulable life stories (barring chauvinism). In this paper I argue that the standard approach, which puts forward a phenomenological conception of implicit narratives, is ultimately unable to get out of the clutches of the dilemma. In its place, I offer an alternative approach that does avoid the dilemma, by construing implicit narrativity as an enabling condition for experiences, rather than as something that is itself present in experience. According to this constitutive account, the coherence and intelligibility of our experiences is due to the fact that they are anchored in a larger, diachronic context. This context, I argue, takes a fundamentally embodied and narrative dimension.


Narrativity Embodiment Self-consciousness Subjectivity 



I wish to thank Marc Slors, Jan Bransen, Sem de Maagt, the participants of the workshop ‘Narrativity, interpretation and responsibility’ and three anonymous referees for their helpful comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this paper. This research was made possible by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (research project 322-20-003).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Radboud University NijmegenNijmegenNetherlands

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