Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization 2021931146, 9780198865384

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Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization
 2021931146, 9780198865384

Table of contents :
1. Introduction
Part I
2. Routemap 1: Autobiography
3. Autobiography is Recollection
4. Autobiography is Reflection on Experience
5. Autobiography is Artefactual
6. Autobiography is a Genre
7. Autobiography is Narrative
8. Paradigm Autobiographical Form
9. Autobiography is a Local Tradition
10. Rationalism about Autobiography
11. Autobiography as Clue and as Container
12. Autobiography as Historical Data
13. Autobiography as Thought Experiment
14. Form enables Reasoning
15. Particular Reasoning
16. Diachronic Reasoning
17. Compositional Reasoning
18. Objection: Autobiographies are Novels
19. Self-reflective reasoning
20. Horizontal Connection not Vertical Generalization
21. Routemap 2: Uses of Autobiography
22. Two Purposes of Autobiography
23. The Delphic Demand
24. Explanation
25. Justification and Self-enjoyment
26. Selfhood
27. Good life
28. Reductionism about Meaning
29. Accounts of the Self
30. Taxonomies of the Self
31. Tasks for an Account of the Self
32. Accounts of the Good Life
33. Taxonomies of the Good Life
34. Tasks for an Account of the Good Life
35. The Self and its Good
36. Self-realization
37. Ethical Objections to Self-realization
38. Metaphysics of the Realizable Self
39. An Epistemological Objection to Self-realization
40. Experiential Objections to Self-realization
41. Routemap 3: from Part I to Part II
Part II
42. Narrativist Views
43. Routemap 4: The Dialectic between Narrative and Self-realization
44. Siegfried Sassoon s Memoirs
45. The Shape of a Life
46. Narrative Non-additivity
47. Non-narrative Explanations of Non-additivity
48. Neither Agents nor Temporal Sequences Explain Non-additivity
49. Telling does not Explain Non-additivity
50. Genre does not Explain Non-additivity
51. Self-realization Explains Non-additivity
52. Narrative Self-unification
53. Irony vs Rosati
54. Transformative Experience vs Schechtman
55. Against Narrative Self-unification
56. For Self-realization over a Life
57. Objection: The Self is a Self-interpretation
58. First Reply: Self vs Persona
59. Second Reply: Pluralist realism about Self-knowledge
60. Introspection is a Bad Method of Self-discovery
61. The Objective Stance is an Incomplete Method of Self-discovery
62. Pleasure as Self-discovery
63. John Stuart Mill s Autobiography
64. Edmund Gosse s Father and Son
65. Lessons from Mill and Gosse
66. Asceticism
67. Enlistment as Self-discovery
68. Solitude as Self-discovery
69. Asceticism as Self-discovery
70. Pluralist Realism about Self-knowledge
71. Self-knowledge and Self-realization
72. Autobiography and Self-knowledge
73. Routemap 5: Against Narrative, for Self-realization
74. Objection: What about You?
Works Cited
Index

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Copyright © 2021. Oxford University Press USA - OSO. All rights reserved.

Good Lives

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

Copyright © 2021. Oxford University Press USA - OSO. All rights reserved. Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

Good Lives Autobiography, Self-­Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-­Realization

Copyright © 2021. Oxford University Press USA - OSO. All rights reserved.

SAMUEL CLARK

1

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

1 Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, United Kingdom Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries © Samuel Clark 2021 Te moral rights of the author have been asserted First Edition published in 2021 Impression: 1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by licence or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available

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Library of Congress Control Number: 2021931146 ISBN 978–0–19–886538–4 DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.001.0001 Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY Links to third party websites are provided by Oxford in good faith and for information only. Oxford disclaims any responsibility for the materials contained in any third party website referenced in this work.

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

Acknowledgements

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Tis book has taken a long time to write: some bits of it are older than my children. It includes material, ofen much changed, from earlier published work. I acknowledge permission to reuse elements of the following: • ‘Love, Poetry, and the Good Life’, Inquiry 53(2010): 565–78 • ‘Pleasure as Self-­Discovery’, Ratio 25(2012): 260–76 • ‘Under the Mountain: Basic Training, Individuality, and Comra­ deship’, Res Publica 19(2013): 67–79 • ‘Mill’s Autobiography as Literature’ in Christopher Macleod & Dale Miller eds, A Companion to Mill (Oxford: Blackwell, 2017), pp. 45–57 • ‘Narrative, Self-­Realization, and the Shape of a Life’, Ethical Teory and Moral Practice 21(2018): 371–85 • ‘Philosophical Taxonomies of Well-­Being’ in Kathleen T. Galvin ed., Routledge Handbook of Well-­Being (Abingdon: Routledge, 2018), pp. 76–83 • ‘Rationalism about Autobiography’ in Garry  L.  Hagberg ed., Narrative and Self-­Understanding (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), pp. 53–73 I have benefted from the generous attention, comments, and attempts to talk me out of my confusions and strange assertions, of: the organizers and audiences of events in Edinburgh, Hull, Keele, Lancaster, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Oxford, Prague, and San Francisco; the members of the Role Ethics Network run by Alex Barber and Sean Cordell; the participants in a special subject module on a draf at Lancaster University in Michaelmas 2017—Van Bui, Amy Chen, Phil Chandler, Pietro Cibinel, Hilman Leung, James Newman, and Izzy Simmons; my fellow investigators on the Military Lives and Transformative Experiences project, Liz Brewster and Brigit McWade; my current and former colleagues in the Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Religion at

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

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vi Acknowledgements Lancaster—especially Patrick Bishop, Brian Black, Reuven Brandt, Rachel Cooper, Sarah Hitchen, Gavin Hyman, Kim Knott, Kathryn MacKay, Chris Macleod, Neil Manson, Shuruq Naguib, Astrid Nordin, Lyndsey Porter, Chakravarthi Ram-­Prasad, Alison Stone, Cain Todd, Nick Unwin, and Garrath Williams; draf-­readers including Gavin Parnaby; and my good friends Derek Edyvane, Brian Garvey, David Martin, and Ryan Shirlow, who have been wittily arguing with me over pints for years. Tank you all! I have certainly forgotten some commenters, and am sorry for it. I hope they see their efects on me here regardless of my lack of refective grasp of it. I particularly thank two anonymous reviewers for Oxford University Press, whose generous and thoughtful comments certainly improved the book, even though I equally certainly haven’t managed to answer all of their criticisms. I am deeply indebted for love, support, and tolerance to my family: my parents Gillian and Stephen, my mother-­in-­law Sara, my late father-­in-­law Josef, my sisters Alex and Tabby, my brother-­in-­law Ed, and my brother- and sister-­in-­law Dominic and Hannah. I was diagnosed with a chronic auto-­immune illness in 2018, and since then I’ve had a huge amount of much-­needed support, for which I’m very grateful. But the person who’s done the most to shoulder the extra burdens, and to put up with my exhaustion, gloom, and periods of uselessness, is my wife Emily. Tank-­you my love: I’d be lost without you. I dedicate this book to my wonderful children Hallam and Ursula, with all my love.

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

Contents 1. Introduction

1

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PA RT I 2. Routemap 1: Autobiography

5

3. Autobiography Is Recollection

6

4. Autobiography Is Refection on Experience

8

5. Autobiography Is Artefactual

10

6. Autobiography Is a Genre

13

7. Autobiography Is Narrative

17

8. Paradigm Autobiographical Form

21

9. Autobiography Is a Local Tradition

28

10. Rationalism about Autobiography

29

11. Autobiography as Clue and as Container

32

12. Autobiography as Historical Data

33

13. Autobiography as Tought Experiment

34

14. Form Enables Reasoning

36

1 5. Particular Reasoning

37

16. Diachronic Reasoning

39

17. Compositional Reasoning

41

18. Objection: Autobiographies Are Novels

43

19. Self-­Refective Reasoning

46

20. Horizontal Connection Not Vertical Generalization

50

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

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viii contents

21. Routemap 2: Uses of Autobiography

52

22. Two Purposes of Autobiography

53

23. Te Delphic Demand

57

24. Explanation

60

25. Justifcation and Self-­Enjoyment

63

2 6. Selfood

67

27. Good Life

69

28. Reductionism about Meaning

72

29. Accounts of the Self

76

30. Taxonomies of the Self

82

31. Tasks for an Account of the Self

84

32. Accounts of the Good Life

87

33. Taxonomies of the Good Life

96

34. Tasks for an Account of the Good Life

102

35. Te Self and Its Good

107

36. Self-­Realization

108

37. Ethical Objections to Self-­Realization

112

38. Metaphysics of the Realizable Self

114

39. An Epistemological Objection to Self-­Realization

116

40. Experiential Objections to Self-­Realization

118

41. Routemap 3: From Part I to Part II

123

PA RT I I 42. Narrativist Views

127

43. Routemap 4: Te Dialectic between Narrative and Self-­Realization

130

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

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contents  ix

4 4. Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs

132

45. Te Shape of a Life

134

46. Narrative Non-­additivity

137

47. Non-­narrative Explanations of Non-­additivity

139

48. Neither Agents nor Temporal Sequences Explain Non-­additivity

142

49. Telling Does Not Explain Non-­Additivity

144

50. Genre Does Not Explain Non-­Additivity

148

51. Self-­Realization Explains Non-­Additivity

151

52. Narrative Self-­Unifcation

153

53. Irony vs Rosati

155

54. Transformative Experience vs Schechtman

159

55. Against Narrative Self-­Unifcation

166

56. For Self-­Realization over a Life

168

57. Objection: Te Self is a Self-­Interpretation

170

58. First Reply: Self vs Persona

173

59. Second Reply: Pluralist Realism about Self-­Knowledge

175

60. Introspection Is a Bad Method of Self-­Discovery

176

61. Te Objective Stance Is an Incomplete Method of Self-­Discovery

179

62. Pleasure as Self-­Discovery

181

63. John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography

183

64. Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son

184

65. Lessons from Mill and Gosse

185

66. Asceticism

192

67. Enlistment as Self-­Discovery

197

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

x contents

202

69. Asceticism as Self-­Discovery

209

70. Pluralist Realism about Self-­Knowledge

211

71. Self-­Knowledge and Self-­Realization

213

72. Autobiography and Self-­Knowledge

217

73. Routemap 5: Against Narrative, for Self-­Realization

221

74. Objection: What about You?

223

Works Cited Index

225 243

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68. Solitude as Self-­Discovery

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

1

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Introduction Reasoning with autobiography is a way to self-­knowledge. We can learn about ourselves, as human beings and as individuals, by reading, thinking through, and arguing about this distinctive kind of text. Reasoning with Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son is a way of learning about the nature of the good life and the roles that pleasure and self-­ ­ expression can play in it. Reasoning with Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs is a way of learning about transformative experience, ­self-­alienation, and therefore the nature of the self. Tese and other autobiographies address ethical problems of human life. Te ethical is a larger category than the moral, if that means only what we owe to others as a matter of universal rule. Te basic ethical question is Socrates’s question—how should one live?1—and it is surrounded by such interconnected questions as: what am I? Who am I? Why did I do what I did? How did I get here? Did I do the right thing? What is good for me, and what bad? Has my life gone well? What should I become, and how? What does my life mean, if it means anything? Am I the owner of my life, or am I alienated from it? Do I live under my own command, or am I a puppet? Does my life hang together as a whole? What is the real me, and what is disposable or a mere mask? What changes can I survive? Tese are the traditional topics of moral philosophy—the right, the good—expanded by consideration of the self, personal identity, self-­ ­ knowledge, practical rationality, autonomy, meaning, and the depths and limits of the frst-­personal perspective. I claim that engaging with autobiography can help us here.

1  Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (with a commentary on the text by A. W. Moore, London: Routledge, 2005), chapter 1. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0001

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

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2  GOOD LIVES Tis book develops and defends that claim, by answering a series of more particular questions. What is an autobiography? How can we learn about ourselves from reading one? On what subjects does autobiography teach? What should we learn about them? In particular, given that autobiographies are narratives, should we learn something about the importance of narrative in human life? Could our storytelling about our own lives make sense of them as wholes, unify them over time, or make them good for us? Could storytelling make the self? Te book is a continuous argument in seventy-­ four numbered sections, divided into two parts. Part I works from the autobiographer’s point of view, and asks what she does, what she aims at, and how she achieves her efects. Part II then works from the reader of autobiography’s point of view, and asks what we should learn from autobiography, against various arguments for the centrality of narrative to human life. My overall aim is a critique of narrative and a defence of a self-­realization account of the self and its good. Te autobiographies I read and interpret here are excellent books, and reading them could be revelatory for the right reader—maybe for you. So you could ask: why read this book instead? My reply is that I hope you won’t read this book instead, but as well, as a way into, and reasoned commentary on, a selection of great autobiographies. Tey are ambiguous as well as potentially revelatory, and my work with them disambiguates and examines their various possible lessons. I connect these autobiographical lessons with some equally revelatory work in the very diferent idiom of professional philosophy, in a way which aims to illuminate both. Tese autobiographies don’t simply hand their revelations out: we need to reason with them, and I show how, both in the abstract and in concrete cases. So it is worth reading both, and reading the autobiographies I discuss in this book alongside it.

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

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PA RT I

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

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2 Routemap 1

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Autobiography

In Part I, I investigate a wide range of autobiographies, alongside work on the history and literary criticism of autobiography, on narrative, and on the philosophies of the self and of the good life. I aim to answer my frst three questions: what is an autobiography? How can we learn about  ourselves from reading one? About what subjects does ­autobiography teach? In pursuit of those answers, I develop an account of autobiography as paradigmatically a narrative artefact in a genre defned by its form: particular diachronic compositional self-­refection. I develop an account of narrative as paradigmatically a generic telling of a connected temporal sequence of particular actions taken by, and particular events which happen to, agents. I defend rationalism about autobiography, the view that autobiography is in itself a distinctive and valuable form of ethical reasoning, and not merely involved in reasoning of other, more familiar kinds. I distinguish two important purposes of autobiography, self-­investigation and self-­presentation. I identify fve kinds of self-­knowledge at which autobiographical self-­ investigation typically aims—explanation, justifcation, ­self-­enjoyment, selfood, and good life—and argue that meaning is not a distinct sixth kind. I then focus on my main concerns, selfood and good life: I set out the wide range of existing accounts, taxonomies, and tasks for each, and give an initial characterization of the self-­realization account of the self and its good which I defend in Part II. All of the italicized terms in this paragraph will be made clearer as we go on. By the end of Part I, we will have a clearer understanding of what autobiographies are, what they can do, and how they can do it. In Part II, I put that understanding to work to critique narrative and to defend self-­realization in human life. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0002

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

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Autobiography Is Recollection Our frst question is: what is an autobiography? I build towards an answer by taking up various perspectives on autobiographical thinking and texts. To begin, an autobiography is a recollection of the past, and in particular of the past life of its author. Tat author’s biological memory is one method of recollection, but not the only one. No one remembers all of her own past life or remembers with total accuracy, so autobiographers also make use of such further and corrective sources as their own contemporary diaries, ofcial paperwork like birth certifcates and hospital records, maps, photographs, and other people’s recollections. Human memory is of three main kinds: Procedural memory is of how to do things: I remember = know how to ride a bike, construct proofs in propositional logic, make pasta puttanesca. Semantic memory is knowledge of propositions: I remember = know that Ambleside is at the north end of Lake Windermere, the atomic number of carbon is 12, my daughter’s birthday is in August. Autonoetic memory (also known as episodic, experiential, or direct memory) is memory of past experiences: I remember = can, more or less vividly, present to myself lighting the oven to bake bread this morning, holding my son for the frst time, falling of a high ivy-­covered wall as a child. Tis third kind of remembering, recollection, is most distinctively relevant to autobiography. It can be further divided into feld memories, which are presented from the frst-­personal point of view—I remember looking down at my minutes-­ old son sleeping on my chest—and observer memories, which present a third-­ personal perspective on

Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0003

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

Autobiography Is Recollection  7

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oneself—I seem to see, from a viewpoint in the garden below the wall, a small boy, myself, tripping and falling. Memory is important for autobiographical recollection, but it is also unreliable. Particular rememberings are not straightforwardly replayings of stored representations: they are constructed on the fy to meet current demands, using the same psychological mechanisms as imagining. Autonoetic observer memories in particular make this clear, since they couldn’t be accurate replayings of any experience one had, even though they sometimes accurately report some proposition: that I fell of a high ivy-­covered wall as a child, if that is actually the case. Te phenomenal sense of remembering, as opposed to imagining, some experience is a typically non-­conscious judgement based on various kinds of evidence, not an intrinsic badge of authenticity. Accurate memories aren’t internally marked as such, but this doesn’t mean that there is no distinction between accurate and inaccurate memories: it means that we can’t immediately or always tell which is which.2

2  Tis and the previous paragraph draw on Richard P. Bentall, Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature (London: Penguin, 2003); Charles Fernyhough, Pieces of Light: Te New Science of Memory (London: Profle, 2012); Kourken Michaelian & John Sutton, ‘Memory’ in Edward N. Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2017 Edition), https:// plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2017/entries/memory/.

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

4 Autobiography Is Refection on

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Experience Recollection attempts to recover past experience. An autobiography is refection on that past experience for purposes of self-­investigation and self-­presentation. ‘Lived experience is the key to self-­understanding’,3 says Havi Carel. I  suggest that this is true but incomplete. Experience is opaque, confused, and misleading for the experiencer. Understanding one’s own experience is a difcult achievement, not automatic or transparent or incorrigible. Self-­knowledge from experience is doubly difcult. Experience is necessary, but must be supplemented, corrected, and confronted with three forms of refection: frst-­person refection on experience through autobiographical distance on oneself; abstract refection on experience as exemplifying more general and systematic problems and features; third-­personal comparison between diferent experiences and from diferent perspectives. Te frst of these forms of refection is the province of the experiencer. Te second is too, but is also available to others thinking about her experience. Te third is only available from a third-­person perspective, although we can reach such a perspective on phases of our own lives 3  Havi Carel, Illness: Te Cry of the Flesh (revised edn, London: Acumen, 2013), p. 109. I will use ‘experience’ rather than ‘lived experience’, taking it that to experience something is to live through it, and avoiding as far as possible the technical weight of the latter term in disciplines and literatures including feminist epistemology and philosophy of science, phenomenology, and patient and disability activism. See further Elizabeth Anderson, ‘Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science’ in Edward  N.  Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2017 Edition), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2017/entries/feminism-­ epistemology/; David Woodruf Smith, ‘Phenomenology’ in Edward N. Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/ win2016/entries/phenomenology/; James I. Charlton, Nothing About Us Without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998). Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0004

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Autobiography Is Reflection on Experience  9

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(I  will have much more to say about this and other doublings and ­disunities of self later). Experience, then, is not the royal road to self-­understanding. It’s right to take experience seriously, especially when it teaches things which are unavailable except by experience, and especially when people report experiences of oppression, domination, and other injustice. But frst-­ ­ personal and third-­ personal refection on experience is also needed, and is ofered by autobiography. Tese frst two perspectives on autobiography, that it is recollection of and refection on experience, apply broadly to all autobiographical thinking, from idle musing, through impromptu reminiscence with friends, to unfnished sketches on old hard drives, all the way to fnished, published texts. But it’s the last of these that I’m most interested in here, and I now focus on those autobiographical texts.

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Autobiography Is Artefactual An autobiography is not raw data. It’s not a transparent window into an autobiographer’s life, but a work or a performance or a made thing: art, craf, an artefact. Tat autobiographies are artefacts has four signifcant consequences. First, artefacts are made to do something: an autobiography is an autobiographer’s device by which she intends to bring something about. Common aims of autobiographies include apologetics, self-­knowledge, self-­assessment, examination of conscience, public self-­presentation or self-­advertisement, inspiration or warning to readers, debt-­paying, score-­settling, coming clean, owning up, self-­defence against biographers, and making money. Tese aims can be combined, sometimes in ways which mutually complicate them: Robert Graves’s Goodbye to All Tat is at once a settling of personal accounts with an English childhood leading to terrible experience in the First World War; a performance of a character in a series of melodramatic and bitterly comic skits; and a consciously manipulative attempt to write a bestseller.4 Second, like any artefact, an autobiography both reveals and conceals its maker.5 Te autobiographer, like any artist, is in her work but does not reveal all of herself in it. Some of herself comes through regardless of intention, like a fngerprint in pottery. Some is deliberately deployed. Some is deliberately hidden, or inaccessible, or unspeakable: Rudyard 4  Robert Graves, Goodbye to All Tat (revised edn, London: Cassell, 1957). See further Paul Fussell, Te Great War and Modern Memory (25th anniversary edn, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), chapter 6; Miranda Seymour, Robert Graves: Life on the Edge (London: Simon and Schuster, 1995). 5  Mary Evans, in Missing Persons: Te Impossibility of Auto/Biography (London: Routledge, 1999), makes much of this incompleteness of autobiography, but it’s hard to see why. Evans presents it as a revelation that life-­writing can’t ofer ‘absolute and inclusive truth’ (p. 2) about its subjects, but ofers little evidence that anyone ever thought it might. Tis is, of course, a classic sceptical move: assert an impossible standard, and then triumphantly announce that nothing meets it. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0005

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Autobiography Is Artefactual  11 Kipling’s autobiography Something of Myself might more accurately have been titled Hardly Anything of Myself.6 Some is deliberately changed for artistic purposes: in Siegfried Sassoon’s autobiographical trilogy, his alter ego George Sherston, unlike Sassoon himself, is an orphan.7 Te autobiographical artefact is an attempt to deal artfully or crafily with material that has its own demands and resistances. Tird, to take an autobiography as an artefact is to recognize it as made in and addressed to a particular context, with inherited and public tools and techniques. Makers have particular languages and audiences which partly constitute what they do in and by making. But some makers also transform their tools and remake their audiences: late nineteenth- and early twentieth-­century autobiographers like Edmund Gosse recast the inherited tools and forms of confessional and conversion narratives into their own distinctive deconversions.8 Te contexts of autobiographies are productive and institutional as well as communicative. For us, autobiography is a kind of commodity, a made thing brought to various mass and literary markets by publishing companies, and therefore sustained by a complex of international capitalist rules, processes, and hierarchies. An autobiography is a thing we can buy and sell, and selling autobiographies is big business.9 Fourth, the audience at which an artefact is aimed is not passive in response to it. Audiences remake what they are given for their own purposes, which may be far from authors’ intentions, especially when an audience is one they never imagined: what might the fourth-­century 6  ‘Te frst reaction to Kipling’s autobiography was summed up by a wit among the reviewers, who said that it was not in fact Something of Myself but Hardly Anything of Myself’— Tomas Pinney, introduction to Rudyard Kipling, Something of Myself and Other Autobiographical Writings ed. Tomas Pinney (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. vii–xxxv, p. vii. 7 Siegfried Sassoon, Te Complete Memoirs of George Sherston (London: Faber and Faber, 1937). 8  Edmund Gosse, Father and Son ed. Peter Abbs (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983). See further John  D.  Barbour, Versions of Deconversion: Autobiography and the Loss of Faith (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994), chapter  4; Linda  H.  Peterson, Victorian Autobiography: Te Tradition of Self-­Interpretation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986). 9  Although apparently not as big as it once was. According to https://www.theguardian. com/news/datablog/2013/feb/07/biographies-­autobiography-­nielsen-­2001, sales of hard copy, new autobiographies (so not including e-­books or second-­hand books) have precipitously declined over this century. Some autobiographies—of Peter Kay, Sharon Osborne, Cheryl Cole, Barack Obama, Dave Pelzer—are still bestsellers, though.

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12  GOOD LIVES

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Roman North African Augustine make of our responses to his Confessions? Audiences’ common uses of autobiographies include gossip, discovery of secrets, moral uplif, schadenfreude, supporting a moralistic sense of superiority or inferiority, looking for clues to the interpretation of other work by the autobiographer, looking for a hero to emulate, understanding another human being, evaluating another human being’s life and actions, looking for ways to express their own as-­ yet-­ unspoken experiences, exploring exemplary ways of being human, and aiding their own pursuit of self-­knowledge.

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Autobiography Is a Genre An autobiography is an artefact in the autobiographical genre, a token of a generic type. A genre, as I use the term here, is a tradition ­consisting of a canon of exemplary works and their makers, a pattern of ­development—or at least a pattern of change—over time, and a shared self-­consciousness. Science fction, for example, is a literary genre. Its canon includes work by Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Ursula Le Guin, and Octavia Butler. Its development includes a prehistory in Verne and Wells, a ‘golden age’ in pulp magazines and mass-­market paperbacks, the New Wave, and the cyberpunk movement.10 Tese changes are each responses to and repurposings of what went before—cyberpunk is a reaction to science fction’s past, not an ex nihilo creation, for example. Science fction’s self-­consciousness is displayed in the self-­identifying, identity-­presenting, and identity-­forming activity of its writer and fan culture; in its critical meta-­ literature in journals such as Foundation and blogs such as Making Light; and in its shared vocabulary for describing common technical and artistic problems.11 Tat a genre exists does not require that its boundaries be precise: Science fction has unambiguous core representatives—Ringworld—but also boundary cases and undecidables— Nineteen Eighty-­Four.12

10  Brian Aldiss & David Wingrove, Trillion Year Spree: Te History of Science Fiction (New York: Atheneum, 1986); Adam Roberts, Te History of Science Fiction (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). 11  Making Light, http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/. One widely used account of SF-­ specifc critical vocabulary is Bruce Sterling & Lewis Shiner, ‘Te Turkey City Lexicon—APrimerforSFWorkshops’,https://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/turkey-­city-­lexicon-­a-­primer­for-­sf-­workshops/. 12  Larry Niven, Ringworld (New York: Ballantine Books, 1970); George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-­Four (London: Penguin, 2009). Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0006

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14  GOOD LIVES

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Rapidly forgotten Booker Prize winners, on the other hand, is not a genre, even though it is a specifable class of books and authors. Following the same schema, the autobiographical canon includes Augustine’s Confessions, Margery Kempe’s Te Book of Margery Kempe, Benvenuto Cellini’s My Life, John Bunyan’s Grace Abounding, Jean-­Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions, William Wordsworth’s Te Prelude, John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, John Henry Newman’s Apologia pro Vita Sua, Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth, T. E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Gertrude Stein’s Te Autobiography of Alice  B.  Toklas, Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals, and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.13 (I intend this as a miscellaneous indicative sample, not as a complete list—which would be impossible in practice—and not as a value judgement.) Te genre’s moments of development or change include Augustine’s paradigmatic conversion narrative; the subjective turn usually associated with Rousseau (but, according to Estelle Jelinek, actually rooted in seventeenth-­century women’s autobiographies, which were far more personal and self-­analytic than the records of public deeds written by men of the period14); the spiritual-­ political slave narratives of

13 Augustine, Confessions trans. Henry Chadwick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991); Margery Kempe, Te Book of Margery Kempe trans. Barry Windeatt (revised edn, London: Penguin, 1994); Benvenuto Cellini, My Life trans. Julia Conway Bondanella & Peter Bondanella (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); John Bunyan, Grace Abounding: And Other Spiritual Autobiographies ed. John Stachniewski with Anita Pacheco (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); Jean-­Jacques Rousseau, Confessions trans. Angela Scholar ed. Patrick Coleman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); William Wordsworth, Te Prelude: Te Four Texts (1798, 1799, 1805, 1850) ed. Jonathan Wordsworth (London: Penguin, 1995); John Stuart Mill, ‘Autobiography’ in John M. Robson & Jack Stillinger eds, Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, volume I: Autobiography and Literary Essays (Toronto: University of Toronto Press/London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981), pp. 1–290; Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: Written by Himself ed. Houston A. Baker Jr (London: Penguin, 1986); John Henry Newman, Apologia pro Vita Sua ed. Ian Ker (London: Penguin, 1994); Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth: An Autobiographical Study of the Years 1900–1925 (London: Virago, 1978); T.  E.  Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom (London: Penguin, 2000); Gertrude Stein, Te Autobiography of Alice  B.  Toklas (London: Penguin, 1966); Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals (London: Penguin, 1959); Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (London: Virago, 1984). 14 Estelle C. Jelinek, Te Tradition of Women’s Autobiography: From Antiquity to the Present (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986), chapter 4.

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Autobiography Is a Genre  15

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nineteenth-­century America;15 and the deconversion narratives I have already mentioned. Te autobiographical genre’s self-­consciousness appears in several ways. First, autobiographers are typically aware, sometimes mockingly aware, of the genre that they are working in. In the opening paragraphs of Goodbye to All Tat Graves pokes fun at generic tropes: ‘As a proof of my readiness to accept autobiographical conventions, let me at once record my two earliest memories.’16 Second, there are self-­identifed historians and histories of the genre in part or whole.17 Tird, there is explicit disagreement about defnitions, ­characterizations, inclusions, and exclusions. According to Roy Pascal, the autobiographical form is distinguished by the author taking up a self-­separated double perspective as both subject and object of attention. Texts like diaries and chronicles therefore fail to be fully autobiographical because ‘the author fails to distance himself from himself.’18 In Philippe Lejeune’s widely quoted—and almost equally widely attacked—defnition, autobiography is ‘retrospective prose narrative written by a real person concerning his own existence, where the focus is his individual life, in particular the story of his personality’.19 For Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, autobiography is ‘a historically situated practice of self-­representation’:20

15  Charles  T.  Davis & Henry Louis Gates Jr eds, Te Slave’s Narrative (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985). 16 Graves, Goodbye to All Tat, p. 9. 17 Apart from the historical texts already noted, examples include: Diana Bjorklund, Interpreting the Self: Two Hundred Years of American Autobiography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998); A. O. J. Cockshut, Te Art of Autobiography in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984); Elizabeth De Mijolla, Autobiographical Quests: Augustine, Montaigne, Rousseau, and Wordsworth (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1994); William  C.  Spengemann, Te Forms of Autobiography: Episodes in the History of a Literary Genre (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980); James Treadwell, Autobiographical Writing and British Literature, 1783–1834 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); Ben Yagoda, Memoir: A History (New York: Penguin, 2009). 18  Roy Pascal, Design and Truth in Autobiography (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1960), p. 24. On this kind of doubling, see further Shelley Duval and Robert A. Wicklund, A Teory of Objective Self Awareness (New York: Academic Press, 1972). 19 Philippe Lejeune, On Autobiography ed. Paul John Eakin, trans. Katherine Leary (Minneapolis: University of Minesota Press, 1989), p. 4. 20 Sidonie Smith & Julia Watson, Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives (Minneapolis: University of Minesota Press, 2001), p. 14.

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16  GOOD LIVES

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for Peter Abbs, ‘a form of creative introspection’.21 James Olney ofers an etymology of ‘autobiography’—self-­life-­writing—but worries that ‘there is no way to bring autobiography to heel as a literary genre with its own proper form, terminology, and observances’ and that ‘we ofen cannot tell whether we should call something a novel, a poem, a critical dissertation, or an autobiography.’22 Fourth, critics are aware of their own relations to autobiography and to each other. For example, autobiography criticism is marked by dispute between a mainstream personifed by Roy Pascal, Karl Weintraub, and James Olney amongst others, and a radical stream attacking it.23 According to the radicals, the mainstream understanding of autobiography is problematically Romantic, gendered, and epistemologically naïve, in assuming an unambiguous identity between author, narrator, and protagonist; a unifed and precultural self; the possibility of ­complete revelation of that self; simple dichotomies between diferent individuals and between individual and society; a universal human nature revealed in the lives and concerns of almost-­entirely white and male subjects; and a sharp dividing line between fact and fction in narrative.24 But Laura Marcus argues that the mainstream and its critics have more in common than they think, and that there is a unitary genre of autobiography criticism reaching back into the nineteenth century.25

21  Peter Abbs, editor’s introduction to Edmund Gosse, Father and Son (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983), pp. 9–32, p. 16. 22 James Olney, ‘Autobiography and the Cultural Moment: A Tematic, Historical, and Bibliographical Introduction’ in James Olney ed., Autobiography: Essays Teoretical and Critical (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), pp. 3–27, p. 4. 23 Pascal, Design and Truth in Autobiography; Karl Weintraub, Te Value of the Individual: Self and Circumstance in Autobiography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978); James Olney, Metaphors of Self: Te Meaning of Autobiography (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972). 24  Linda Anderson, Autobiography (2nd edn, Abingdon: Routledge, 2011); Evans, Missing Persons; Candace Lang, ‘Autobiography in the Afermath of Romanticism’, Diacritics 12(1982): 2–16. 25 Laura Marcus, Auto/biographical Discourses: Criticism, Teory, Practice (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994).

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7 Autobiography Is Narrative Autobiographies tell stories—life-­stories—or, more grandly, they are narratives. But what is it to be a narrative? I defne the term as follows:

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A narrative is a generic telling of a connected temporal sequence of particular actions taken by, and particular events which happen to, agents.26

Tese various features need not appear together. Many of them are not individually necessary for something’s being a narrative. Several diferent sub-­groups of them are each sufcient for its being so. Tis is because narrative is a radial category. It has clear central or paradigmatic cases: John Crowley’s novel Little, Big; Antony Beevor’s military history D-­Day; Richard Holmes’s literary biography Shelley: Te Pursuit; and autobiographies including Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs; Doris Lessing’s Under My Skin; and John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography. Chains of similarity and extension lead out, from one of these paradigms’ typical features or another, to cases-­ by-­ association and ambiguous cases.27 26  Mieke Bal’s defnition is that ‘a narrative text is a text in which an agent relates (“tells”) a story in a particular medium . . . A story is a fabula that is presented in a certain manner. A fabula is a series of logically and chronologically related events that are caused or experienced by actors’—Mieke Bal, Narratology: Introduction to the Teory of Narrative (2nd edn, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), p. 5. I acknowledge but don’t make use here of the distinction between story and fabula. Gregory Currie, Narratives and Narrators: A Philosophy of Stories (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), is more concerned than I am with the way in which narrative tellings represent their contents by manifesting their makers’ communicative intentions. Peter Goldie, Te Mess Inside: Narrative, Emotion, and the Mind (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), focuses on the product of narration (a story) where I focus on the process (a telling). I don’t believe that these are signifcant diferences for my purposes. 27  ‘Te category mother . . . is structured radially with respect to a number of its subcategories: there is a central subcategory, defned by a cluster of converging cognitive models (the birth model, the nurturance model, etc.); in addition, there are noncentral extensions which are not specialized instances of the central subcategory, but rather are variants of it (adoptive mother, birth mother, foster mother, surrogate mother, etc.). Tese variants are not generated Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0007

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18  GOOD LIVES Narrativity is therefore a matter of degree, not all-­ or-­ nothing, and diferent texts can be narratives in diferent ways. So, for example, there are narratives which are not yet generic, because they help to found the genres in which they can later, anachronistically, be placed: consider Frankenstein’s relation to science fction. Further out from the centre, there are agentless narratives. Films such as Koyaanisqatsi or Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore tell a temporal sequence of visual and auditory events with relations of analogy, contrast, and repetition within a rhythmic structure, and contain images of human beings, alongside other objects, without representing their agency.28 Or consider narratives of geological processes, or of the formation of the solar system, or of the frst few microseconds afer the Big Bang.29 But there are limits to these chains: not everything is a narrative, because being a telling, something told or related or reported or presented, is a necessary condition of being one. Tere are no ­ ­non-­artefactual narratives. Te existence of a narrative requires the ­narration of some content to which it refers, and which need not itself be a narrative. We can tell stories about stories—consider One Tousand and One Nights—but not all stories are about stories. Some are about fghting in the First World War, becoming politically active in interwar Rhodesia, or growing up hot-­housed as the utilitarian messiah. Te fip side of that point is that being a temporal sequence of particular actions and events is not sufcient for being a narrative. Tere are innumerable untold sequences—consider ‘what happened at the precise grid reference you are at now, in the twenty-­four hours leading up to exactly 1,000 years ago’—which are presumably narratable, but which aren’t narratives until told. Many temporal sequences of actions and

from the central model by general rules; instead, they are extended by convention and must be learned one by one.’—George Lakof, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Tings: What Categories Reveal About the Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), p. 91. Compare: ‘[W]e see a complicated network of similarities overlapping and criss-­crossing: sometimes overall similarities, sometimes similarities of detail’—Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations trans. G. E. M. Anscombe (3rd edn, Oxford: Blackwell, 1967), §66 (p. 32e). 28  Geofrey Regio et al., Koyaanisqatsi (Santa Fe: IRE Productions/Sante Fe Institute for Regional Education, 1982); Mark Leckey, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (self-­produced, 1999). Leckey’s flm is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dS2McPYzEE. 29  Tanks to Phil Chandler for pointing these examples out to me.

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

Autobiography Is Narrative  19 events are potential content for narratives, but not yet narratives because not yet narrated by anyone. But what about being a telling of an unconnected temporal sequence of particular actions and events? For example: At 2pm yesterday, a schoolgirl in Shefeld accidentally lef her bag on the tram. At 2.30pm, the Prime Minister convened a cabinet meeting. At 3pm, a family of swans drifed lazily across Coniston Water . . .

Tis is in a vague borderland, where is this a narrative? is perhaps an empty question, and we should just say that it has some of the features of paradigmatic narratives but not others. If we need a name for it, we could call it an annal.30 Moving inwards across that borderland, what about a telling of a temporal sequence of particular agents’ actions and events connected such that at least some of them are explained?

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At 2pm yesterday, a schoolgirl in Shefeld accidentally lef her bag on the tram, because she was worried that when she got home, mum would be drunk again.

Tis is still a thin narrative, but it is more narrative than my example annal. Getting closer still to the centre, consider a telling of a temporal sequence of particular agents’ actions and events connected both by explanatory relations and by literary relations like analogy, symmetry, reversal, poetic justice, etc. But mum isn’t drunk this time, because she’s searching desperately for her own lost bag.

Tis is still more clearly narrative than my previous example.

30  Noel Carroll, ‘On the Narrative Connection’ in Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 118–33.

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

20  GOOD LIVES Back at the central paradigm, we can add a generic character by ofering a telling of a connected temporal sequence of particular agents’ actions and events which create expectations in its audience about what kinds of further actions and events will follow:31 But mum isn’t drunk this time, because she’s searching desperately for her own lost bag. Te bag with the taped plastic bundle of white powder in it. Big Joe told her to hide it, keep it safe, that he’d be back for it. Tat he’d kill her if it wasn’t there when he came. ***

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For a moment, Detective Sergeant Moss tried to pretend she hadn’t heard her phone. Five minutes ’til this shif ends, come on! Tere’s a drink somewhere with my name on it. But in the end, as she always did, she took the call. Tere’s a body somewhere with my name on it.

Finally, we should note two features which aren’t in my account of narrative. First, I don’t require that narratives be fctional, for the obvious reason that we can and do narrate non-­fctional things: the D-­Day landings; Shelley’s brief time at Oxford; Doris Lessing’s frst marriage. Second, I don’t require that narratives end, because of such obvious counterexamples as comics and soap operas. Autobiographies are typically narratives in the paradigmatic sense, but they don’t have to be. Tere’s room for experimentation and for ­non-­paradigmatic autobiographies which are only partially narrative.

31  I draw here on Gregory Currie, ‘Genre’ in Arts and Minds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 43–62.

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Paradigm Autobiographical Form Autobiography is a particular kind of narrative, and I will argue that its distinctive formal features are a better explanation of its powers than its narrativity. To do that, I need frst to pick out the central generic features of autobiography. Take John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography as a representative example of an autobiography. In this public and much-­reproduced text Mill tells a story, in grammatically frst-­person prose, of his own life in temporal order from childhood to old age. Mill represents his own life over time as shaped, structured, and connected such that it is a life, not merely a temporal sequence of unrelated events. His life-­story is focused on individual people, events, actions, and their relations, and is divided into chapters which associate temporal episodes (‘Childhood’, ‘Youthful Propagandism’) with fundamental infuences and experiences (‘My Father’s Life and Character’, ‘Te Most Valuable Friendship of My Life’). Mill takes his own life as useful to his readers: as potentially exemplary or generalizable, not as sui generis, and he draws tentative lessons about humans, not just about himself. Tese points are obvious, given our expectations of the ­autobiographical genre, and we can easily multiply examples: the same standard form appears in Richard Feynman’s Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!, Eric Hobsbawm’s Interesting Times, Janet Frame’s An Angel at My Table, Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, and many others.32 Mill’s Autobiography is a paradigmatic example of the classic autobiographical

32 Richard  P.  Feynman, ‘Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!’: Adventures of a Curious Character ed. Edward Hutchings (London: Vintage, 1992); Eric Hobsbawm, Interesting Times: A Twentieth-­Century Life (London: Abacus, 2002); Janet Frame, An Angel at My Table (London: Virago, 2008); Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (London: Abacus, 1995). Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0008

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22  GOOD LIVES form, and I want to pick out four distinguishing features it exemplifes: autobiography is particular diachronic compositional self-­refection.33 First, particularity: Mill’s Autobiography and other paradigmatic autobiographies describe one particular life and its particular parts—the autobiographer’s own parents, childhood, experiences—with an eye to saying something about parents, childhood, and experience in general, but getting at the general via the particular. We may encounter philosophers’ useful abstractions—power, freedom, pleasure, desire—in autobiographies, but we encounter them frst as particular people, possibilities, delights, wants: as Mill’s oppressive father or his ­ ­self-­revelatory joy in Wordsworth’s poetry, for example. Mill uses a reading of his own particular mental crisis partly to develop his general account of the good life.34 Second, diachronicity: the Autobiography, and paradigmatic ­autobiography, looks back from one time to a sequence of events over the extended past. Late-­in-­life-­Mill, in the narrator’s present, turns his attention on his own historical past, as distinct from attending to himself now—as when I consider whether this is anxiety or anger or just heart palpitations that I’m now feeling—and as distinct from attending to a life as other than articulated over time. In contrast, there are non-­diachronic autobiographies in which the structuring principle is not an ordered stretch of sequential time. Herbert Read’s Te Innocent Eye is a refection on his childhood structured by the cyclical seasons and seasonal work on the Yorkshire farm where he grew up.35 In Alice Koller’s Te Stations of Solitude, the ‘stations’ are thematically connected aspects rather than temporally ­discrete phases of her life—Unbinding, Homing, Moneying, Mourning— which add up to an account of it.36 Daily or moment-­ to-­ moment

33  Compare Samuel Clark, ‘Mill’s Autobiography as Literature’ in Christopher Macleod & Dale Miller eds, A Companion to Mill (Oxford: Blackwell, 2017), pp. 45–57. I now think that what I present there as paradigmatic features of autobiography are narrower and more specifcally Millian than I then supposed, and prefer this broader account. 34  See Samuel Clark, ‘Love, Poetry, and the Good Life: Mill’s Autobiography and Perfectionist Ethics’, Inquiry 53(2010): 565–78. 35  Herbert Read, Te Innocent Eye in Te Contrary Experience: Autobiographies (London: Faber and Faber, 1963), pp. 15–55. 36  Alice Koller, Te Stations of Solitude (New York: Bantam Books, 1990).

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Paradigm Autobiographical Form  23

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life-­logging in a diary or on Facebook falls short of being paradigmatic autobiography because it lacks diachronic turning of attention on one’s own past. It could be material for autobiographical refection, but it isn’t yet autobiography. Outside the space of autobiography entirely are painters’ and photographers’ self-­ portraits, which are typically synchronic self-­refections, and, even when they depict a moment in the artist’s past, depict only that moment rather than a temporal sequence. Tird, the Autobiography, and paradigmatic autobiography, is compositional: Mill is interested not just in the content of his lifetime, but in its shape over time. Autobiography can take on the whole life course so far, or some smaller chapter or segment (in which case it may be labelled a memoir rather than an autobiography). Mill does the former, but his assignment of space and attention to time is unbalanced: six chapters cover his life up to 1840; the remainder of his life, nearly as many years again, gets one desultory chapter. And in fact, many autobiographies focus, apparently disproportionately, on childhood. Or it may be that the focus is proportionate to the experience: When scientists try to get us to understand the real importance of the human race, they say something like, ‘If the story of the earth is twenty-­four hours long, then humanity’s part in it occupies the last minute of that day.’ Similarly, in the story of a life, if it is being told true to time as actually experienced, then I’d say seventy percent of the book would take you to age ten. At eighty per cent you would have reached ffeen. At ninety-­fve percent, you get to about thirty. Te rest is a rush—towards eternity.37

Other autobiographies take a single transformative episode as their focus and the fulcrum on which the whole life balances: war memoirs are ofen cases of this type. In general, although the paradigmatic autobiography covers almost the whole life, temporally balanced coverage is rare. Autobiographers present some parts of their lives as more important than others by giving them more space and attention. 37 Doris Lessing, Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949 (London: Flamingo, 1995), p. 109.

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24  GOOD LIVES

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And in contrast, there are Wordsworthian autobiographies in which the life course in time is taken not as the object of interest, but as an illusion to be overcome to reveal the timeless reality: Edwin Muir’s An Autobiography, for example.38 But paradigmatically, autobiography takes some temporal expanse—the whole life, childhood, career—as a unity with shape rather than as a mere aggregation. Mill, like many autobiographers, interprets his life’s shape specifcally as teleological. He shows himself as growing and developing rather than just varying over time, and as driven partly from inside rather than just shaped by circumstance. In contrast, there are compositional but non-­teleological autobiographies, in which shape is given by external and transformative force, as in many war memoirs, or in which the life is self-­interpreted as lacking any internal developmental thread. George Moore, in his Confessions of a Young Man, says that: My soul, so far as I understand it, has very kindly taken colour and form from the many various modes of life that self-­will and an ­impetuous temperament have forced me to indulge in. Terefore I may say that I  am free from original qualities, defects, tastes, etc. What I have I acquire, or, to speak more exactly, chance bestowed, and still bestows, upon me. I came into the world apparently with a nature like a smooth sheet of wax, bearing no impress, but capable of receiving any; of being moulded into all shapes. Nor am I exaggerating when I say I think that I might equally have been a Pharaoh, an ostler, a pimp, an archbishop, and that in the fulflment of the duties of each a certain measure of success would have been mine.39

Would a non-­compositional life-­story—one with no shape over time— be an autobiography at all? We might better think of it as a chronicle or a diary, because it would lack the interpretative imprint of self-­refection. But the boundaries are fuzzy here. Some lightly interpreted accounts of

38  Edwin Muir, An Autobiography (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1993). 39  George Moore, Confessions of a Young Man ed. Susan Dick (Montreal: McGill-­Queens University Press, 1972), p. 49.

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Paradigm Autobiographical Form  25 lives over time will be only borderline autobiographical: the average footballer’s ‘as told to . . .’ autobiography, for example. Te paradigmatic autobiography, then, takes its author and subject’s life as shaped, but not necessarily as teleologically—that is, internally and developmentally—shaped. Fourth, self-­refection: the Autobiography, and paradigmatic ­autobiography, is a work of refective attention. Mill as autobiographer takes up a multiplied but self-­referential point of view, turning his attention as subject on himself as object. A narrator-­Mill distinguishes himself from and examines the protagonist-­Mill of the story he narrates. An author-­Mill performs both. I mean ‘self-­refection’ broadly here, to cover at least these four closely related refexive activities: s­ elf-representation, self-inspection, self-interpretation, and self-assessment. All of these can individually be done in other ways than autobiographically: I could represent myself in a self-­portrait, inspect myself in a mirror, interpret myself through dream-­reports, or assess myself by attempting logic puzzles, triathlons, or beauty contests. Te two contrasts with self-refection here are between autobiographies and memoirs, which focus on a protagonist other than the author and narrator; and between autobiographies and novels, which focus on a fctional protagonist rather than the author’s younger self. But there is no sharp dividing line in either case: there’s a fuzzy boundary with obvious cases wide of it on both sides, and more ambiguous cases nearer to it. In the autobiography/memoir case, James Turber’s Te Years with Ross or Norman Malcolm’s Ludwig Wittgenstein are unambiguous memoirs.40 But what is Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son, which is so vitally about its author’s parents and his relation to them? In the autobiography/novel case, Robertson Davies’s Fifh Business is an unambiguous novel in the frst-­personal, time-­order, particular-­focused standard form of autobiography.41 A framing narrative even presents the main text of the novel as the autobiography of its protagonist, 40 James Turber, Te Years with Ross: With Drawings by the Author (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963); Norman Malcolm, Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir (London: Oxford University Press, 1958). 41  Robertson Davies, Fifh Business (New York: Penguin, 2005).

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26  GOOD LIVES Dunstan Ramsey; but Ramsey and his life-­story are fctional. In contrast, what are James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, or Samuel Butler’s Te Way of All Flesh, or Doris Lessing’s Martha Quest?42 Teir protagonists have diferent names from their authors, and their reported lives are not quite the same as their authors’ lives, but at m ­ inimum those authors’ lives provide much material for their fctions. Tey are less fctional than Fifh Business in that less of their content is deliberate invention, and more of it tracks actual actions and events, which were taken by, and happened to, actual agents. Tis fuzzy boundary is further complicated by the historical links between the novel and autobiography as genres: early novels like Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe were directly modelled on—and deliberately ­ misrepresented as—confessional autobiographies. I have used Mill’s Autobiography and contrasting cases as a way into describing paradigmatic autobiography, but note that I say only that the Autobiography is a paradigm case, not that it exemplifes ‘the defnition’ of autobiography, nor that my contrasting examples are failed or pseudo-­autobiographies measured against its standard. I doubt that we need or can produce satisfactory defnitions, in the sense of necessary and sufcient conditions of inclusion, for traditions. As things extended and changing over time, they tend to elude such precise b ­ oundary-­drawing. Many of my contrasting examples are as much autobiographies as Mill’s, just diferent kinds of autobiography; others inhabit vague boundary zones, and there’s no point in insisting on all-­or-­nothing decisions about them. ‘Autobiography’ is a radial category like ‘narrative’, with clear ­central cases, from which chains of similarity, developed over time from one of their features or another, lead out to cases-­by-­association and ambiguous cases. Further out, there will be cases which we might choose to place in allied but diferent genres: for example the ­semi-­autobiographical novel—Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, Flora Tompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford43—which has a 42  James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man ed. Jeri Johnson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); Samuel Butler, Te Way of All Flesh ed. James Cochrane (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973); Doris Lessing, Martha Quest (London: Flamingo, 1993). 43  W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage (London: Vintage, 2000); Flora Tompson, Lark Rise to Candleford: A Trilogy (London: Penguin, 1973).

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particular, compositional, and diachronic form, but which, we might decide, fctionalizes too far from self-refection. We will meet similarly ambiguous or undecidable cases at the borders of autobiography with Bildungsroman, roman-­à-­clef, and Künstlerroman. Tere are also non-­paradigmatic autobiographies of kinds I haven’t yet mentioned: in Te Woman Warrior, for example, Maxine Hong Kingston refects on herself by retelling stories—mythical, autobiographical, ambiguous mixtures—told to her by her mother.44 Te Woman Warrior is a compositional self-­refection, but its ­particularity is complicated by archetypal characters—the swordswoman, the shaman—and it contains only a little straightforwardly diachronic reporting of its author’s life. Or consider that being a prose narrative is only a paradigmatic, not a necessary condition of autobiographical writing: Wordsworth’s Prelude is narrative poetry; Ted Hughes’s attempt to come to terms with Sylvia Plath in Birthday Letters is only partially and obliquely narrative:45 T.  S.  Eliot’s Four Quartets46 has been described as his ‘spiritual autobiography’,47 but contains no apparent narration of particular events and actions at all. We should therefore be unconcerned about our lack of necessary and sufcient conditions for being an autobiography.

44 Maxine Hong Kingston, Te Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (London: Allen Lane, 1977). 45  Ted Hughes, Birthday Letters (London: Faber and Faber, 1998). 46 T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets (London: Faber and Faber, 2001). 47  Eric Voegelin, ‘Notes on T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets’ in William Petropulos & Gilbert Weiss eds, Collected Works of Eric Voegelin vol. 33: Te Drama of Humanity and Other Miscellaneous Papers (Columbia MI: University of Missouri Press, 2004), pp. 33–40, p. 34.

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Autobiography Is a Local Tradition Te fact that there is a radial concept like ‘autobiography’ in play makes various rejections and transformations available, such that the tradition over time is liable to be characterized by innovative resistance, extension, and recasting, as much as by recapitulation of earlier performances. A genre is better described as an ongoing argument over tools and purposes, and by identifying both paradigms, and examples which depart from them, than by defnition. Te fact that in talking about autobiography we are talking about a tradition—a historical entity—means that we should be aware that paradigmatic autobiography has not always existed, and does not exist everywhere. It is a local phenomenon, an element of a particular culture supported by other such elements. Our particular practice of autobiography uses general human powers to extend and deepen a common human activity of thinking about our own lives, much as culturally local scientifc practices use general human powers to extend and deepen our common human activity of investigating and manipulating the world. Not everyone does this thinking about our own lives, and not everyone who does it does so in the same way. But many of us are interested—even intensely interested—in the questions about ourselves which I raised in §Introduction. Autobiography ofers us a way to pursue them.

Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0009

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Rationalism about Autobiography So far we have been answering my frst question, what is an autobiography? Te answer I’ve developed is that an autobiography is a narrative artefact in a genre whose paradigmatic form is particular diachronic compositional self-­refection. My next question is: how can we learn about ourselves from reading autobiography? I claim that autobiographies are a distinctive and valuable kind of reasoning towards self-­knowledge: we can rationally learn something about ourselves, as human beings and as individuals, by reading and thinking through them. Autobiographies educate rather than merely proselytizing or manipulating. Call this view rationalism about autobiography. But how can autobiography be reasoning? Why be a rationalist? I answer in two parts. First, I work by contrast: I describe various ways in which autobiographies can be involved in reasoning, in order to pick out the distinctive way in which they enact a kind of reasoning in themselves. Second, I give an account of that kind of reasoning by investigating the formal features of the autobiography as a genre, partly by comparison and contrast with two other literary genres, the novel and the biography. I will be asked: what do you mean by reasoning? My full answer to that question is the account of autobiography as reasoning which I develop here, but I will make some initial attention-­focusing remarks. Reasoning is engagement in any of various social practices with three basic features. First, they involve change in belief, desire, feeling, or  action. Second, they have standards of correctness, such that at ­minimum the ideas of being reason-­guided, and of improvement—change

Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0010

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30  GOOD LIVES for the better—in belief, desire, feeling, or action, apply.48 And third, those engaging in them both perform as, and address themselves to, active, responsive fellow reasoners, not just passive listeners. Because reasoning is social, any one reasoner’s engagement in it is always incomplete, inviting response. Social practices of reasoning include formal debate; writing and publishing; speech-­ giving; reading with pencil in hand; attending lectures and taking part in seminars; listening to testimony; trying out new identities, rituals, and situations; pursuing topics through Wikipedia; arguing in pubs and cofee shops. Te typical activities these practices involve include—and this is an equally incomplete list—deduction; induction; inference to the best explanation; making distinctions; making comparisons and contrasts; telling stories and jokes; asserting and checking facts; forks; reductios; redirecting attention; identifying new questions; satire; utopian construction. Change in belief, desire, feeling, or action can come about in ­non-­ reason-­ guided ways, so not everything is reasoning: compare threats, mere rhetoric, or mechanical manipulation of afect and ­disposition.49 But there are many kinds of reasoning, because there are many ways of appealing to reasons, as above, and many kinds of reasons to which one can appeal: particular and general facts; afectual and perceptual reactions; second-­order reasons such as reasons to take other reasons as more or less weighty; reasons of ‘thin’ rationality such as consistency within the systems of beliefs and of desires, and in the relation of both to actions;50 procedural reasons.51

48 I take the idea that reasoning involves reason-­guided change from Gilbert Harman, Change in View: Principles of Reasoning (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1986). 49  Te situationist literature in psychology is full of examples of the last. See John M. Doris, Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) for summary and application. 50 Jon Elster, Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality (with a new preface, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), p. 1. 51  I mean to remain neutral here in two large debates about reasons. First, reductionism: are reasons to be explained by something else, for example desires or the structure of the rational will, or are they primitive? See T. M. Scanlon, Being Realistic About Reasons (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). Second, motivation: must one’s reasons for action, in particular, be connected with one’s actual or possible desires? See Bernard Williams, ‘Internal and External

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Tis account of reasoning applies to my reasoning in this book: I act as a responsive audience to autobiographies and reason with them. Autobiographies’ reasoning and my reasoning in response, like all reasoning, are incomplete, addressed to you as active audience, and inviting your response. I now develop an account of what autobiographies do which shows that and how they reason. Te frst part of that argument describes some ways in which autobiography can be involved in reasoning, as contrastive boundary-­markers to the positive account of autobiographical reasoning I go on to develop.

Reasons’ in Moral Luck (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 101–13. Nothing I say here is intended to commit me to any view about either of these.

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Autobiography as Clue and as Container My frst contrast case is autobiography as clue. Tinkers’ autobiographies could ofer clues for interpreters of their ‘ofcial’ thought. Reading Mill’s Autobiography on his mental crisis and recovery could help us to understand his account of happiness in Utilitarianism.52 Richard Wollheim’s memoir Germs could help us understand his William James lectures Te Tread of Life.53 Tis is potentially interesting, but it is not autobiography as reasoning: it’s autobiography as a way of helping us to motivate and choose between interpretations of reasoning done elsewhere. My second contrast case is autobiography as container. Te ­autobiographies of some philosophers—Collingwood’s An Autobiography, for example54—contain explicit reasoning of the kind a treatise in philosophy might, but wrapped in an autobiographical narrative for cosmetic, educational, or other purposes. Such reasoning in ­autobiographies requires no special treatment: we could read the philosophical parts of Collingwood’s autobiography as we’d read any other work of philosophy. Perhaps that reading should be contextual rather than purely textual, but if it should, it should for reasons which apply across the board, not just to autobiographies. Tis again isn’t autobiography as reasoning. It’s addressing a text presented as an autobiography as two distinct things: the reasoning, and the life-­story which contains it, and which can be disposed of like the wrapper round chocolate.

52  As I do in Clark, ‘Love, Poetry, and the Good Life’. 53  Richard Wollheim, Germs: A Memoir of Childhood (London: Waywiser, 2004); Richard Wollheim, Te Tread of Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984). 54 R. G. Collingwood, An Autobiography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1939). Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0011

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Autobiography as Historical Data My third contrast case is autobiography as historical data: as information about past lives on a par with other textual sources. Tis is problematic, because autobiographies are terrible data: they’re not transparent windows through which we observe the facts of an autobiographer’s life, but highly motivated interpretations and presentations of that life, shaped by bias, partiality, individual perspective, and all the general unreliabilities of memory worsened by the pressure to defend one’s self-­concept against one’s failures and out-­of-­character moments. But perhaps this worry is overstated. In the mass and in the context of other data, autobiographies are no worse than other historical evidence, and historians have developed techniques to deal with such problems. For one example of this use of autobiography, Jonathan Rose uses large numbers of mostly unpublished autobiographies from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, together with library records and the minutes of self-­improvement societies and workingmen’s institutes, to uncover the history of British working class self-­help and autodidacticism.55 But this is again autobiography used in reasoning rather than autobiography as reasoning: the reasoning picked out here is going on in the analysis of trends in the mass, not in the data in which those trends are found.

55 Jonathan Rose, Te Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002). Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0012

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Autobiography as Tought Experiment My fourth contrast case is autobiography as thought experiment, or as source material for thought experiments. Philosophers could use autobiographical narratives in the places and ways we currently use invented or fctionalized examples. Take as an example Bernard Williams’s account of Paul Gauguin’s abandonment of his family to pursue his art,56 which, as Williams is clear, makes no strong claims to historical accuracy.57 We could make the same argument about moral luck if we replaced this example with Doris Lessing’s autobiographical account of leaving the two children of her frst marriage to pursue her ambition to be a novelist.58 Te canonical role for thought experiments is in attempts at analysis: propose necessary and sufcient conditions for the proper application of some concept; test and refne it with apparent counterexamples; aim at refective equilibrium between the general analysis and particular cases.59 But there is no advantage for this project in replacing Williams’s Gauguin with Lessing’s Lessing, nor in general in using autobiographical rather than fctional examples. And there is the disadvantage that if we did so, we would be unable to tweak our counterexamples to put pressure on the precise conditions of interest, without heading in the direction of invention anyway. Why spend time looking through autobiographies for a good counterexample, when we could just make 56 Bernard Williams, ‘Moral Luck’ in Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers 1973–1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1981), pp. 20–39. 57 Compare Françoise Cachin, Gauguin: Te Quest for Paradise (London: Tames & Hudson, 1992); David Sweetman, Paul Gauguin: A Complete Life (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1995). 58 Lessing, Under My Skin. 59  One classic example of this method is Judith Jarvis Tomson, ‘Te Trolley Problem’, Te Yale Law Journal 94(1985): 1395–415. See further Norman Daniels, ‘Refective Equilibrium’ in Edward  N.  Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2013 Edition), http:// plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2013/entries/refective-­equilibrium/. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0013

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Autobiography as Thought Experiment  35 one up, or just modify the one we have without regard to historical truth? If what’s in question is whether our analysis correctly defnes the borders of usage, whether the test cases are hypothetical or not is in itself irrelevant. If the test case is a very long way from the ordinary cases of use, there is a worry whether our intuitions can get any purchase. But this is a problem about strangeness, not about accuracy: we can describe many untrue but ordinary cases, and identify weird real cases where intuition is silent or confused. However, thought experiments can be understood more broadly as exemplary stories, used for the various purposes stories are used for in ordinary discussion: to make something vivid, to dramatize a problem, to gain a sympathetic hearing, to get a laugh, as a mnemonic, to focus on some features of a situation and push others out of the limelight, to remind people of something they already believe, to make an abstraction concrete, to give some plausibility to a surprising claim, to draw the reader’s attention to their own psychology (as in many of Hume’s exemplary stories), to provoke self-­experimentation in the interlocutor, to render the ordinary alien (as in satire and the anthropological exotic). Autobiographies can provide starting places for such exemplary stories, but in general they’re not ideal for these roles, for two reasons. First, they are under-­schematized: just because of their detail and complexity, arising from the detail and complexity of actual lives, they are less good at the narrowly directed work of dramatizing and spotlighting. Consider the way that an autobiographical story told and retold for persuasive purposes—by a politician, for example—tends to be honed into a schematized anecdote by the pressure of use. Second, they are partly constrained by a requirement of realism (to which I return later), where thought experiments’ work is ofen helped by their being hypothetical.60 Both of these features of autobiographies therefore pull against the typical uses of thought experiments understood broadly as exemplary stories. So, thought experiment isn’t the distinctive kind of reasoning I want to pick out in autobiography.

60  Tis distinction between being schematized and being hypothetical as typical features of thought experiments is due to John Martin Fischer, ‘Stories’ in Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 129–43.

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Form Enables Reasoning I now argue that autobiographies enact a distinctively autobiographical style of reasoning through their generic form. Autobiographical texts’ formal features enable authors to do distinctive things with them, just as the formal features of other genres of writing enable authors to do diferent things with them. For example, the dialogue—more canonical in Western and in Indian philosophy than the autobiography—variously enables self-­concealment, taming opponents by straw-­manning them, self-­efacement, self-­revelation, and dramatization of moral and political ideals.61 Te treatise—now standard in academic philosophy—enables a distinctive professional rigour and explicitness, and an engagement in philosophy as Kuhnian normal science, with shared problems, agreed methods, and a productive division of labour. Te paradigmatic autobiographical form, in contrast to these other forms, is particular diachronic compositional self-­refection. I describe the reasoning these features enable individually. Tis breaking up into separate formal features and what reasoning they can do is artifcial: autobiographies don’t typically do one of these things and then later another, but reason using all of their formal resources at once. But dismantling the mechanism will help us to see how it works, and I put it back together later when I put it to work. My running example in explaining how these features enable reasoning is Siegfried Sassoon’s autobiographical trilogy Memoirs of a Fox-­Hunting Man, Memoirs of an Infantry Ofcer, and Sherston’s Progress,62 which I’ll bring in as I need it.

61  See further Samuel Clark, ‘Hume’s Uses of Dialogue’, Hume Studies 39(2013): 61–76. 62 Sassoon, Complete Memoirs. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0014

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Particular Reasoning Autobiography is about particulars: individual people, the things they do, the things which happen to them, the contexts they fnd themselves in, what their experiences do to them; Sassoon, his doubts and decisions, his friends and mentors, his war experience. Tese vividly display complex value-­laden perceptions of a world experienced as flled with good and bad, right and wrong, pleasing and unpleasing, beautiful and ugly, awe-­inspiring and contemptible, respected and despised, loved and hated.63 Sassoon, in Memoirs of a Fox-­Hunting Man, brings his pre-­war world to life with exceptional clarity and emotional grip. How is this reasoning? It displays, and draws the reader into, perceiving value; and by doing so it educates sensibility.64 Tis is not deductive reasoning, but it does give reasons, by showing and by attempting to help the reader to see. If we’re reasoning about the value of something, we can appeal to consistency with other value judgements, but in the end I can’t demonstratively argue you into enjoying or being awed by something that you don’t or aren’t, all I can do is direct your attention in what I hope is the right context. I could play you John Coltrane’s Ascension as a way of initiating you into free jazz. You could take me up Loughrigg Fell on a clear day as a way of helping me to fall in love with the Lake District. Of course, these attempts to provide reasons for attitudes can fail: an audience may be unmoved this time or ever, and

63  Tis list of perceived values is infuenced by Elizabeth Anderson, Value in Ethics and Economics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993). 64  I draw here on the moral particularist literature, especially David McNaughton, Moral Vision: An Introduction to Ethics (Oxford: Blackwell, 1988), §3.6 and Martha  C.  Nussbaum, Love’s Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990). But I am only taking on the idea of value perception from particularism, and can remain neutral about the further question whether all moral reasoning is particularistic, or whether it also involves general principles. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0015

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will sometimes be right to be unmoved. But all that is true of other kinds of reasoning too. Sassoon attempts to give us reason to value the life he describes—to see it as good and as containing goods. For me in particular as his audience, he succeeds in doing what I wouldn’t have thought possible: getting me to see fox-­hunting as having some good in it, at least in the joyful skill in cross-­country riding which it involves (a good which doesn’t outweigh the bads of its cruelty and class snobbery). How does the display of value in the particular address my three basic features of reasoning? Tere is change here in the development of perceptual sensibility. Tere is a standard of correctness in the idea that vivid display can be an education of that sensibility, such that we can come to see better, to be more competent judges of value, by being initiated into a peer community of valuers and by developing our ability to perceive. And there is invitation to respond in that educational encounter.

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Diachronic Reasoning Autobiography is diachronic. It looks back from one time to a sequence of events over the extended past. An autobiographer as narrator turns her attention on her own historical past, as distinct from attending to herself now. Tis move ofers critical perspective through self-­doubling, by opening an ironic gap between a narrator’s and a protagonist’s perceptions and understandings. Sassoon’s autobiography takes up that ironic perspective, from his position writing afer fghting in the trenches, on his innocent younger self, who has no idea of what’s going to happen to him, of what losses he can sufer, or of the cruelty and stupidity which is hidden in his prelapsarian world, about to be revealed. How is this reasoning? It is critique by contrast, as also used, for example, in satire and in utopian texts.65 It sets up a dialectic between perspectives, but not equal perspectives—not just ‘you see it one way, I see it another’—because the narrator’s perspective is later and was partly produced by the earlier protagonist, and there is therefore potential for argumentative movement towards seeing better. Tis allows for the past actions and events described in the autobiography to be set against ideals, norms, or at least improved understandings. Sassoon ironizes his own naïve failure to grasp himself, his world, and their fragility in the face of war, and by doing so gives us reason to think diferently about our own degree of self-­knowledge and about our own uncontrolled vulnerability to circumstance. In Memoirs of an Infantry Ofcer in particular, Sassoon maps his gradual shif towards revolt against the war by moving backwards and forwards between reinhabiting his perspective at the time and taking up an external perspective on it.

65  Samuel Clark, Living Without Domination: Te Possibility of an Anarchist Utopia (new edn, London: Routledge, 2016). Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0016

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How does diachronic critique address my three basic features of r­ easoning? Tere is change here in drawing us as audience along with a development over time, by displaying the contrast between an original and an improved understanding, and change in our own understanding of a protagonist by showing a later perspective on that protagonist. Tere is a standard of correctness in the possibility of seeing not just diferently, but better: by gaining the later perspective, we learn something not grasped by, or not available to, the protagonist at the earlier time. And there is invitation to respond in the opportunity to inhabit the perspectives of narrator and of protagonist, and thereby to learn also to distance ourselves from, and to criticize by contrast, our own earlier selves.

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Compositional Reasoning Autobiography is compositional: it places its actions and events in a temporal whole, showing them as parts of a complex structure with an overall shape, and thereby explaining or making sense of them. An autobiography is paradigmatically the story of a life understood as a whole, not merely a chronicle of its temporal parts. Te structure through which Sassoon makes sense of his life is from innocence to experience. In that he is like many other soldier autobiographers: the idea of battlefeld education or combat epiphany is a common trope in modern military memoirs. How is composition reasoning? It makes sense of individual actions and events by locating them in a larger structure. Causal explanation is one case—we make sense of something by explaining how it came about—but we can also make sense, in autobiographies, by appeal to agents’ reasons (if those are diferent from causes) and by appeal to the meaning of individual actions and events in relation to one another and to an overarching purpose or signifcance. Sassoon does not merely report a transition from innocence to experience over his lifetime: he makes sense of himself and of what happened to him by understanding individual actions and events as parts of that innocence-­to-­experience structure. We should note here that the compositional shape uncovered in or given to a life by an autobiography need not be a narrative shape, or at least that narrative shape need not do any sense-­ making work. Autobiographies are typically narratives in the thin sense that they are tellings of connected temporal sequences of actions and events. But this is a fairly trivial feature: many autobiographies have compositional shapes which are much richer and more particular than narrative’s generic shapes, and which require an actual structure—the growth of some distinctive capacity into its expression, for example—not just its Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0017

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42  GOOD LIVES

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telling. Tat structure is obviously narratable, or one couldn’t write an autobiography about it. But being the content of a narrative is not the same thing as being a narrative. Autobiographers make sense of their lives not just by narrating them, but by appeal to the particular temporal structures and circumstances of those lives, which they narrate. How does compositional sense-­ making address my three basic features of reasoning? Tere is change here in coming to see discrete events as cohering in a larger structure, and thereby as explained, made sense of, or made meaningful. Tere is a standard of correctness in the question whether that structure does explain: does it successfully make sense of the events it composes? And there is invitation to respond in the open expectation of alternative explanations and attempts at sense-­making—perhaps Sassoon’s life could be better understood in other terms, for example those ofered by his various biographers66— and even in the challenge that no sense can be found in the life—perhaps Sassoon’s life is nothing more than a jumble of events.

66 Max Egremont, Siegfried Sassoon: A Biography (London: Picador, 2004); John Stuart Roberts, Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967) (London: Metro, 2005); Jean Moorcrof Wilson, Siegfried Sassoon: Soldier, Poet, Lover, Friend (London: Duckworth, 2013).

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18 Objection

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Autobiographies Are Novels

At this point I need to deal with an objection: so far, nothing I’ve said distinguishes autobiographies from novels, nor the reasoning of autobiographies from the reasoning of novels. Consider James’s Te Golden Bowl as interpreted by Martha Nussbaum.67 It displays ­value-­laden particulars. It takes up an ironic and critical perspective on its characters: James as narrator tells the reader much more than any one character sees, and he criticizes Maggie Verver in the early part of the novel as childish, puritanical, and imperceptive. It composes actions and events into a whole: the novel is Maggie’s Bildungsroman. What makes the diference, if there is one, is the fnal generic feature of autobiography which I have picked out: self-­refection. Autobiographies are works of refexive attention. Te autobiographer takes up a multiplied but ­self-­referential point of view, turning her attention as subject on herself as object. One defationary line to take here is that there is no important diference between autobiographies and novels. Autobiography is just a sub-­genre of the novel, and any novel could do autobiography’s work in reasoning.68 And in fact I have been deliberately slightly misleading about Sassoon’s ‘autobiography’: it could equally be called his trilogy of novels about a protagonist called ‘George Sherston’. Tey’re written in an intimate frst-­ personal voice, and Sherston’s life is very like

67 Henry James, Te Golden Bowl ed. Ruth Bernard Yeazell (London: Penguin, 2009); Nussbaum, Love’s Knowledge, essays 4 and 5. 68  Fussell, in Te Great War and Modern Memory, argues that the classic memoirs of the First World War should be understood as novels in the same genre as Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Butler’s Te Way of All Flesh. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0018

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

44  GOOD LIVES (although not identical with) Sassoon’s, but they’re only ambiguously autobiography. Te easy reply for me is that yes, a novel could do this work—to the extent that it has the paradigmatic autobiographical form of particular diachronic composition plus the formal structure of self-­refection. On this line of thought, ‘self-­ refection’ does not require metaphysical identity between author, narrator, and protagonist, but only the adoption of the literary devices of frst-­personal voice and free indirect style: sympathetic but distanced examination of the protagonist which moves subtly between inhabiting her internal perspective and adopting an external perspective on her.69 So, Memoirs of a Fox-­Hunting Man begins: My childhood was a queer and not altogether happy one. Circumstances conspired to make me shy and solitary. My father and mother died before I was capable of remembering them. I was an only child, entrusted to the care of an unmarried aunt who lived quietly in the country.70

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And in the same form, Great Expectations begins: My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip. I give Pirrip as my father’s name, on the authority of his tombstone and my sister—Mrs Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith.71

It’s not an accident that novels and autobiographies have such similar forms and can therefore do such similar work: the two traditions have the same prehistory. As I have already noted, early novels were presented as memoirs or confessions. Te fuller title of Robinson Crusoe is Te Life of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner . . . Written by Himself, for

69 Goldie, Te Mess Inside, chapter  2. James Wood, How Fiction Works (London: Vintage, 2009). 70 Sassoon, Complete Memoirs, p. 1. 71  Charles Dickens, Great Expectations ed. Charlotte Mitchell (London: Penguin, 1996), p. 3.

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Objection  45

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example, and Defoe presents Crusoe’s story as a true confession rather than a fction. On this line of thought, there’s no need to be concerned with ­marking boundaries between autobiography, autobiographical novel, and ordinarily fctional novel. Ambiguous cases like Sassoon’s are unproblematic. Te extent to which some text is autobiographical is just a matter of the degree to which it adopts a particular literary style.

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Self-­Refective Reasoning Rather than take this easy route, I do want to argue that autobiography is distinctive, in three ways arising out of its self-­refective form. First, and as already mentioned, autobiographies have a reality constraint: they are supposed to be sensitive to what actually happened in a way novels need not be. Autobiography is self-refection, the ­self-­refective author is real, and she really has a life in which some things happened and others did not. Of course, not all autobiographies live up to this demand. For example, James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces is a failed self-­refection: Frey not only fctionalized his experience by making his protagonist’s life diferent in specifc ways from his own— which might have been a useful tactic for self-­refection, as for Sassoon— but fctionalized it in a deeply clichéd and therefore unrevealing way.72 Te problem with Frey’s story is not merely that it misrepresents the facts of his life, it’s that the specifc misrepresentations only obscure Frey’s particularity, replacing self-representation and self-interpretation with stock characters and tropes: the macho substitute father, the damaged but sexy angel, the sinner’s redemption.73 How is this reasoning? It adds weight to any lessons about human ethical life we take from autobiographies over such lessons from novels (or from failed autobiographies), because how we imagine human ethical life is systematically distorted and infested with myths like the ones which vitiate Frey’s attempt at self-­knowledge. Tat is, the reality constraint on autobiographies, together with the ordinary epistemic reasons we have for believing or not believing their protestations of 72  James Frey, A Million Little Pieces (London: John Murray, 2003). 73  John Dolan efectively skewers Frey’s artistic and refective failures in ‘A Million Pieces of Shit’, Te Exile, 29 May 2003, http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=6948 (accessed 7 July 2016). Yagoda, Memoir, chapter  11, puts the discovery of Frey’s lies in the context of other such scandals about false autobiographies. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0019

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Self-­R eflective Reasoning 

47

accuracy, provide second-­ order reasons for weighing reasons in particular ways. Tese are standards for the change in belief advocated by autobiographical self-­refection to its audience of fellow reasoners. Tis constraint distinguishes autobiographies from novels, but not from biographies. We could say that an autobiographer does not have a special kind of access to her own life, just—normally—a more capacious access than other potential narrators of it.74 Autobiographical reports are not special: autobiography is a refectively styled sub-­ type of life-­ ­ writing, not fundamentally distinct from biography. Richard Holmes deploys the same skills he used as a biographer of Coleridge and Shelley to investigate himself in his autobiography Footsteps.75 If I do not have a privileged kind of access to my own life, unavailable to others, then someone else might be able to give a better account of my life than I could myself. Perhaps this biographer has information or skills that I lack: Oliver Sacks can tell more about his amnesiac patients than they can tell about themselves.76 Perhaps the biographer is better able to make sense of the causal processes of my life than I am competent to, or can bear to. Angus Wilson’s Te Strange Ride of Rudyard Kipling explains Kipling better than Kipling himself managed.77 But there is reason to distinguish autobiographies from biographies. It is, and this is the second way in which autobiography is distinctive, that autobiographies have a refexive explanation constraint: the person who takes up the refexive stance was made by the history she describes. Te protagonist of an autobiography isn’t just grammatically identical with its narrator, she actually turned into that narrator and into the author who performs both protagonist and narrator. She is investigating the enabling conditions of her own activity, including her 74  Compare Gilbert Ryle’s argument that ‘Self-­consciousness, if the word is to be used at all, must not be described on the hallowed para-­optical model, as a torch that illuminates itself by beams of its own light refected from a mirror in its own insides. On the contrary it is simply a special case of an ordinary more or less efcient handling of a less or more honest and intelligent witness.’—Te Concept of Mind (Harmondsworth: Peregrine, 1963), p. 186. 75 Richard Holmes, Footsteps: Memoirs of a Romantic Biographer (London: Harper Perennial, 2005). 76  For example Oliver Sacks, ‘Te Lost Mariner’ in Te Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (London: Picador, 1986), pp. 22–41 and ‘Te Last Hippie’ in An Anthropologist on Mars (London: Picador, 1995), pp. 39–72. 77  Angus Wilson, Te Strange Ride of Rudyard Kipling: His Life and Works (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979).

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48  GOOD LIVES autobiographical activity. Te autobiographical narrator can be ironically separated from the protagonist, because we can be so ­ ­separated from our past selves, but can’t be completely other than the protagonist. Tere has to be a line of explanation from protagonist to narrator and to that narrator’s ability self-­refectively to understand and narrate her life. To see this point in its crudest form, imagine an ‘autobiography’ in which the protagonist ‘I’ dies in the second chapter. How is this reasoning? It constrains the composition of autobiography compared with the composition of biographies as well as novels, because what happens to the protagonist has to be able to explain the narrator who refects on her. Tat is, again, this constraint provides second-­order reasons for reweighing reasons, and thus standards for the change in belief advocated by autobiographical self-­refection to its audience of fellow reasoners. Te third way in which autobiographies are distinctive is not a constraint, but an opportunity. Autobiographical self-­refection enables reasoning about questions of the autobiographer’s self-­knowledge: her particular self, its particular good, and her relations to herself over time. To repeat the ethical questions with which I began this book: what am I? Who am I? Why did I do what I did? How did I get here? Did I do the right thing? What is good for me, and what bad? Has my life gone well? What should I become, and how? What does my life mean, if it means anything? Am I the owner of my life, or am I alienated from it? Do I live under my own command, or am I a puppet? Does my life hang together as a whole? What is the real me, and what is disposable or a mere mask? What changes can I survive? I call these the agential problems of the self. Autobiography is a distinctively frst-­ personal kind of reasoning about these problems of self-­knowledge. For one example, to be flled out later, some autobiographies investigate how to discover, take on, or constitute oneself as a whole rather than a mere temporal sequence—or why one can’t so unify or integrate or own oneself. Tis self-­refective reasoning attempts to reconcile, or to give up on reconciling, the autobiographer’s frst-­person perspective now with her third-­person perspective on the actions and events of her own life extended over time. Diferent autobiographies give diferent accounts of this whole-­life unity or its impossibility. For example: Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son

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Self-­R eflective Reasoning 

49

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argues for understanding the unity of his life as given by an underlying developmental structure in which latent forces are constrained before being woken and expressed.78 Edwin Muir’s An Autobiography argues for understanding his temporal life as an illusion behind which stands the real, timeless self. Maxine Hong Kingston’s Te Woman Warrior argues against any unifcation, by displaying the multiple identities within, and the multiple connections outwards from, her persona as a Chinese-­ American woman. Tis is reasoning, not something else, because it reveals and ofers reasons for understanding and being selves in the diferent ways which particular autobiographies display. Although this problem, like others, is addressed in the frst person—the autobiographer is concerned with the agential problem of the unity of her own self—they engage with our similar agential problems as fellow reasoners who also have to deal with our own lives in time. As I go on to discuss, autobiographies enable reasoning about a cluster of problems about value, the self, and the refective understanding of human lives over time, including this problem of unity.

78  See further Clark, ‘Love, Poetry, and the Good Life’; Samuel Clark, ‘Pleasure as Self-­ Discovery’, Ratio 25(2012): 260–76; and later sections of this book.

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20 Horizontal Connection Not Vertical

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Generalization Summing up: we should be rationalists about autobiography because autobiography is reasoning in multiple ways connected to its formal ­features. It reasons about value of various kinds by vivid presentation of  value-­ laden particulars. It enacts self-­ criticism and aims at self-­ ­ knowledge through ironic self-­ separation. It attempts to makes sense of the sequence of actions and events which makes up a whole life. And, by being self-­refective in a more than grammatical sense, it constrains its reasoning with requirements of reality and refexive explanation, and it enables reasoning about the agential problems of the self. What is at stake in calling this reasoning is that it involves change in belief, desire, feeling, or action; that it has standards of correctness, such that the ideas of being reason-­guided, and of improvement in belief, desire, feeling, or action, apply; and that those engaging in it both perform as, and address themselves to, active, responsive fellow reasoners. Autobiography’s efects are not merely emotional or rhetorical, and autobiographical content is not mere material for reasoning done elsewhere. Autobiographical reasoning is admittedly not complete or conclusive: it requires interpretation and invites challenge, both of which I ofer. But in that it is no diferent from other kinds of reasoning. What are the results of such autobiographical reasoning and such response to it? My full answer to that question must wait on the work of reasoning with particular autobiographies which I do in Part II. But I do want to make a general point: I am not aiming at universal claims about human beings, but at tentative, partial claims about commonalities. My autobiographical subjects are a partial selection of human possibility. Tey are not unique, but not all of humanity either. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0020

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Horizontal Connection Not Vertical Generalization  51

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My own limits as a reader and sympathizer constrain what I have so far learned from autobiographies, and therefore what autobiographies I focus on here. Tey’re obviously neither an impartial selection nor a complete list. I locate them in a web of horizontal sympathy and connection, aiming at solidarity and shared understanding, not as particular instances of vertical generalizations to be applied everywhere. My results are therefore deliberately, admittedly incomplete.

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21 Routemap 2

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Uses of Autobiography

Autobiography’s generic form enables it to be a distinctive and valuable kind of reasoning. In Part II I will focus on autobiographical reasoning about the holistic evaluation of lives, self-­unifcation, and self-­discovery, as a way of critiquing self-­narrative and of arguing for the centrality of self-­realization. I frst need to distinguish two purposes of autobiographical writing, as a way of beginning to answer my third question: about what ­subjects does autobiography teach? I distinguish self-­investigation from self-­presentation, and then focus on fve kinds of self-­knowledge at which autobiographical self-­ investigation typically aims, and which autobiography can therefore teach us—explanation, justifcation, ­-­enjoyment, selfood, and good life. I also argue for reductionism about meaning: the meaning of one’s life is not a distinct sixth kind of ­self-­knowledge, but an ambiguous label for a range of other concerns especially including these fve. Te remaining sections of Part I then dig more deeply into selfood and good life. I set out the wide range of accounts, taxonomies, and tasks for each, and give an initial characterization of the self-­realization account which I will defend, by reasoning with and through ­autobiographies, in Part II.

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Two Purposes of Autobiography Autobiographies can be written and read for many purposes, as I have already noted. But two common and signifcant purposes are ­self-­investigation and self-presentation.79 Tese are not exclusive or unconnected alternatives: autobiographies typically do both in varying mixtures, and do each partly by doing the other. But it’s worth making the distinction, because these two contrasting purposes are useful coordinates for a map of autobiographical reasoning and its goals, and because the diferences between them will be important in much of my argument from here on. Self-­ investigation is a response to the Delphic demand, ‘know yourself!’ It aims at self-­knowledge: the autobiographer means to grasp or understand or discover herself, to reveal herself to herself.80 Investigation of the self works partly by presenting the self, as any investigation involves presenting what’s investigated: picturing it, mapping it, building a model of it, constructing a mathematical way of predicting it, causing something to covary with it. I intend that list partly to indicate that I use ‘present’ in a broad sense, not limited to representations, which are that sub-­class of presentations which in some way resemble, or present a likeness of, what they present. For the self-­investigative purpose, the point of presentation is to uncover and be responsive to what’s there prior to and independently of it, as yet unpresented to anyone. Investigation of the self gives rise to 79  Owen Flanagan makes a similar distinction between two aims of self-­representation: ‘for the sake of self-­understanding’ and ‘for public dissemination’—Owen Flanagan, ‘Multiple Identity, Character Transformation, and Self-­Reclamation’ in Self-­Expressions: Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 65–87, p. 68. 80  Gillian Clark points out that this is an anachronistically personal interpretation of γνῶθι σεαυτόν: ‘ancient interpretations are “know yourself to be mortal” and “know yourself to be immortal”, i.e. your true self is the immortal soul which connects you with the divine’ (personal communication). Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0022

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54  GOOD LIVES presentation of the self as its product: in writing an autobiography I want to show myself to myself; and I want to be read, to display to others what I have discovered about myself. One basic reason for writing and publishing an autobiography is to reveal or express oneself rather than to remain invisible or to present a mask to the world. To say it out loud at last. Svetlana Alexievich’s Te Unwomanly Face of War movingly gives Soviet women who fought in the Second World War voice afer long silence and organized forgetting:

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We are all captives of ‘men’s’ notions and ‘men’s’ sense of war. ‘Men’s’ words. Women are silent. No one but me ever questioned my grandmother. My mother. Even those who were at the front say nothing. If they suddenly begin to remember, they don’t talk about the ‘women’s’ war but about the ‘men’s’. Tey tune in to the canon. And only at home or waxing tearful among their combat girlfriends do they begin to talk about their war, the war unknown to me. Not only to me, to all of us.81

Investigation also makes use of presentation as a tool: part of the work of autobiography is trying out ways of giving an account of myself to see what fts. Perhaps until I fnd myself making it explicit by writing it down, I’ve never realized—even couldn’t realize—how like my mother I really am, or how guilty I feel, or how much of my life has been devoted to avoiding hard choices. But self-­presentation isn’t the only method of self-­investigation: as I will argue later, it is a weak and limited method compared with other, more world-­involving methods for coming to know oneself. Unlike self-­investigation, self-­presentation is an engagement with the social world. Te autobiographer aims to make and display a record or account of herself, or a mask, avatar, or persona for herself, aimed outward rather than inward. As I have already argued, the aim of self-­presentation can be to be a product and tool of self-­investigation. It can be a putting to use of the 81 Svetlana Alexievich, Te Unwomanly Face of War trans. Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky (London: Penguin, 2017), pp. xiii–xiv.

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Two Purposes of Autobiography  55 claimed self-­knowledge which results from attempts at self-­investigation, or it can even be a distinctive kind of self-­knowledge. But it needn’t have those relations, or any relations, to self-­ investigation: we present ourselves for many kinds of non-­investigative purposes. Self-­presentation can be for purely aesthetic purposes, for example. I could aim to ofer a beautiful or startling or exemplary surface for my life, not to go beneath it to my depths or to stay true to what I really am. Or self-­ presentation can be political: for someone is who is marginalized and oppressed, especially as a member of an imposed identity group, its point can be to say ‘here I am!’, to introduce herself in her own terms rather than the terms of the imposed identity, and to demand notice and respect. Consider here Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass or Reinaldo Arenas’s Before Night Falls.82 Te autobiographer with this purpose may have no project of self-­investigation, even no need of one: she may know herself well already through other methods, including the hostile interactions she has been forced into by her oppression. She aims instead to display herself to her oppressed peers and to demand the recognition of her oppressors. Political self-­presentation is one type of a more general use of ­self-­presentation as a social tool. An autobiographer, like any self-­presenter in various forms and genres, may intend her self-­presentation only to be causally efective with a public, to underwrite successful social ­interaction.83 Self-­presentation as a legal persona—as something capable of making contracts, suing and being sued, and owning property—is one important case for our kind of social life. Autobiographies can similarly be used to make a persona aimed, not at accurate presentation of the self, but at interacting successfully with others, by bringing it about that they take you in a certain way, and therefore act towards you and with you in desired ways. Graves’s Goodbye to All Tat, for example, is a masterwork of ­persona-­making of this kind: its self-­presentation underwrote Graves’s

82 Douglass, Narrative; Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls trans. Dolores  M.  Koch (New York: Viking, 1993). 83  Erving Gofman, Te Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (London: Allen Lane, 1969).

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56  GOOD LIVES

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successful negotiation of a happy exile from England, freed from social obligations he had come to hate, and with the money to support himself outside them. It’s not a very accurate or trustworthy revelation of Graves himself, but it was never intended to be. It did what it aimed at. Summing up: the contrasts between the two autobiographical purposes, self-­investigation and self-­presentation, are between looking inward and looking outward, between being responsive and being inventive, and between discovery and construction. Autobiographers typically do both in varied mixture, and typically help themselves to do each by using the other. But what follows will show the point of making an analytic distinction between the two. Of the two, self-­investigation will be at the heart of my argument, because my central claim is that reading autobiographies is a way to self-­knowledge. To get to that, I need to show that autobiographies aim at and gain self-­knowledge. And in pursuit of that intermediate result, I  now distinguish some important kinds of self-­ knowledge that ­autobiographies pursue and reveal.

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Te Delphic Demand Tere are many kinds of self-­knowledge: many things we could know or try to fnd out about ourselves; many kinds of possible result of ­self-­investigation. I could know about myself as bodily, as located in a particular place, as related to others, as historical, as habitual and dispositional, as virtuous and vicious, as the object of my various plans, self-­ descriptions, and emotions of self-­ assessment.84 Each of the possibilities I will canvass in §Accounts of the Self, later, has an associated putative kind of self-­knowledge. Recent philosophical work on self-­knowledge has focused on one of these kinds, knowledge of one’s own current conscious mental states: my knowledge of my auditory experience of the Taylor Deupree album85 playing in the background, of my desire for a cup of cofee, of my belief that it’s raining outside, of my thinking about what to write, of my feeting and distracting worries, and so on. Tis work takes the signifcant philosophical questions here to be epistemological: what do I know about these states, and how do I know it? Is my knowledge transparent, immediate, incorrigible? Is it like or unlike my knowledge of other people’s conscious mental states, or of my non-­conscious or non-­mental states?86 In contrast, I am interested here in substantial self-­knowledge:87 answers to questions such as, who am I? What’s my character—am I brave, selfsh, lazy, creative? How would I react in a crisis? What am I, 84 Compare Ulric Neisser, ‘Five Kinds of Self-­ Knowledge’, Philosophical Psychology 1(1988): 35–59. 85  Taylor Deupree, Stil. (New York: 12k, 2002). 86  Brie Gertler, Self-­Knowledge (London: Routledge, 2011); Brie Gertler, ‘Self-­Knowledge’ in Edward N. Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2015 Edition), http:// plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2015/entries/self-­knowledge/. 87  Te term is Quassim Cassam’s, in Self-­Knowledge for Humans (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0023

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58  GOOD LIVES both mentally and physically? What have I been, both mentally and physically? What is in me that I need to express? What do I really want? What do I really believe? What really pleases me or makes me happy?88 What would make my life a success for me? Why did I do what I have done? Did I make the right choices? Why has my life gone the way it has—is it down to me acting, or to the world acting on me?89 I think that most people who aren’t professional philosophers—and most professional philosophers, when we’re thinking and living outside our expert practice—are interested in substantial self-­knowledge if they’re interested in self-­knowledge at all. What I and most of us are interested in under the title ‘self-­knowledge’ is what would meet this Delphic demand to know yourself. Tis ­self-­knowledge is an achievement, something I could fail to have, have more or less of than someone else, work for, have in some domains but not others, resist and avoid, be unable to bear. It’s a frightening prospect, because I might despise or despair of myself if only I knew myself better. Self-­ignorance might be bliss. But self-­knowledge is also desired, both because it’s potentially useful—if I knew myself better, I might be able to live my life more efectively—and because it’s an intimately valuable kind of understanding in itself. As the above should make clear, I use an expansive notion of ­self-­knowledge, which includes a wide variety of ways we can know ourselves and things we can know about ourselves. I know that I was born in Oxford, that I have chronic high blood pressure, and that I need regular time on my own if I’m not to become stressed and irritable. All of these are pieces of my partial but various self-­knowledge. Many distinctions may be useful within that variety, but they are distinctions of 88  ‘One can bring no greater reproach against a man than to say that he does not set sufcient value upon pleasure, and there is no greater sign of a fool than the thinking that he can tell at once and easily what it is that pleases him. To know this is not easy, and how to extend our knowledge of it is the highest and the most neglected of all arts and branches of education.’—Samuel Butler, Te Note-­Books of Samuel Butler ed. Henry Festing Jones (London: A. C. Fitfeld, 1919), p. 207. 89 Tis list of questions draws on Cassam, Self-­ Knowledge for Humans, p. 10; Timothy D. Wilson, Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002), pp. 1–3; Ursula Renz ed., Self-­Knowledge: A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018); and my own desires for particular pieces of self-­knowledge.

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The Delphic Demand  59

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importance for particular purposes, not distinctions between ­self-­knowledge proper and, for example, knowledge which is merely about the self.90 What I might need to know about myself depends on my circumstances and projects: my blood pressure or introversion could be vital or trivial in diferent cases. But both are pieces of self-­knowledge. Within that wide variety, autobiographies typically focus their reasoning on some or all of fve problems of self-­knowledge, which I’ll call explanation, justifcation, self-­enjoyment, selfood, and good life. Tese and other kinds of self-­knowledge can be more or less general or particular. I will be interested in a range that includes the fairly general— what kind of thing am I?—and the quite particular—why did that happen to me? I now sketch my fve kinds of self-­knowledge; argue that despite appearances, meaning is not a distinct sixth problem of self-­knowledge; and then elaborate on my main concerns, selfood and good life.

90  A distinction made by David W. Hamlyn, ‘Self-­Knowledge’ in Teodore Mischell ed., Te Self: Psychological and Philosophical Issues (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1977), pp. 170–200.

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24 Explanation

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First, the autobiographical problem of explanation: why did what happened to me happen? Why did I do what I did? Was it because of internal or of external forces? Or of some combination or alternation of the two? What combination, if so, or when was each operating? Tis use of the term is distinct, frst, from uses when one explains how to do something: here’s how to make an omelette, train for a marathon, do CPR. Second, from uses when one explains one’s reasons for doing something, which fall under the distinct problem of justifcation. An explanation in my use here is an answer to why? It tries to answer that question by ftting the events and actions to be explained into a larger structure which organizes and illuminates them; which distinguishes the simple core from the complex rest of the phenomena; and which makes them less startling and perplexing. For example, here is the marine geologist Tanya Attwater’s account of fnding an explanation in plate tectonics: Te night Dan McKenzie and Bob Parker told me the idea, a bunch of us were drinking beer in the Little Bavaria in La Jolla. Dan sketched it on a napkin. ‘Aha!’ said I, ‘but what about the Mendocino trend?’ ‘Easy’, and he showed me three plates. As simple as that! Te simplicity and power of the geometry of those three plates captured my mind that night and has never let go since. It is a wondrous thing to have the random facts in one’s head suddenly fall into the slots of an orderly framework. It is like an explosion inside.91

91  Letter quoted in John McPhee, Annals of the Former World (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998), pp. 134–5. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0024

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I don’t mean this account of explanation to be controversial, to decide between the various philosophical theories of scientifc or other explanation,92 nor to take a position on whether all explanatory disciplines use the same kind of explanation rather than, for example, there being a distinctively historical kind of explanation. My account is intentionally minimalist and therefore broadly inclusive. Explanatory self-knowledge is difcult. Perhaps it’s more difcult—or at least more emotionally fraught—than explaining fault geology. For example, one central problem of self-­ explanation in Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam war memoir If I Die in a Combat Zone is: why did he go to war? He was drafed, he thought the war was immoral and unnecessary, he hated military life, he could have draf-­dodged by going to Canada but didn’t, he made detailed plans to desert to Sweden but found himself unable to go through with them. Part of the explanation is his childhood pursuit of his father’s war experience: In patches of weed and clouds of imagination, I learned to play army games. Friends introduced me to the Army Surplus Store of main street. We bought dented relics of our fathers’ history, rusted canteens and olive-­scented, scarred helmet liners. Ten we were our fathers, taking on the Japs and Krauts along the shores of Lake Okabena, on the fat fairways of the golf course, writhing insensible under barrages of shore batteries positioned under camoufage across the lake. I  rubbed my fngers across my father’s war decorations, stole a tiny battle star of one of them and carried it in my pocket.93

But he doesn’t solve the problem. It would be too pat to do so, and it’s a sign of a bad autobiography that it claims to solve all problems of self-­explanation.

92  On which see, for example, Jon Elster, Explaining Social Behaviour: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Peter Godfrey-­Smith, Teory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), chapter 13; James Woodward, ‘Scientifc Explanation’ in Edward N. Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2017 Edition), https://plato.stanford.edu/ archives/spr2017/entries/scientifc-­explanation/. 93  Tim O’Brien, If I Die in a Combat Zone (London: Flamingo, 2003), pp. 21–2.

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62  GOOD LIVES

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When an autobiographer is satisfed with some piece of self-­explanation, it can sometimes be the discovery that she was not in command of her own life. Doris Lessing, for example, explains much of her young self and early life as unchosen, the product of larger-­than-­personal forces. Why did she have children so young? ‘Now it seems to me obvious I knew all the time I was pregnant, was in alliance with Nature against myself.’94 Why did she join the Communist Party? ‘I became a Communist because of the spirit of the times, because of the Zeitgeist.’95 Explanation of action is connected to my next two problems of self-­knowledge, justifcation and self-­enjoyment, because whether I’m responsible and therefore open to criticism of my reasons, whether I can take pride or ought to feel shame, partly depends on whether that explanation involves me in the right way.

94 Lessing, Under My Skin, p. 212.

95 Lessing, Under My Skin, p. 259.

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25 Justifcation and Self-­Enjoyment

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Te second autobiographical problem of self-­knowledge is justifcation, and the third is self-­enjoyment. Questions of justifcation include: did I do the rational or reasonable or moral thing? Was I in the right? Am I a good or a bad person? Do I have a reason or an excuse for my actions? Consider again Doris Lessing, who lef her two young children when she divorced their father and remarried, and later lef them in Rhodesia to be raised by others while she went to London to be a novelist. She wonders about her justifcations: I felt—and still wonder if this wasn’t right—that it would be better to make a clean break with the two children until—the formula used for these situations—they were old enough to understand. I pictured myself in a home of my own, but this formula did not mean merely a fat or a house, rather a feeling of myself solidly based somewhere, it didn’t matter where, nor was this base money, or respectability, but that I should have earned an identity, that would justify my having lef them.96

Tis is importantly distinct, as part to whole, from another, broader problem of self-­knowledge, about self-­enjoyment: how do I feel about myself? How should I? Self-­love, self-­hatred, self-­esteem, self-­respect, self-­contempt, something more complex? Autobiographies negotiate our complex positive and negative emotions of self-­ assessment:97 pride, shame, embarrassment, guilt, honouring, contempt, delight, disgust, love, hatred, awe, veneration, 96 Lessing, Under My Skin, pp. 401–2. 97  Te term is Gabriele Taylor’s, in Pride, Shame, and Guilt: Emotions of Self-­Assessment (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985). Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0025

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64  GOOD LIVES admiration, respect, loathing, esteem. We ofen experience these emotions about ourselves just as we do about others: I delight in my children, I’m ashamed of some things I did as a teenager, I admire William Morris, I’m proud of my teaching. As those examples show, evaluative emotions are about something: they have objects. Where these objects are positively evaluated, we can call follow Hume in calling them virtues, and where negatively evaluated, vices.98 Like Hume, we need not restrict these terms to objects of moral evaluation. Crudely, a virtue is any stable trait of human individuals that humans naturally or by education like, and a vice is any stable trait that we naturally or by education dislike. Human virtues are highly various: think of the physical prowess of a ballet dancer, the absurd and cruel imagination of your funniest friend, the fercely determined love of the mother of a chronically ill child. Tink that one and the same person could be the object of all these evaluative descriptions. Tink that she could also have equally various vices: she has no time for the troubles of other parents, is emotionally unstable and vindictive, cheats at solitaire. Admiration can be tense: we can be torn in admiration, both drawn to and repulsed. We can have a sneaking or grudging admiration for the brazenly selfsh, and can admire anti-­moral virtue.99 We delight in the egotistical vitality of children; we are awed by the monomania of great artists even while acknowledging its costs to their friends and families; Holmes respects Moriarty. Actual rather than hypothetical and fctional examples can make the same point. I shall ofer two. First, consider Oliver North as described in Robert Timberg’s Te Nightingale’s Song:100 quick-­witted, charismatic, unstoppably energetic and determined, a courageous combat platoon leader in Vietnam and a brilliantly engaging teacher in Basic School aferwards. But also a show-­of, a careerist, a teller of self-­aggrandizing and self-­exculpating

98  David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals ed. Tom  L.  Beauchamp (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998). 99  Michael Slote, Goods and Virtues (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), chapter  1; Owen Flanagan, ‘Admirable Immorality and Admirable Imperfection’ in Self-­Expressions: Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 181–200. 100  Robert Timberg, Te Nightingale’s Song (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995).

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Justification and Self-­E njoyment  65 stories, willing to put the men under his command in harm’s way just to impress a superior. And worst: someone who, in his role as a US National Security Council staf member, helped to illegally sell weapons to Iran and then divert the money—again illegally—to support anti-­Sandinista terrorism in Nicaragua. We may judge him harshly on moral grounds, but that vice doesn’t wipe out his virtues. Second, consider once more Doris Lessing as she autobiographically presents herself: perceptive, self-­aware, immensely competent and at home in her family’s farm and the bush around it; but deeply split between her self-­concealing jocular persona ‘Tigger’ and a stifed inner self, much more inclined to notice her mother’s vices than her equally real virtues, and eventually someone who lef her two young children to pursue her writing career.101 Summing up my point here: people are complicated and disunifed, and there’s no reason to expect to be able to total their virtues and vices into an overall score, or to take high standing in one virtue to imply high standing in others. Brave people can be liars. Charismatic people can care too much about getting ahead. Perceptive and empathetic people can fail to understand the people closest to them. Selves are cities, not unities: virtues and vices are plural and independent. Self-­enjoyment, as a kind of self-­knowledge, is equally complex and disunifed. Among this independent plurality of virtues and vices is living a good life, the property some people have of faring well. If this weren’t a virtue, how would envying another’s happiness be possible, for example? I have to admire the happiness before I can hate the person who has it when I don’t. We can—and, I suggest, we typically do—admire living a good life alongside other virtues and against simultaneous vices. Tere is no single virtue or vice—no single object of our various evaluative emotions—which is our sole concern in our self-­enjoyment and our admiration of others, nor which unifes or trumps over other virtues and vices. We humans are typically admirable in some ways and despicable in others, some of the ways we are despicable are also in diferent ways admirable, and these various characteristics are not to be summed up into a single status or standing. Any autobiographer, and 101 Lessing, Under My Skin.

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66  GOOD LIVES

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any of us, can distinguish features of herself which elicit positive or negative emotions of evaluation: pride, love, enjoyment, acceptance; shame, hate, contempt, rejection. Honesty or the tendency to embellish stories to her own advantage; determination or laziness; charisma or fading into the background; good health or bad; faring well or faring badly; paying her good luck forward or resting on her unearned advantages; the efortless fip with which she ties a bowline or her hamfsted attempts to make bread.

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Selfood Te fourth problem of self-­ knowledge particularly addressed by autobiographies is selfood: who and what am I? What is the real or true me, and what a mask or disposable? What am I really like? What characteristics defne me? What is internal to me and what external? What, if anything, survived the time and transformations I have been through? What is latent in me, waiting for the right conditions to fower? We can further distinguish various problems of selfood over a scale from general to particular. At the general end of this scale, we take ‘what am I?’ as asking ‘am I a body, a brain, a mind, a consciousness, a soul, or some other kind of thing, or no kind of thing at all?’ Moving towards the particular, there are categorical questions, when we take ‘what am I?’ or ‘who am I?’ as asking about my traits and dispositions: ‘am I brave, lazy, calm, selfsh, melancholic?’ Also around here, and shading into the problem of explanation, are questions about my historical and causal location: about my parentage, where and when I grew up and what that did for me, and other elements of constitutive good and bad luck.102 At the particular end of the scale we take ‘who am I?’ as asking about myself as singular: what do I in particular really want and really believe? What do I have in me specially to do? Autobiography can be concerned with questions all along this scale, but I will focus on issues towards its general end, just because they are the ones with potential for sympathetic recognition and shared application. We readers can learn something about ourselves from what autobiographers discover about themselves because it’s not only about themselves.

102  Neil Levy, Hard Luck: How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Tomas Nagel, ‘Moral Luck’ in Mortal Questions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 24–38; Williams, ‘Moral Luck’. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0026

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68  GOOD LIVES

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Siegfried Sassoon’s autobiography, for example, is centrally concerned with questions of selfood. Sassoon wants to know who and what he is, and he pursues that knowledge by considering what his experience did to him—what the realized possibilities of transformation revealed about the thing transformed.

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Good Life Te ffh autobiographical problem of self-­knowledge is about the good life. Here are some practical dilemmas: should you have children? What should you do for your children if you do have them? What should our national education policy be? What do you value in your own life, and what would you give up to keep it? How should you distribute a medicine when there isn’t enough for everyone? How should you live if you’re to be able honestly to say, as last words, ‘tell them I’ve had a wonderful life’?103 We humans are frequently confronted with these dilemmas and others like them. One common-­sense way of thinking about how to solve them is to consider what diferent choices would do to the people afected by them: would having children be good for you? What is in your children’s best interests? What would be best for those we educate? Who would get the most beneft from this medicine? What is in your self-­interest? Tis consideration, especially in its self-­interested form, is a focus of many autobiographies and autobiographical novels. Mill’s Autobiography is centrally about what happiness is and how to attain it. Somerset Maugham’s alter ego Philip in Of Human Bondage is troubled by a version of the same question: Of late Philip had been captivated by an idea that since one had only one life it was important to make a success of it, but he did not count success by the acquiring of money or the achieving of fame; he did not quite know yet what he meant by it.104

103  Wittgenstein’s last words as reported by Malcolm, Ludwig Wittgenstein, p. 100. See further Ray Monk, Ludwig Wittgenstein: Te Duty of Genius (London: Vintage, 1991). 104 Maugham, Of Human Bondage, p. 278. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0027

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70  GOOD LIVES Tis way of thinking requires an answer to a characteristically ­philosophical question: what is the ideal life for a human being? What is in her interests, or benefcial to her, or best for her? What is it to make a success of Philip’s life, or Mill’s life, or my life, or your life? What is intrinsically or ultimately, not merely instrumentally, good for someone? Te target of these questions is variously known as well-­being, welfare, prudential value, quality of life, what makes someone’s life go best, what is good for a human being, personal good, human fourishing, or the good life.105 I will use good life, and talk of lives going well or badly and going better or worse. Te term ‘good’ is also used for what I’m calling ‘justifcation’, for example in ‘she’s a good person’ or ‘that was a good thing to do’. But good life and justifcation in my senses are distinct. Te question of justifcation is about the standards of correctness for action, and about whether we have lived up to them. Tis distinct normative question covers moral questions, understood as questions about what we must, may, or may not do to or for others, considered from an impartial point of view. It also covers cross-­cutting questions about what we should do, without the deontological ‘must, may, may not’ structure, to or for others from an impartial point of view; about what I should, must, may, or may not do for myself, that is for prudential reasons; and about my partial commitments and obligations to particular people.106 How well people’s lives go matters to us: it is a good, or one of our values, or valuable. It is therefore relevant in some way to our practical 105  Well-­being—James Grifn, Well-­Being: Its Meaning, Measurement and Moral Importance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986); welfare—Stephen Darwall, Welfare and Rational Care (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002); prudential value—Valerie Tiberius, ‘Prudential Value’ in Iwao Hirose & Jonas Olson eds, Te Oxford Handbook of Value Teory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 158–74; quality of life—Martha C. Nussbaum & Amartya Sen eds, Te Quality of Life (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993); what makes someone’s life go best—Derek Parft, Reasons and Persons (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984); what is good for a human being—Richard Kraut, What is Good and Why: Te Ethics of Well-­Being (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007); personal good—Connie Rosati, ‘Personal Good’ in Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons eds, Metaethics afer Moore (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006), pp. 107–32; human fourishing—Richard  J.  Arneson, ‘Human Flourishing versus Desire Satisfaction’, Social Philosophy and Policy 16(1999): 113–42; the good life—Tomas L. Carson, Value and the Good Life (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000). 106  Tis paragraph sets out a version of a standard distinction between the right and the good. See John Rawls, A Teory of Justice (revised edn, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), §5.

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Good Life  71 decision-­making in the face of all these kinds of normative question. Decision-­ making which was insensitive to what matters would be irrational, even if internally consistent. When someone’s living better or worse is at stake in our deliberations about action, we should take that into account in some way and to some degree. Tese are platitudes. Further, an account of the good life which was incapable of giving us reasons for action would be a bad account. If what’s presented as the good life for me is so alien to me that I can’t recognize it as good or be drawn to it, can it really be good for me?107 But there is still a gap between good life and justifcation here: to move from an account of good life to an account of what we ought to do, all things considered, we would need, frst, an account of the other values, if there are any, at stake; and second, a theory of the relation between the right and the good. For example, a welfarist and consequentialist theory: good life is the only intrinsic value; the right (or rational) action is the action which maximizes intrinsic value. But there is no simple or automatic route from the good to the right, no direct way from claims about how well some or all lives might go to claims about what it would be right or best to do, or about what anyone should or may or must do. Good life and justifcation come apart vividly in cases of righteous self-­sacrifce: the soldier who throws herself on a grenade to save her platoon; the ascetic who denies herself food, rest, and shelter to purify herself. Tese are prima facie cases of someone doing (what she takes to be) the right thing at cost to her own good life, and we can therefore say that justifcation is not the same concept as good life. To deny that distinction is—absurdly—to make righteous self-­sacrifce conceptually impossible.

107 Arneson, ‘Human Flourishing versus Desire Satisfaction’; Peter Railton, ‘Facts and Values’ in Facts, Values, and Norms: Essays Toward a Morality of Consequence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 43–68; Connie Rosati, ‘Internalism and the Good for a Person’, Ethics 107(1997): 297–326.

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Reductionism about Meaning We might think that autobiographies also focus on a sixth problem of self-­knowledge, the problem of the meaning of life or of meaningful life: what does my life mean? Is it meaningful? What would make it so? But no. Autobiographers do ask about the meaning or meaningfulness of their lives. Tis is one of the forms of refection which autobiography can add to a mere recounting of a life: autobiographers typically want to do more than just to present themselves. But what autobiographers are getting at with the meaning question is ambiguous between several problems, none of which is a further distinctive kind of self-­knowledge at which autobiography might aim. For a life to have a meaning, or be found meaningful, may just be for it to have an efect: if I make no diference at all to the world, I might as well never have lived, and my life was meaningless. But having made some diference doesn’t guarantee meaning: it matters what diference, and how we explain, justify, enjoy, or value it. So to get to meaningfulness we need to supplement an autobiographical account of the diference I made with one of the fve kinds of self-­knowledge: it needs, for example, to be a righteous diference or a diference I can be proud of. Or, perhaps, a signifcant diference—a possibility I return to below. Or perhaps a meaningful life is one which makes sense. But to have made sense of something is to have understood or grasped or come to know it, so this is a way of talking about self-­knowledge in general, not a particular kind of thing about myself which I might come to know. On this reading, looking for the meaning of my life just is pursuing self-­knowledge. Alternatively, the problem of meaningfulness may be one or more of the particular problems of self-­knowledge I have distinguished. It may be a problem of explanation: why have things turned out like this? What makes sense of these events? For example, Havi Carel, in her Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0028

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Reductionism about Meaning  73 philosophical memoir Illness, says that ‘becoming ill creates a need to fnd meaning’ and glosses that need as partly that ‘the ill person seeks an explanation for her sufering and limitations.’108 Or asking about meaningfulness may be a way of asking about purpose or telos: what goal gives my life direction? What am I here to do? Carel argues that the problem of meaning created by inevitable death is the problem that ‘human life lacks the fnal goal, or telos, that the ripe fruit and the fnished novel have.’109 But this is a version of one or more of the other problems of self-­ knowledge I have already distinguished: justifcation, if what is being asked is whether I did what I should have; self-­enjoyment, if what is being asked is whether I can properly be satisfed with my life; or good life, if what is being asked is whether my life has been successful. Or again, the pursuit of meaningfulness may be pursuit of a true account of myself, an attempt to ‘fnd myself ’. But this is a version of my problem of selfood. Alice Koller’s project in her Te Stations of Solitude, and Siegfried Sassoon’s project in his Memoirs, is to uncover and present themselves as each really is. I am not claiming that people looking for meaning know that they’re looking for self-­knowledge. People in search of meaning are ofen trying frst to understand the need they feel: to locate the itch so they can scratch it. Tis is how I understand Bernard Moitessier’s obscure but pregnant concern for ‘a truth which I had perhaps lost’,110 for example: he is trying to work out what would satisfy his need for an answer by working out what the question is. My claim, then, is that his question is actually about self-­knowledge. I don’t intend these arguments as glib claims of synonymy, that ‘meaningfulness’ has the same sense as ‘self-­knowledge’, ‘explanation’, ‘justifcation’, ‘self-­enjoyment’, ‘good life’, or ‘selfood’. I am arguing for the reductionist claim that the demand for meaning aims at nothing more than does the demand for self-­knowledge, in general and of the various particular kinds I have distinguished. Te burden of proof is 108 Carel, Illness, p. 98, my emphasis. 109 Carel, Illness, p. 108, interpreting Heidegger. 110  Bernard Moitessier, Te Long Way trans. William Rodarmor (London: Sheridan House, 1995), p. 72. I will say more about Moitessier later.

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74  GOOD LIVES then on the non-­ reductionist to describe what I’ve missed in the problem of meaningfulness.111 And as a frst attempt at that, perhaps, as suggested above, the problem of meaningfulness is actually about signifcance. Why is my life not absurd? Given that in a thousand years, no one is going to care or even know about me, does anything I do or undergo matter? How can my life have any weight in history?112 I reply that, in this sense, to fnd a meaning is to fnd a use for the meaning-­fnder. If I look for the meaning of a life in this meaning as use sense, then I’m attempting to make the life do something for me: to convince me that it’s worth continuing or that  I  matter to the universe, or to provide a psychological sense of meaningfulness. I might analogously use my life for other purposes: to provide a compelling dilemma for my novel, or an emotion for my method acting, or an illustration for my philosophical argument. I might do the same with anyone’s life, not just my own. But then this isn’t self-knowledge. It’s a creative rather than an investigative project, a way of making something for use out of my or anyone’s life. To fnd meaning in one’s own life isn’t a kind of self-­knowledge but a kind of presentation to oneself, a possible product of the self-­presentational purpose of autobiography, and subject to the creative norms of that purpose rather than the responsive norms of self-­investigation. Reductionism further helps us to understand a common worry, that life is meaningless. When the demand for meaning reduces to a question about selfood, meaninglessness is reduced to some no-­self view: the worry that I am nothing. And in parallel, reduction to explanation, ­justifcation, enjoyment, and good life are no-­explanation, no-­justifcation, no-­enjoyment, and no-­good views: the worries that there is no answer to ‘how did I get here?’, ‘did I do the right thing?’, ‘how should I feel about myself?’, or ‘what would make my life go well for me?’ I therefore repeat the reductionist challenge that meaning and meaningfulness don’t pick out any further, distinct form of self-­knowledge at 111  Te reader interested in this project should begin by consulting Taddeus Metz, ‘Te Meaning of Life’ in Edward  N.  Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2013 Edition), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2013/entries/life-­meaning/. 112  See Tomas Nagel, ‘Te Absurd’ in Mortal Questions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 11–23.

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which autobiographers might aim. Meaning is just another way of talking about self-­knowledge in general; or it is just another way of talking about some particular kind of self-­knowledge—explanation, justifcation, self-­enjoyment, good life, selfood; or a meaning for my life is a kind of self-­presentation not a kind of self-­knowledge. Te consequence for this book is that I won’t be addressing ‘the meaning of life’ or ‘the meaningfulness of life’ any further. I will be addressing part of what we actually want to know when we ask about those things: selfood and good life.

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Accounts of the Self In this book I am especially interested in two of the fve kinds of ­self-­knowledge I have picked out, selfood and good life. Tis and the following sections elaborate on them. Te frst of these two is Sassoon’s concern, selfood: who and what am I? But ‘the self ’ is multivalent. It properly means many diferent things, for many diferent speakers, in many diferent contexts. Some of these meanings overlap. Some are ofen confated, to confusing efect. Some may difer only in being located in diferent discursive and investigative contexts: empirical psychology, metaphysics, self-­examination, moral philosophy, psychiatry, anthropological theory, ethnographic practice. We therefore need to do some initial work mapping this complex landscape. As a frst step towards that mapping, here is an unordered and ahistorical list of available accounts of the self. Some are more ofen raised using ‘person’, ‘agent’, ‘soul’, or ‘ātman’ than ‘self ’, but I don’t see a consistent distinction between these labels in general use. I aim for the list to be broadly inclusive, but I don’t claim to have caught every possibility.113 Now the list: Defationary: my self is me; your self is you. Self-­talk is just an alternative way of talking about particular human beings. To think that

113  I give indicative references for each account rather than a comprehensive bibliography. Apart from those particular works, my list draws on Shaun Gallagher ed., Te Oxford Handbook of the Self (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Jerrold Seigel, Te Idea of the Self: Tought and Experience in Western Europe since the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); and Richard Sorabji, Self: Ancient and Modern Insights about Individuality, Life, and Death (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006).

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anything more is referred to by ‘my self ’ than by ‘I’ or ‘me’ or ‘myself ’ is a mistaken reifcation.114 Separateness: a self is a self-­separated thing. I and you and she and he are distinct and to some degree independent from one another and from the world. Each of us has a boundary, actively maintains it, and is thereby constituted as a self, separated from each other self.115 Non-­separateness: my self is identical with all other selves or with the whole universe. My apparent separation from other selves, and apparent part-­whole relation to the universe, is an illusion or a temporary state which is removed by enlightenment.116 Consciousness: the self is frst-­personal experience, a particular subjective going on, a perspective which it is like something to be or to take up, from the inside. Or it is a connected temporal sequence of such experiences. I and you are just bundles, perhaps temporally extended bundles, of experiences.117 Agency: the self is the centre of control or will, that in me which decides and which carries out its decisions in action. It may be created or continually recreated by doing so.118

114  Anthony Kenny, Te Self (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1988); in a diferent register and discursive context, German E. Berrios & Ivan S. Marková, ‘Te Self and Psychiatry: A Conceptual History’ in Tilo Kircher & Anthony David eds, Te Self in Neuroscience and Psychology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 9–39. 115 Daniel Dennett, ‘Te Origins of Selves’, Cogito 3(1989): 163–73; Jennan Ismael, Te Situated Self (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). 116  Upianisads trans. Patrick Olivelle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), e.g. Brhadāranyaka Upanisad 1.4.10: ‘In the beginning this world was only brahman, and it knew only itself (ātman), thinking “I am brahman.” As a result, it became the Whole. Among the gods, likewise, whosoever realized this, only they became the Whole. It was the same also among the seers and among humans . . . If a man knows “I am brahman” in this way, he becomes the whole world.’ Tis is not the only account of the self in the Upanisads. See further Brian Black, Te Character of the Self in Ancient India: Priests, Kings, and Women in the Early Upanisads (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007); Jonardon Ganeri, Te Concealed Art of the Soul: Teories of Self and Practices of Truth in Indian Ethics and Epistemology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). 117 Parft, Reasons and Persons. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature ed. David Fate Norton & Mary  J.  Norton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), can also be read as saying this. 118  Harry G. Frankfurt et al., Taking Ourselves Seriously & Getting it Right ed. Debra Satz (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006); Christine M. Korsgaard, Self-­Constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

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78  GOOD LIVES Self-­consciousness: the self is, or is created in, specifcally refexive consciousness. I have a self in being aware of myself, and you have a self in being aware of yourself.119 Self-­interpretation: the self is not an object to be discovered but a hermeneutical act which creates its own object. We make ourselves as particular selves by reading ourselves that way.120 Te diference between these last two is a matter of degree rather than of sharp distinction. At the self-­consciousness end of the scale, the self is immediate, perhaps non-­ conceptual awareness of oneself; at the ­self-­interpretation end, the self is a highly conceptual, cognitive, or articulated theory or reading of oneself; intermediate positions are available. Self-consciousness and self-interpretation here pick out a subset of experiences and interpretations marked by their content: they are refexive, about the self which has them or is them. Other experiences and interpretations have other contents: they are of or about Grasmere seen from Loughrigg Fell, Miles Davis’s In a Silent Way, children playing in the woods. Self-­consciousness and self-­interpretation relate to the self as Davis-­consciousness and Davis-­interpretation relate to Miles Davis, ‘as scanner to scanned’.121 Refexivity: ‘the self ’ is a usefully compact way of talking about various kinds of refexivities, including self-­consciousness, but also, for ­example, including self-­knowledge, self-­command, self-­refection, ­self-representation, self-­assessment, and their various interrelations and ways of cohering or failing to cohere.122 Subject of experience: the self is that thing which has, or is subject to, experiences, rather than being experiences, or experiences of a particular 119  Andrew Brooke, ‘Unifed Consciousness and the Self ’ in Shaun Gallagher & Jonathan Shear eds, Models of the Self (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 1999), pp. 39–47; Robert Nozick, Philosophical Explanations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981). 120 Mark Freeman, Rewriting the Self: History, Memory, Narrative (London: Routledge, 1993); Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: Te Making of the Modern Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989). I will have much more to say about this account in Part II. 121  Kathleen V. Wilkes, ‘Know Tyself ’ in Shaun Gallagher & Jonathan Shear eds, Models of the Self (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 1999), pp. 25–38, p. 26. 122  Stephen E. Toulmin, ‘Self-­Knowledge and Knowledge of the Self ’ in Teodore Mischell ed., Te Self: Psychological and Philosophical Issues (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1977), pp. 291–317; J.  David Velleman, ‘Introduction’ in Self to Self: Selected Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2006), pp. 1–15.

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Accounts of the Self  79 refexive kind. My self is what lives through my experiences, and your self is what lives through yours. Perhaps each such self is an individual rational substance, a res cogitans.123 Owner: the self is that thing which stands behind and owns someone’s various experiences, properties, and states. My self possesses these features of me: it’s what makes them mine rather than yours. It may seem that these last two are the same account under diferent names, but they are distinct. Being subject to experience—undergoing it, having it happen to you, being inside the mental states which constitute it—but not experiencing it as yours, as owned, as frst-­personal rather than third-­personal, seems to be a feature of dissociative identity disorders.124 Since these two can apparently come apart, we need to ­distinguish the accounts of the self which make each central. Mind: the self is conscious and non-­conscious mentality, but not the merely bodily. My self therefore includes desires, beliefs, and other psychological processes and states which don’t appear in my experience, but it does not include my legs or liver.125 Singularity: talk of selves picks out the fact that I and you and she and he are each unique, irreplaceable products of a never-­to-­be-­repeated sequence of particular events and experiences.126 Self-­narrative: the self is a self-­told story, or a character in such a story. It’s a useful invention, a ‘centre of narrative gravity’127 which we create so as to be able to invoke it in talk of, and practices involving, our own and others’ viewpoints, responsibilities, privacy, and freedom.128 123 René Descartes, ‘Meditations’ in Discourse on Method and Te Meditations trans. F.  E.  Sutclife (London: Penguin, 1968), pp. 93–169; E.  J.  Lowe, Subjects of Experience (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). Hume, Treatise, if read metaphysically rather than phenomenologically, is denying the existence of this self. For the distinction between metaphysical and phenomenological readings of Hume, see Jesse Prinz, ‘Waiting for the Self ’ in Jeeloo Liu & John Perry eds, Consciousness and the Self: New Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 123–49. 124 Stephen E. Braude, First Person Plural: Multiple Personality and the Philosophy of Mind (London: Routledge, 1991). 125 Wilson, Strangers to Ourselves. 126  Stuart Hampshire, Innocence & Experience (London: Allen Lane, 1989), pp. 114f. 127 Daniel Dennett, ‘Te Self as a Centre of Narrative Gravity’ in Frank  S.  Kessel, Pamela M. Cole, & Dale L. Johnson eds, Self and Consciousness: Multiple Perspectives (Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1991), pp. 103–15. 128  Marya Schechtman, Te Constitution of Selves (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996). I will have much more to say about this account in Part II.

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Social construction: the self is a social accomplishment, something negotiated or enforced into public existence between people living together. In some such accounts the method of construction is narration, as in the previous account. But if so, it’s our joint narrative—not necessarily on equal terms—making me and you and her and him, rather than my narrative making me and your narrative making you. In other such accounts, the method of construction is dialogue, discourse, dramatic script, and/or non-­linguistic relations.129 Platonic self: the self is pure immortal reason, currently trapped by the demands of the body, its passions, and time, but freed by death.130 Moral self: the self is that in me which drives me to be virtuous and do right, and which is revealed to be stifed or undeveloped when I do wrong.131 Projects: my self is the central project or projects which organize the action of my life. To transform or lose my projects is to lose my integrity, and at the limit to become someone else.132 Activity: the self is an activity or performance, not a thing. It is the characteristic way of going on—whatever exactly that is—of creatures which are or have selves.133

129  George Herbert Mead, Mind, Self, and Society ed. Charles W. Morris (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015); Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Penguin, 1991); Ulric Neisser ed., Te Perceived Self: Ecological and Interpersonal Sources of Self-­Knowledge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Michael Carrithers, Steven Collins, & Steven Lukes eds, Te Category of the Person: Anthropology, Philosophy, History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985). 130 Plato, Phaedo trans. & ed. David Gallop (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). 131  Nina Strohminger, George Newman, & Joshua Knobe, ‘Te True Self: A Psychological Concept Distinct from the Self ’, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(2017): 551–60. Tanks to Alex Barber for drawing this account to my attention. 132  Bernard Williams, ‘A Critique of Utilitarianism’ in J.  J.  C.  Smart & Bernard Williams, Utilitarianism: For and Against (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), pp. 75–150, especially §5; Bernard Williams, ‘Te Makropulos Case: Refections on the Tedium of Immortality’ in Problems of the Self (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), pp. 82–100. 133  Francisco J. Varela, Eleanor Rosch, & Evan Tompson, Te Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1991); J. G. Fichte, Introductions to the Wissenschaflehre: And Other Writings ed. and trans. Daniel Breazeale (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994); Ganeri fnds this account, which he calls ‘performativist’, in the Buddhist philosophers Nāgārjuna, Āryadeva, and Chandrakīrti—Te Concealed Art of the Soul, chapter 7; Arthur Melnick controversially fnds it in Kant—Kant’s Teory of the Self (New York: Routledge, 2009).

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Living body: the self is the whole, active body, the embodied person, displaying all its various mental and physical aspects in engagement with the world.134 True self: the self is what I really am, as distinct from my various masks, performances, and externally imposed identities. It’s what I  would embody in all of my life if I weren’t hidden, crushed, or ­undeveloped. Tis is my account of the self, I develop and defend it in the rest of this book, and I begin to investigate it in detail in §Self-­Realization.

134 Alva Noe, Action in Perception (Cambridge, MA: MIT University Press, 2004); Eric  T.  Olson, Te Human Animal: Personal Identity without Psychology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997); Naomi Quinn, ‘Te Self ’, Anthropological Teory 6(2006): 362–84.

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Taxonomies of the Self Various taxonomies of this complex landscape have been ofered, and are useful for various tasks. Jerrold Seigel describes the bodily, relational, and refective dimensions of selfood, and distinguishes accounts of the self which are one-­dimensional—which focus only on the bodily or relational or refective—from those which are multidimensional, concerned with the coexistence and interaction of these dimensions.135 Dan Zahavi distinguishes between realist and anti-­realist, and between experiential and intersubjective, accounts.136 Derek Parft distinguishes reductionist from non-­reductionist accounts:137 on a reductionist account, the self is nothing more than an ongoing organization of sub-­self parts, just as a city is nothing more than an ongoing organization of parts, none of which is individually a city. Take away the roads, buildings, people, traditions, institutions, and so on which constitute Glasgow, and there is nothing further, ‘Glasgow’, lef over. Similarly for me or you. Reductionist accounts may further tell us what sub-self parts there are: experiences, body parts, actions. A reductionist account could then be taken just as the denial of a further thing standing behind or owning or unifying those parts. For the tasks I’m interested in—to be set out in the next section— I  emphasize three taxonomic distinctions. First, I distinguish between accounts of the self suitable to be the object of self-­knowledge, and accounts of the self better suited to the alternative autobiographical purpose of self-­presentation. I will call the latter group persona accounts or just personae. Paradigm accounts of the self suitable to be the object of self-­knowledge include true self, mind, and living body. Paradigm 135 Seigel, Te Idea of the Self, chapter 1. 136  Dan Zahavi, Self and Other: Exploring Subjectivity, Empathy, and Shame (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). 137 Parft, Reasons and Persons, part 3. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0030

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Taxonomies of the Self  83 persona accounts include self-­narrative, social construction, and ­self-­interpretation. Later arguments will hinge on this distinction. Second, I distinguish between synchronic, diachronic, and timeless accounts. Synchronic accounts are accounts of the self at a time: momentary accounts which need to be supplemented with a principle of unifcation over time if they are to show selves as diachronic; or which deny that there is such a principle, and therefore deny that selves extend over time.138 Paradigm synchronic accounts of the self include consciousness and self-­consciousness. Diachronic accounts are accounts of the self as temporally extended: as stretching from an earlier to a later time, perhaps over a lifetime. Paradigm diachronic accounts include self-­interpretation, self-­narrative, and some versions of true self. Timeless accounts are accounts of the self which don’t refer to time, or which deny temporality to selves. Paradigm timeless accounts include ­non-­separateness and Platonic self. Tird, I distinguish between frst-­order and refexive accounts. First-­order accounts take the self to be some thing, activity, or process which acts, if it acts at all, on other things, activities or processes. Paradigm frst-­order accounts include consciousness, subject of experience, and true self. Refexive accounts take the self to be or involve the looping of some power onto itself: self-­reference, self-­engagement, self-­making, self-­perception. Paradigm refexive accounts include self-­consciousness, self-­interpretation, and self-­narrative.

138 Galen Strawson, Selves: An Essay in Revisionary Metaphysics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009).

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Tasks for an Account of the Self Tese various accounts of the self need not be in competition, and we don’t need to choose just one of them for all occasions. Diferent accounts of the self—diferent selves, if the diferent accounts each pick out some real thing—will be central to diferent concerns, projects, and questions. I will call these various contexts tasks. Tasks for an account of the self include: First, to be the agent and patient of self-­unifcation, that which pulls itself together as a single thing which lives the life of a person. I return to this task later in this book. Second, to be the agent and patient of self-­shaping. We could ask, what is it that is cultivated in eforts at self-­cultivation, and what is it that is transformed by such transformative experience as becoming a parent, fghting in a war, or living with chronic illness? Is it the living body, the true self, the self-­narrative? Tird, to be the locus of will and/or of consciousness. Tese needn’t go together: the conscious experience of willing may be an epiphenomenon of our causally efective, non-­conscious decision-­making processes,139 and if so we might think that the self is where the decision-­making happens rather than the subsequent conscious feeling of making that decision. A fourth task is to be the target for some no-­self view, some denial of the existence of the self: it’s important to be clear which self is argued to be non-­existent, and some particular and successful no-­self argument

139  Peter Carruthers, Te Centered Mind: What the Science of Working Memory Shows Us about the Nature of Human Tought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015); David A. Oakley & Peter W. Halligan, ‘Chasing the Rainbow: Te Non-­Conscious Nature of Being’, Frontiers in Psychology 8(2017), DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01924. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0031

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Tasks for an Account of the Self  85 might leave other selves untouched.140 If the self is understood as the subject of experience, for example, then Parft, Hume (on a metaphysical reading), and some Buddhists are no-­self theorists. Fifh, to underwrite or constitute forensic personhood. In the context of this task, to have a self or be a person is a social status in our particular kind of society, which allows making commitments like promises, contracts, and marriages; being held morally and legally responsible; and owning property. Sixth, to provide a criterion of personal identity over time, perhaps by connecting or owning disparate time-­slices or experiences or other parts, and so constituting them as a single temporally extended person. Marya Schechtman distinguishes between the last two of these tasks as answering the characterization question, as against answering the ­reidentifcation question, about selves.141 She defends two diferent accounts of the self as answers to these two diferent questions: ­living ­body for reidentifcation; self-­narrative for her main interest, characterization. Regardless of whether either of these two answers is right, there is no confict between them, because they are not rival answers to the same question. Tis is an example of a general possibility, that diferent accounts of the self are answers to diferent questions, or that diferent tasks make use of diferent selves. Recognizing this possibility dissolves some disputes about the self; I ofer one such case later. Te tasks I am interested in for an account of the self are: frst, to be that which lives a life, and therefore, second, to be that for which that life goes well or goes badly. Tird, to be the object of substantial ­self-­knowledge, that which is grasped, understood, or made sense of by someone who has met the Delphic demand: who knows herself. Tat is, to be the ­subject of a life, the subject of evaluations of that life, and the thing known by someone with self-­knowledge.

140  Tis is a generalization of Zahavi’s point in Self and Other, chapter  1, that the no-­self theorists Mira Albahari and Tomas Metzinger deny existence to a quite particular and demanding account of the self, which isn’t much like the self invoked for other, more empirical projects. 141 Schechtman, Constitution of Selves.

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86  GOOD LIVES My frst and second tasks are tightly connected. To be that which lives a life just is to be that for which that life goes well or goes badly. I don’t see how to pull these apart other than conceptually. My third task is not as tightly connected to the other two, because how and whether being the object of substantial self-­knowledge is connected to being that which lives the life, and to being the subject of life-­evaluations, depends on what account of the self one adopts for these tasks. On my self-­realization account of the self and its good life, these three have complex connections which I will consider later. For my tasks, some accounts of the self are in competition with one another. For example, true self and self as consciousness or mind will make very diferent accounts of the good life plausible. L.  W.  Sumner argues that the correct account of the good life must be a mental state account of some kind—must make whether my life goes well depend only on how I experience it—because the self is a purely mental entity.142 I will argue in what follows that this isn’t the right account of the good life, partly because it isn’t the right account of the self. Sumner’s and my accounts of the self are therefore in confict for the task we share. Given the number and variety of the accounts of the self I’ve canvassed, we might do better to give up using the term ‘self ’, or the attempt to fnd a single thing which could satisfy all of our interests in the self, or the idea that there is a single ‘problem of the self ’.143 I acknowledge that there is no prospect of fnding just one thing which could meet the various tasks discussed in this section, let alone all the other tasks one might take on in the area. But I will continue to use self as a technical but not wholly unfamiliar term, defned as naming ­whatever it is—if there is anything—which lives a life, for which that  life goes well or badly, and which is the object of substantial self-­knowledge.

142 L. W. Sumner, Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996). 143  As argued by Eric  T.  Olson, ‘Tere Is No Problem of the Self ’ in Shaun Gallagher & Jonathan Shear eds, Models of the Self (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 1999), pp. 49–61.

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Accounts of the Good Life To repeat: in this book I am especially interested in two of the fve kinds of self-­knowledge pursued in autobiographies, selfood and good life. Te second is Mill’s concern in his Autobiography. What is it for my life to go well for me, or for me to fare well, or for me to make a success of my life? Or for your life, her life, his life to go well for you, her, him? What can we therefore say in general about the good life for all of us humans? My central concern in this book is to develop an answer to these questions by reading and reasoning with autobiographies. Tis is a new method of investigation, but it isn’t a new problem: many answers have been ofered by philosophers, psychologists, and others, and we can begin to address the problem of the good life by considering them. Tis and the following two sections get clearer about our problem by paralleling the previous three sections on the self: they gather a range of possibilities (this section), consider how to divide them up (§Taxonomies of the Good Life), and distinguish diferent tasks for which we might use them (§Tasks for an Account of the Good Life). Te frst step is an unordered and ahistorical list of available accounts of the good life, which follows. As with my list of accounts of the self, this list aims to be inclusive, and I therefore include accounts which are more ofen raised using ‘well-­being’, ‘welfare’, ‘self-­interest’, or other terms, but I don’t claim to have caught every possibility.144

144  And as with my list of accounts of the self, I give indicative references for each account rather than a comprehensive bibliography. Apart from those particular works, my list draws on Ben Bradley, Well-­Being (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2015); Roger Crisp, ‘Well-­ Being’ in Edward N. Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2016 edition), https:// plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2016/entries/well-­ being/; Guy Fletcher, Te Philosophy of Well-­Being: An Introduction (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016); and Guy Fletcher ed., Te Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-­Being (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016).

Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0032

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88  GOOD LIVES Now the list: Pleasure: the good life is flled with as much pleasure (enjoyment, positive feeling, pro-­attitudes) and as little pain (sufering, negative feeling, anti-­ attitudes) as possible. Tere may then be further distinctions among the various pleasures, such that some of them—higher pleasures145 or fow states,146 for example—contribute more to the goodness of life than others.147 Life-­satisfaction: the good life is the life with which you are satisfed. It’s the life which you sincerely and without delusion judge and/or feel as worthwhile, rewarding, enjoyable, fulflling.148 Emotional condition: the good life is marked by a robustly positive ongoing emotional condition, a mood closely related to mental health, through which you are able reliably to function and cope.149 Tranquillity: the good life is calm and untroubled, a life in which nothing disturbs or decentres or unbalances you, in which you never sufer unfulflled need or desire.150 Tese frst four accounts could instead be taken as accounts of happiness, and we could separate the further hedonist claim that the happy life is the good life. So, for example, we could drop the ‘without delusion’ condition on life-­satisfaction and say that happiness is being satisfed with one’s life whatever the factual basis of that satisfaction, and that good life is authentic happiness; we could defend emotional condition as an account of happiness but advocate some other account of the good life.151 145  John Stuart Mill, Utiliarianism in Collected Works of John Stuart Mill volume X: Essays on Ethics, Religion, and Society ed. John  M.  Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press/ London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985), pp. 258–302. 146 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: Te Psychology of Optimum Experience (with a new introduction, London: Rider, 2002). 147 Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation ed. J. H. Burns & H. L. A. Hart (London: Methuen, 1970); Fred Feldman, Pleasure and the Good Life: Concerning the Nature, Varieties, and Plausibility of Hedonism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004). 148 Sumner, Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics; Richard Layard, Happiness: Lessons from a New Science (London: Allen Lane, 2005). 149 Daniel  M.  Haybron, Te Pursuit of Unhappiness: Te Elusive Psychology of Well-­Being (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). 150  Epicurus, ‘Letter to Menoeceus’ in Te Epicurus Reader: Selected Writings and Testemonia trans. Brad Inwood & L. P. Gerson (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994), pp. 28–31. 151  Tis is actually Haybron’s position in Pursuit of Unhappiness.

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Accounts of the Good Life  89 A standard objection to hedonism in all of these forms is that it says that lives can be made better by inauthentic, ugly, and immoral happiness. Te lover who is deliriously happy in her false belief that her faithless partner is devoted to her; the joyful coprophage; the sadist who enthusiastically inficts non-­consensual pain; all are living good lives according to the hedonist. Te hedonist can modify her hedonism to exclude these forms of happiness, but would do better to bite the bullet. Te fact that these lives can be criticized according to standards of truth, beauty, or morality doesn’t mean that they’re doing badly on the distinct standard of going well for the person who lives them. Criticizing the sadist, for example, doesn’t require us to say that things are going badly for her: it requires us to say that she’s despicable. Another objection is that hedonism says that lives can be made better by unwanted happiness. You could make my life go very well by addicting me to heroin and ensuring that I get my regular hit, assuming away negative side efects. Biting the bullet may be the best response here too. But another way to respond would be a hybrid account: Desire and happiness: the good life is a life where you want things, get them, and are made happy by them. Your life can go badly because of lack of the things you want, even if you are actually happy for other reasons—heroin or a placidly positive character, say—or because what you want to happen does happen but you aren’t made happy by it.152 Tis is one of a class of hybrid accounts which make the good life depend on two individually necessary and jointly sufcient conditions. See enjoying the good, below, for another. Freedom: the good life is a life of freedom. Freedom could be understood in many diferent ways here: as the absence of constraint;153 as the absence of domination;154 as being bound only by your own choices; as having a free or rational will, as opposed to being a mere wanton who is just moved by her desires;155 as capabilities, that is real

152  A version of this account is described but not endorsed by Arneson, ‘Human Flourishing versus Desire Satisfaction’, p. 126. 153 F. A. Hayek, Te Constitution of Liberty (London: Routledge, 1960). 154 Philip Pettit, Republicanism: A Teory of Freedom and Government (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997). 155 Frankfurt, Taking Ourselves Seriously.

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90  GOOD LIVES options to achieve particular ways of living.156 Te popular distinction in understandings of freedom between negative and positive liberty157 isn’t helpful here, because the second covers so many diferent ideas: freedom as ability, resource, self-­command, political voice, community membership, authenticity. Narrative: the good life is a story. To live well is to tell one’s own story, or to have the life which one tells, or to have a life with the structure of the right kind of story.158 Actual desire: you have a good life when your desires are fulflled or satisfed; when what you want to be the case is the case, although you may not know that it’s the case, or be made happy by its being the case. ‘Desire-­fulflment’ and ‘desire-­satisfaction’ therefore lend themselves to unfortunate ambiguities between something desired actually being the case and someone’s reaction to merely thinking it the case. I could feel satisfed by my son’s bravely misleading letters about how well things are going for him in a distant country, for example, without my desire that things actually go well for him being fulflled. Tis is why desire accounts are distinct from my hybrid desire and happiness account. Tis actual desire account is not widely held (except in welfare economics under the name ‘revealed preference’159) because it is not plausible, for three reasons.160 First, we sometimes want what is bad for us—another drink, efectively advertised trash, to relax this week instead of preparing for that important interview, a marriage which will turn out to be disastrous—and fail to want what is good for us—an early night, unglamorous but high-­ quality stuf, working steadily for ­long-­term goals, the difcult soulmate. Or substitute your own examples if my rather middle-­aged ones don’t resonate: the general point is the 156 Martha  C.  Nussbaum, Creating Capabilities: Te Human Development Approach (Cambridge MA: Belknap Press, 2011); Ingrid Robeyns, Wellbeing, Freedom and Social Justice: Te Capability Approach Re-­ Examined (Cambridge: Open Book, 2017); Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). 157 Isaiah Berlin, ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’ in Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. 118–72. 158 Alasdair MacIntyre, Afer Virtue: An Essay in Moral Teory (3rd edn, London: Bloomsbury, 2007). 159  See Sumner, Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics, chapter 5. 160  Although see Mark C. Murphy, ‘Te Simple Desire-­Fulfllment Teory’, Noûs 33(1999): 247–72 for a defence.

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Accounts of the Good Life  91 undeniable one that what I or you happen to want doesn’t perfectly track what it would be good for us to get. Second, for many of our desires, their being satisfed doesn’t seem to afect how well our lives go, because it doesn’t enter into our lives at all. Consider my desire for the success of a stranger, met once on a train and never heard from again, in her eccentric life project;161 or my desire for the survival and prosperity of human beings long afer I’m dead. Tird, many of our desires would change if we had more information; or if we had the conceptual and experiential resources fully to imagine their satisfaction; or if we were less confused, careless, and irrational. Tese difculties create pressure on the actual desire account to limit or to idealize the desires which count.162 Limited desire: you have a good life when some subset of your desires is satisfed. Tis subset can be defned, for example, as only those desires whose satisfaction would enter into your experience;163 or which are about states of afairs which have you as an essential part.164 Value-­realization: you have a good life when you have and actively realize your own values, as distinct from mere wants or enjoyments. Tis possibility could be taken as another form of limited desires, if values are a special kind of desire.165 Ideal desire: you have a good life when the desires which are fulflled are those which you would have if you were better informed, more consistent in reasoning, and had a more accurate and vivid imagination of what it would be like actually to have that hangover tomorrow, own and use that thing, get that job, spend your life with that person, and live your other possible lives.166 161  Tis is an elaboration of an example given by Parft, Reasons and Persons, p. 494. 162  Tis paragraph draws on Grifn, Well-­Being, chapter 1; David Sobel, ‘Full Information Accounts of Well-­Being’, Ethics 104(1994): 784–810; Sumner, Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics, chapter 5. 163  A suggestion made but not endorsed by Grifn, Well-­Being, p. 13, and embraced by Christopher Heathwood, ‘Desire Satisfactionism and Hedonism’, Philosophical Studies 128(2006): 539–63. 164  Mark Carl Overvold, ‘Self-­interest and Getting What You Want’ in Harlan B. Miller & William H. Williams eds, Te Limits of Utilitarianism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), pp. 186–94. 165 Jason Raibley, ‘Well-­ Being and the Priority of Values’, Social Teory and Practice 36(2010): 593–620; Valerie Tiberius, Te Refective Life: Living Wisely with our Limits (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). 166 Richard B. Brandt, A Teory of the Good and the Right (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979); David Gauthier, Morals by Agreement (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986); Grifn, Well-­Being.

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92  GOOD LIVES An immediate objection to this account is that what I could actually want or enjoy is very diferent from what my ideal self would: lacking his capacities, I might fnd the things he would choose unmotivating, incomprehensible, even horrible. And how can my own good be so alien to me?167 Refexive ideal desire is one way to answer this objection: you have a good life when what happens is what your ideal self—you, if you were knowledgeable, rational, accurately imaginative—would want you as you are to want in your actual state and situation. Tis will be tailored to your actual capacities, won’t necessarily be what your ideal self would want in that situation, and can therefore avoid being alienating.168 Life plan: you have a good life when you have and succeed in carrying out a rational and freely adopted plan for your life. Te rationality condition may be a purely formal constraint, requiring only consistency and temporal neutrality. Or it may also build in more substantive commitments: a requirement to take certain goods as basic in the sense that they are necessary means to carrying out any plan; limits on what counts as a plan worthy of human dignity and potential such that, for example, ‘eat a King Prawn Bhuna on every line of the London Underground’ wouldn’t count. Tis account could be treated as a version of ideal desire, but it’s worth distinguishing because of its focus on a plan for a whole life.169 Enjoying the good: you have a good life when your life is focused on states and activities which you enjoy and which are genuinely good. Your life can go badly either because you don’t enjoy it or because what you enjoy isn’t good, but its going well requires both components. Carrying out the underground curry plan could not be a good life no matter how much fun you had doing it; neither could being an excellent parent if it made you miserable.170 167  Railton, ‘Facts and Values’; Rosati, ‘Internalism and the Good for a Person’; Sobel, ‘Full Information Accounts of Well-­Being’. 168  Railton, ‘Facts and Values’. 169 Rawls, A Teory of Justice, chapter VII; Joseph Raz, Te Morality of Freedom (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986). 170  Robert Merihew Adams, Finite and Infnite Goods: A Framework for Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); Shelly Kagan, ‘Well-­being as Enjoying the Good’, Philosophical Perspectives 23(2009): 253–72. Susan Wolf, Meaning in Life and Why it Matters (Princeton:

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Accounts of the Good Life  93 Network: you have a good life when the various diferent positive features of your life—your curiosity, optimism, social support, friendliness, achievement, income, recognition, and others—form a mutually supportive and self-­maintaining system of causes.171 Attitudinal success: you have a good life to the extent that each of your attitudes succeeds according to the constitutive standards for that kind of attitude. For example, beliefs constitutively aim at truth, and are successful when they are true, so your life goes better for you, in one way, when you have true beliefs rather than false ones. Similarly, your goals constitutively aim at achievement and your evaluative attitudes at correctly valuing their objects, and make your life better by succeeding or worse by failing. 172 Single-­mindedness: you have a good life when you are immediately present in the moment without refection, doubling, self-­separation, or anxiety; when you are unselfconsciously competent in the way ­non-­human animals perhaps are in their own environments.173 Need: you have a good life when your needs are met, where needs are not merely desires or enjoyments, but things whose lack will seriously harm you.174 What exactly those things are will be a matter of debate, but plausible candidates include food, water, rest, shelter, and company, all of which seem to be demands of human biological nature. Tempting but more controversial further candidates include education, leisure, and interesting work.175 Perfectionist: you have a good life when you actualize your essential humanity; when you fully develop your latent human capacities and thereby live the life of a human being; when you fully engage in what humans do which makes them what they are. What exactly this involves Princeton University Press, 2010) presents her view as an account of meaningful life not of good life, but if my reductionism about meaning is correct, we can take it as the latter. It is in any case structurally identical to explicit enjoying the good accounts. 171 Michael A. Bishop, Te Good Life: Unifying the Philosophy and Psychology of Well-­Being (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). 172  Simon Keller, ‘Welfare as Success’, Noûs 43(2009): 656–83. 173 I will have more to say about this account in Part II, so this entry in the list is a placeholder. 174  David Wiggins, ‘Claims of Need’ in Needs, Values, Truth: Essays in the Philosophy of Value (3rd edn, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), pp. 1–57. 175 Grifn, Well-­Being, chapter  3; Garrett Tomson, Needs (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987).

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94  GOOD LIVES will again be a matter of debate. For Aristotle, the perfected human life is the life of rational inquiry, with the life of active citizenship coming second.176 For James Grifn, it is the life which includes accomplishment, agency, understanding, enjoyment, and deep personal relations.177 Other lists difer, but not radically: almost everyone thinks that the capacity for understanding is one of the things which a good human life realizes, and no one thinks that underground curry-­eating and similarly frivolous activities are.178 Self-­realization: this is my own account of the good life, which I develop and defend in the rest of this book. I describe it in §­Self-­Realization. All I’ll say here is that self-­realization is distinct from perfectionism: perfectionism says that the good life is the one in which you realize essential human potential; self-­realization says that it is the one in which you realize individual potential, at least some of which will also be common potential in the sense that other individuals’ potentials are similar. Tat is, diferent human individuals will both share common human capacities and have their own distinctive capacities which are less widely shared or not shared at all. Self-­realization for one of us will therefore be in some ways like and in other ways unlike self-­realization for others, and the good life for me may be importantly diferent from the good life for you, or her, or him. I’ll fnish this list with an exclusion: many researchers and writers in positive psychology179 refer to a eudaimonist account of the good life, but I don’t include it because it’s either a duplication or confused. For a representative example, Richard Ryan and Edward Deci assert that ‘the concept of well-­being refers to optimal psychological functioning and experience’.180 Tey then defne the eudaimonist account as being that 176 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics trans. Terence Irwin (2nd edn, Indianapolis: Hackett, 1999). I am ignoring some interpretive controversies. 177 Grifn, Well-­Being, pp. 67–8; James Grifn, Value Judgement: Improving Our Ethical Beliefs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), pp. 29–30. 178 David  O.  Brink, Perfectionism and the Common Good: Temes in the Philosophy of T. H. Green (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); Tomas Hurka, Perfectionism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993); Rosalind Hursthouse, On Virtue Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); Kraut, What is Good and Why. 179  On which see P.  Alex Linley et al., ‘Positive Psychology: Past, Present, and (Possible) Future’, Journal of Positive Psychology 1(2006): 3–16. 180  Richard M. Ryan & Edward L. Deci, ‘On Happiness and Human Potentials: A Review of Research on Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-­Being’, Annual Review of Psychology 52(2001):

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Accounts of the Good Life  95

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well-­being is ‘the actualization of human potentials’,181 which would make eudaimonism a version either of perfectionism or of ­self-­realization (depending on whether they intend essential human potentials or the varied potentials of individual humans). But this defnition contradicts their limitation to the psychological: not all ­ human potentials are psychological—think of my ability to walk—and not all actualization is consciously experienced—think of the transparency of my walking body when I’m healthy, contrasted with the intrusive experience of having difculty walking when I have arthritis. Ryan and Deci then go on to give a series of non-­equivalent defnitions of the eudaimonist account, which shif ambiguously between versions on which the good life is something to do with the actual expression of potential; something to do with feeling or judging that one is expressing potential; and something to do with a further psychological state—a sense of well-­being—produced by successful expression of potential.182 Tis account is therefore either already covered, or too muddled to be worth including.

141–66, p. 142, my emphasis. 181  Ryan & Deci, ‘On Happiness and Human Potentials’, p. 143. A similar defnition, without the confusions, is given by Valerie Tiberius & Alexandra Plakias, ‘Well-­Being’ in John Doris and the Moral Psychology Research Group eds, Te Moral Psychology Handbook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 401–31. 182  Ryan & Deci, ‘On Happiness and Human Potentials’, pp. 145–6.

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33 Taxonomies of the Good Life As with accounts of the self, there are various extant taxonomies of this range. Roger Crisp distinguishes between explanatory and enumerative accounts.183 Ben Bradley distinguishes hedonism, desires, capabilities, and pluralism.184 Guy Fletcher, as editor, distinguishes hedonism, perfectionism, desire-­ fulflment theory, objective list theories, and eudaimonism.185 Derek Parft infuentially distinguishes three main kinds of account:

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On Hedonistic Teories, what would be best for someone is what would make his life happiest. On Desire-­Fulflment Teories, what would be best for someone is what, throughout his life, would best fulfl his desires. On Objective List Teories, certain things are good or bad for us, whether or not we want to have the good things, or to avoid the bad things.186

Hedonistic theories include my pleasure, life-­satisfaction, tranquillity, and emotional condition accounts. Desire-­fulflment theories include my actual desire, limited desire, ideal desire, and refexive ideal desire accounts. Objective list theories include my need, perfectionist, and ­self-­realization accounts. Parft later adds a fourth kind, Composite Teories, which include my enjoying the good account.

183  Roger Crisp, Reasons and the Good (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 102–3. 184 Bradley, Well-­Being, chapters 2–5. 185  Fletcher ed., Te Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-­Being, chapters  9–13 and chapter 15. I still don’t see the need to include eudaimonism. As sole author, Fletcher seems to agree: his Te Philosophy of Well-­Being drops eudaimonism, and adds ‘the happiness theory’ (chapter 5) and ‘hybrid theories’ (chapter 6). 186 Parft, Reasons and Persons, p. 493. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0033

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Taxonomies of the Good Life  97 Tis taxonomy is both widely used187 and widely criticized for its exclusions and confations.188 Its main problem, though, is not the particular kinds of account it picks out or fails to pick out. Tey could be changed or added. Its main problem is the general taxonomic strategy shared by many of his critics, which takes it that each account will fall under just one kind, and that the kinds will neatly nest and exclude one another. Tis style of taxonomy fts kinds of evolved creature: members of species whose diferences derive from random genetic variation fltered by natural and sexual selection, such that a map of speciation over time will look like a tree, with a trunk diferentiating into branches which further diferentiate into twigs, and which don’t recombine (this may be a simplistic picture of actual biological speciation, but I only need it to be a contrast, not to be accurate). So, for example, refexive ideal desire will be one of the twigs on the desire branch, and attached to no other branches. Mapping the landscape that way picks out one interesting feature of this account, that it’s a desire account and therefore has at least that in common with other desire accounts. But it misses the equally interesting feature that it’s refexive, which it shares with some non-­desire accounts. Like the life-­satisfaction and narrative accounts, and unlike the pleasure and self-­realization accounts, the refexive ideal desire account makes the good life depend on some relation of oneself to oneself. We don’t need to replace Parft’s taxonomy with a frst-­order/ refexive taxonomy, but also making that distinction will sometimes be illuminating. In general, we should stop attempting to make complete and correct tree-­like taxonomies of the various accounts of the good life. Instead, we should make the distinctions among accounts of the good life which help our particular projects, not worry about organizing them into a tree

187  For example: Crisp, Reasons and the Good, chapter  4; Crisp, ‘Well-­B eing’; Grifn, Well-­Being; Tomas Hurka, ‘Value Teory’ in David Copp ed., Te Oxford Handbook of Ethical Teory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 357–79; Sumner, Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics, chapters 3–5. 188 For example: Samuel Clark, ‘Philosophical Taxonomies of Well-­ Being’ in Kathleen T. Galvin ed., Te Routledge Handbook of Well-­Being (Abingdon: Routledge, 2018), pp. 76–83; Christopher Heathwood, ‘Welfare’ in John Skorupski ed., Te Routledge Companion to Ethics (London: Routledge, 2010), pp. 645–55; Christopher Woodard, ‘Classifying Teories of Welfare’, Philosophical Studies 165(2013): 787–803.

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98  GOOD LIVES structure, and accept that they will cross-­cut, that scalar more-­or-­less rather than either/or distinctions are ofen useful, and that diferent distinctions address diferent problems. We should think of our ­taxonomies as usefully various ways of lumping, splitting, summarizing, and comparing, not as attempts to cut theory-­space at its joints. I now give some examples of potentially useful distinctions of this kind: First, the distinction I have already made between refexive and ­frst-­order accounts. Does an account make your good life depend on some relation you have to yourself or your life, or only on some feature of that life, regardless of your relation to it? Second, empirical vs normative accounts.189 Empirical accounts of the good life pick out something which we can measure, represent, compare across people and across time, and act to change. Life-­satisfaction is widely used in empirical research because it can be operationalized in surveys and because their results can guide intervention.190 Normative accounts instead ofer a goal for action, some value that we are drawn to and can organize our lives around pursuing. Life-­satisfaction is a poor attempt at the latter, because aiming directly at it is self-­defeating. To gain happiness one needs to have other goals than being happy.191 Normative accounts are worth distinguishing from empirical accounts because there is no guarantee that what seems best to aim at will be measurable or amenable to the kinds of comparisons and interventions we might want to make. I discuss this tension further in the next ­ection. Tis might push us towards revision rather than description (which I distinguish below), given our practical interests in such measurement and comparison. Tird, normative (again) vs explanatory accounts. Accounts intended to be action-­guiding can also be distinguished from accounts intended

189  I owe this distinction to Tiberius & Plakias, ‘Well-­Being’. 190  Such research ofen uses Edward Diener’s Satisfaction With Life Scale—see https://internal.psychology.illinois.edu/~ediener/SWLS.html. For popular presentations of empirical happiness research, see Layard, Happiness; Paul Dolan, Happiness by Design: Finding Pleasure and Purpose in Everyday Life (London: Penguin, 2015). Valerie Tiberius, ‘Well-­Being: Psychological Research for Philosophers’, Philosophy Compass 1(2006): 493–505 is useful on the relations between conceptions of well-­being in empirical psychology and in philosophy. 191  Tat is, it’s essentially a by-­product—see Elster, Sour Grapes, chapter 2.

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Taxonomies of the Good Life  99 to ofer explanations, rather than reasons, for behaviour. Jeremy Bentham claims that:

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Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and efects, are fastened to their throne.192

In my terms: pain and pleasure are simultaneously the standard of correct action and the explanation of actual action. Whether it makes sense to put the very same things in both roles is a further matter: how are we then to explain incorrect action? But regardless of that, these roles are conceptually distinct. Te explanatory role is also conceptually distinct from the empirical role I describe above. Tere is no guarantee that what actually explains our behaviour will be operationalizable in a survey suitable for mass distribution and statistical analysis. Tere is no guarantee that it will be measurable at all: ‘Te heart has its reasons, which reason does not know.’193 Fourth, descriptive vs revisionary accounts. Descriptive accounts leave everything unchanged, intending only to regularize and make explicit what we already thought. Revisionary accounts come as a surprise, ofering to change our lives. Tey are the ambition of much ancient philosophy, of Buddhist and other religious and spiritual traditions, and of contemporary self-­help books. All hope to reveal to you that your pursuit of a good life has been futile because misdirected. Tey aim at conversion rather than at making explicit. Any of the accounts I have listed could be presented in either of these ways, depending on the assumed background belief about the good life, but it can matter in which way a particular account is presented on a particular occasion. We might have either of two reasons for revision. Our current understanding of the good life might be unhelpful because unable to support our interests in measurement and intervention, as suggested 192 Bentham, Introduction, p. 11. 193  Blaise Pascal, Pensées (London: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1958), §277.

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100  GOOD LIVES above. Or, that understanding might be wrong: for example, Epicurus argued that we have been tricked by a corrupt culture into chasing status, wealth, and power, when all we need is a few good friends and enough to eat and drink.194 Perhaps that revelation should lead us to abandon our current lives for something very diferent. Fifh, additive vs non-­additive accounts, which assert diferent relations between the goodness of a life as a whole and the goods and bads in that life. Additive accounts take that relation to be simple addition: to weigh the whole, sum the weights of its parts. Non-­additive accounts claim that the overall temporal order, shape, or structure of the life also matters for the goodness of the whole. Tey imply that the  compositional nature of paradigmatic autobiography picks out something important about the value of the lives they investigate and present. Narrative and self-­realization are non-­additive accounts, where the various hedonistic accounts are typically additive (with the possible exception of tranquillity). Sixth, pluralist vs monist accounts. Tis is actually two related distinctions: whether there is more than one kind of good which can be instantiated in lives; and whether there is more than one kind of life which goes well. Tese come apart, for example, in the various desire accounts. Tey are monist in the frst sense: the fulflment of desire, or of a specifed subset or idealization of desire, is the only intrinsically good thing; nothing which is not the fulflment of a desire is part of a good life. But they are pluralist in the second sense: diferent individuals have widely diferent desires, so there are many diferent good lives consisting in the fulflment of those diferent desires. Te second version of the distinction is the relevant one here. It distinguishes monist accounts of the good life such as Aristotle’s version of perfectionism from pluralist accounts such as self-­realization. We might expect, fnally, a distinction between subjective and objective accounts. But this is too many distinctions rolled into one obscure and overused pair of terms. Subjective can pick out accounts on which the good life consists only in the quality of your mental states; or on which 194  Epicurus, ‘Letter to Menoeceus’; Martha  C.  Nussbaum, Te Terapy of Desire: Teory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994).

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Taxonomies of the Good Life  101

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you have fnal authority to say what the good life is for you (perhaps by defnition, as in life-­satisfaction accounts, or perhaps because your reports that your life is good or bad are in some way immune to error); or on which the good life is subject-­dependent in some other way than depending on your assertions or mental states. Objective accounts would then be those not belonging to those various sets. But the boundaries created by these diferent meanings of ‘subjective’ are diferent. Pleasure, for example, is a mental state account, but not a fnal authority account: it denies you authority to decree that a life of pleasure is not the good life for you. No matter that you despise hedonism as a view ft only for cattle, and instead want a life of self-­shaping pain, deprivation, and struggle, it asserts that you are mistaken about your self-­interest. I therefore won’t use subjective and objective, but, where I need them, will use more precise distinctions such as mental state and non-­mental state, subject-­dependent and subject-­independent. Tese various taxonomic distinctions are useful for various tasks, and I will put them to use in what follows. Tey are not the only distinctions which might be useful, and it’s an advantage of my non-­tree style of taxonomy that others are free to focus on other, equally cross-­cutting distinctions for their own purposes.

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Tasks for an Account of the Good Life It would be easy to say that, as with accounts of the self, these various accounts of the good life need not be in competition, and that we don’t need to choose just one of them for all tasks. But I think that good life is closer to being univocal than self, and therefore that there is much less room for coexistence here. One way this contrast appears is that it was natural in §Accounts of the Good Life, but not in §Accounts of the Self, to present contrasts between diferent accounts dialectically. Te ideal desire account is a reply to a criticism of the actual desire account, but the true self and self-­consciousness accounts are better understood as answers to diferent questions. Anna Alexandrova argues, in contrast, for a multivocal contextualism about good life (she uses ‘well-­being’, which I take as equivalent).195 Her Masha case shows that to ask ‘how are things?’, ‘how are you?’, or other questions apparently about the good life, expects diferent kinds of answer in diferent contexts: the good Samaritan who helps Masha up afer she falls, her close friend, and her social worker are afer diferent things in asking such questions. Te multiple uses of ‘well-­ being’, ‘welfare’, and cognates in diferent particular contexts of investigation— positive psychology, welfare economics, policy formation—raises the same problem. Alexandrova ofers three possible responses to this contextual variation: Circumscription: there is only one concept of the good life, the philosopher’s all-­ things-­ considered life-­ evaluation, and anyone who talks otherwise is making a mistake.

195 Anna Alexandrova, A Philosophy for the Science of Well-­ Being (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), chapter 1. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0034

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Tasks for an Account of the Good Life  103 Diferential realization: there is only one general concept of the good life, but claims about how well a life is going have diferent truth conditions in diferent contexts, so that it can simultaneously be true, in the good Samaritan context, that Masha is fne, and true, in the close friend context, that she isn’t. Contextualism: there are many concepts of the good life, each indexed to a particular context. Good life for philosophical debate, good life for good Samaritans, good life for social work, good life for welfare economics, and so on, are all diferent. Alexandrova then makes an argument by elimination for contextualism. I can remain neutral on the success of her arguments against circumscription and diferential realization, because these three aren’t the only options (as she acknowledges). I advocate a fourth option, many facets: in diferent contexts we are concerned with diferent aspects of a single, complex phenomenon, life’s going well for someone. Which aspect we focus on depends on the interests, relations, and powers of the people involved in that context. Which aspect we should focus on depends on that context, but also depends on the correct account of the good life and of the parties’ obligations. So, there is no good life for social work or good life for welfare economics: there are only the various aspects of a single, complex good life on which people in those contexts focus. Tey may or may not be making a mistake in doing so. Sometimes focus on one aspect of a complex thing is a good idea; sometimes a more holistic approach would be better; sometimes we would be wiser to focus on some diferent aspect. But people in diferent contexts aren’t deploying diferent, contextualized concepts. In the mouth of her social worker, ‘Masha is doing well’ means ‘Masha is doing well in those aspects of good life which are my professional responsibility.’ In the mouth of her close friend, ‘Masha is not doing well’ may not be contradicting the social worker, but not because these are two diferent ways of doing well. Rather, it’s because the friend means ‘Masha is not doing well in those aspects of good life which I care about because she’s my friend.’ Imagine that the social worker is the close friend: it would be very odd for her to say ‘Masha is doing well and Masha is not doing well’, but not odd for her to say ‘Masha is doing well in the ways I’m concerned with as her social worker, but not in the ways I’m concerned with as her

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104  GOOD LIVES friend.’ I therefore suggest that Alexandrova’s contextualism is not proved, and continue to take it that good life is univocal or close to univocal. Tasks for an account of the good include: First, to be the goal of self-­interested action and planning. We could ask, what should I aim at as intrinsically rather than instrumentally valuable in my life? At what is prudence directed? Second, to be the measure of social success. We might think that the higher the total (or average) welfare in a society, the better that society is doing. If we add a consequentialist claim about the right, then social power and organization should be directed at making society do as well as it can. Tird, to be a scale on which to compare lives, identify the better and worse of, and therefore be a currency for egalitarianism and for eforts at social justice. Fourth, to be the target for individual therapeutic intervention, and therefore the focus of research into conditions and tools which can afect it, as in positive psychology. Fifh, to be the object of one kind of substantial self-­knowledge: a partial answer to the question, what would it be to make a success of my life? Sixth, to be a master value in T.  M.  Scanlon’s sense: to be the only thing which is intrinsically valuable and always to be promoted.196 I am interested in two of these tasks: self-­interest and self-­knowledge. My project in this book is to describe and defend self-­realization as the right way to understand our own good in our own lives. Tese are not additional tasks, but another perspective on the tasks I have already taken up in §Tasks for an Account of the Self: to be that which lives a life, to be that for which that life goes well or goes badly, and to be the object of substantial self-­knowledge. I am not interested in arguing against Scanlon that good life is the master value. I claim only that it is one value amongst others which I don’t discuss here, and I remain agnostic about whether the right action 196 T.  M.  Scanlon, What We Owe to Each Other (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1998), chapter 3.

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Tasks for an Account of the Good Life  105 is always to promote value. Tis is why I don’t claim that good life is completely univocal. If someone uses ‘good life’ to mean the only and always-­to-­be-­promoted intrinsic value, then we’re talking about diferent things. But that distinction is better marked as one between diferent topics than as between competing tasks for ‘good life’. I am here concerned with one kind of good, the good life, and with neither the existence of other kinds of good (which I assume) nor the nature of the right (which I don’t know). My focus means that my account of the good life may not be convenient or tractable for other tasks. It may well be that self-­realization is hard to measure and aggregate, hard to compare across individuals, and hard to bring about reliably or in large groups of people. If good life were more multivocal, this would not be troubling. We could just say that the good life we’re interested in for purposes of therapy, justice, or improvement is distinct from the good life we’re interested in as individuals living our lives. But that can’t be right. Te reason we’re concerned about good life for those purposes is exactly that this is one central thing individuals are concerned about for themselves in their own lives, and for others they care about in their lives. Eforts which I can’t recognize as making my life better for me have failed me, not made my life better in some separate way which isn’t my self-­ interested concern. A therapist whose sessions don’t help me can’t appeal to some other sense of ‘good life’ in her defence. So, we will have to accept the possibility that what the good life actually is makes it hard to measure, compare, and control. For example, if self-­ realization is hard to control, and self-­ realization is what egalitarian justice distributes, then egalitarian justice is hard to bring about. Tat would be an argument for greater eforts, not for rejecting the self-­realization account of the good life. Summing up: these sections on thinking about the good life have paralleled the previous sections on thinking about the self. I ofered inclusive but not necessarily complete lists of extant accounts of each, partly to locate my own preferred accounts by contrast, and partly as a public service mapping of a complex landscape. I argued for a new taxonomic strategy and made distinctions for my own purposes. And I distinguished diferent tasks for which we might use the various

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106  GOOD LIVES

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accounts I identifed. I have made diferent judgements about how accounts ft into tasks for the self and for the good life. I have agreed that ‘self ’ is multivocal, and that diferent tasks may use diferent accounts of the self without confict. But I have argued that ‘good life’ is near univocal—much less multivocal than ‘self ’—and that we will therefore have to live with the consequences of the truth of the self-­realization account, and especially with the possible resulting difculty of therapy, justice, and improvement. If self-­interested concern rightly aims at self-­realization, then a utilitarian ought to think that social power and organization should be directed at increasing self-­realization impartially considered. If that is hard, then so be it. Substituting something easier to measure and cause would be a mistake. Picking up one of my taxonomic distinctions: my account of the good life is not revisionary for the ‘it’s unhelpful’ reason, because that’s a bad reason.

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Te Self and Its Good We have considered the self and the good life separately. Now it’s time to bring them together. I am interested in these topics because I am interested in what self-­knowledge we can gain by reading autobiographies, and in particular what they can teach us about what it is for someone’s life to go well for her: self-­interest. I will therefore look at the good of the self and the self which lives a good or bad life. Te tasks I took on in §Tasks for an Account of the Self and §Tasks for an Account of the Good Life are the same, seen from diferent perspectives. My arguments in what follows address both together, or go from one to the other in either direction. In a slogan: the good life is the good of a self. Something which could not live a good life is not a self. Nothing lacking a self could have a good life. And therefore anything whose life can go well or badly is a self of some kind. What exactly the good life is for some thing depends, ontologically, on what exactly it is. What we come to think some thing is depends, epistemically, on what we come to think a good life is for it.197

197  Tis paragraph is partly a statement of agreement with the general methodologies of Martha  C.  Nussbaum, Women and Human Development: Te Capabilities Approach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Parft, Reasons & Persons; Peter Railton, ‘Taste and Value’ in Roger Crisp & Brad Hooker eds, Well-­being and Morality: Essays in Honour of James Grifn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), pp. 53–74; and Sumner, Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics; and of disagreement with John Rawls, ‘Te Independence of Moral Teory’, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 48(1974): 5–22; and Susan Wolf, ‘Self-­Interest and Interest in Selves’, Ethics 96(1986): 704–20. See further Robert Stern, ‘Te Relation between Moral Teory and Metaphysics’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 92(1992): 143–59. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0035

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Self-­Realization In §Accounts of the Good Life, I noted the self-­realization account but postponed describing it until now: Self-­realization: your life goes well for you when, and in the ways that, your particular true self fourishes rather than being undeveloped or crushed or distorted. Equivalently, when, and in the ways that, your latent capacities—both those you have in common with other humans and those which are individual to you—are fully developed and expressed. Equivalently, when your life is a process of successful growth out of your individual potential into actuality. Your life goes badly for you when, and in the ways that, your common and individual capacities are crushed, distorted, or lef fallow. Tis is both an account of the self which lives a good life and an account of the good of the self. It tells us that John Stuart Mill’s life was blighted by his early oppressive upbringing in that it failed to nourish his emotional capacities, and that his later uncovering, development, and expression of those capacities—his revelation of his crushed self—made his life go ­better for him in those ways than if he had stayed undeveloped. It tells us that Doris Lessing’s task of self-­development in her early adulthood was to free herself from the mask of her defensive conventional persona so that she could fourish as a writer. It tells each of us that our lives go well for us when, and in the ways that, our own capacities are fully realized. Self-­realization as I defend it requires both the inward development and the outward expression of latent capacities: merely being able to use some capacity, but not doing so, isn’t enough. But it does not require that development and expression further be recognized by others: expression is a matter of acting, not of being seen to act.198 198  Contrast Jon Elster, ‘Self-­Realisation in Work and Politics: Te Marxist Conception of the Good Life’ in Jon Elster & Karl Ove Moene eds, Alternatives to Capitalism (Cambridge: Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0036

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Self-­R ealization 

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Te self-­realization account has historical roots in German Romantics including Goethe and Herder; in British Romantics including Wordsworth and Coleridge; in American transcendentalists including Emerson, Toreau, and Whitman;199 in Marx;200 in Nietzsche;201 in Mill;202 and in post-­Freudian psychologists including Jung, Maslow, and Fromm.203 In recent professional philosophy, Alan Gewirth and David Norton have each defended related accounts,204 and Charles Taylor has discussed a contemporary ideal of individual self-­ fulflment similar to ­self-­realization.205 In an interview late in his life, Bernard Williams suggested that the idea turns out to have been a unifying theme of his work: I suspect that there is one idea, or perhaps obsession, which does tie together a number of the things I’ve been interested in. It’s related to a phrase of Nietzsche’s about becoming what you are. One thing that has continued, in various forms, to interest me is the question of what constraints, what sorts of authority, there are over ways in which one might develop, ways in which one’s life might develop. Are those constraints somehow given internally, given by an ethical order, or given by something you already are? Although I fnd the phrase ‘self-­realization’ distasteful, and a lot of the philosophy associated with it (e.g. of a Hegelian kind) misleading, I suppose that certain ideas that philosophers try to capture by notions of self-­realization are at the basis of some of my deepest concerns.206 Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 127–58. 199 Laurence  S.  Lockridge, Te Ethics of Romanticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); Seigel, Idea of the Self, chapter 10 and chapter 13; Keith Tomas, Te Ends of Life: Roads to Fulflment in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), chapter 1. 200  As read by Elster, ‘Self-­Realisation in Work and Politics’. 201  For example Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘Schopenhauer as Educator’ in Daniel Breazeale ed., Untimely Meditations trans. R. J. Hollingdale (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 125–94; Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo: How to Become What You Are trans. Duncan Large (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). 202  As read by me in Clark, ‘Love, Poetry, and the Good Life’. 203 Lockridge, Ethics of Romanticism, pp. 120–1. 204 Alan Gewirth, Self-­Fulfllment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998). David  L.  Norton, Personal Destinies: A Philosophy of Ethical Individualism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976). 205 Charles Taylor, Te Ethics of Authenticity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991). 206 In Cogito 8(1994): 3–19, p. 4.

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110  GOOD LIVES But I am developing my own account, not committing myself to any master or tradition. As an account of the good life, self-­realization fts into my taxonomic distinctions as follows: it is frst-­order rather than refexive; normative when contrasted with empirical accounts; non-­additive; it is not a mental state or fnal authority account (and is in those senses ‘objective’), but is a subject-­dependent account. My other distinctions raise harder questions about placement. I address the complex relation between ­self-­realization’s explanatory possibilities and its normative pull when I consider some modes of self-­discovery. Whether any account, including self-­realization, is revisionary or descriptive depends on the particular context in which it is presented. My view is that taking self-­realization seriously as the good life and as a goal for action would be signifcantly revisionary—even revolutionary—for us now, for example in how we organize work and the workplace.207 But I don’t pursue that question further in this book. Finally, whether self-­realization is pluralist rather than monist about good lives (rather than about the goods in lives) depends on the empirical facts about how much human individuals vary in our capacities and therefore in what it would be good for each of us to develop and express. My hunch is that we share a core of common capacities, that we also vary quite widely as individuals, but that our variation tends to cluster around a small number of attractors: the domestic life, the regular life, the solitary life, the life of craf, and the political life. If that’s anything like right, then self-­realization will turn out moderately pluralist, but I again don’t discuss this issue further in this book. Self-­realization’s true self account of the self fts into my taxonomic distinctions as follows. First, it is not a persona account. It is most concerned to be an object of possible, difcult self-­knowledge, and only derivatively to be something presented. Second, it is diachronic rather than synchronic or timeless in emphasizing the articulation of the self over a lifetime. One’s self is the thing which develops or fails to develop or maldevelops, the thing which can develop well or badly, over the lifetime. A human life is something which happens over time, for better 207  Samuel Clark, ‘Good Work’, Journal of Applied Philosophy 34(2017): 61–73.

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Self-­R ealization 

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or worse, to a human self. Tird, it is a frst-­order rather than a refexive account: the self is there and may or may not be presented to itself as to others, rather than being created in self-­presentation. Much of the rest of this book is a positive argument for the ­self-­realization account of the self and its good life, against narrativist accounts, by reasoning with selected autobiographies. But before getting to that, I want to make an initial negative defence of self-­realization by showing that some obvious objections don’t work, and that the ­self-­ realization account is therefore at least a contender against other, more familiar accounts of the self and the good life. I divide these obvious objections into four families: ethical, metaphysical, epistemological, and experiential.

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Ethical Objections to Self-­Realization First, is self-­realization elitist, where that means that it wrongly entails that some people are better than others? I reply that we’re talking about the good life, not the comparative worth of persons: good for the person whose life it is, not a better example of a person than some other examples. Tat someone’s life is going badly is a reason for sympathy, solidarity, and help, not a reason to regard her as worth less than anyone else. Tat someone’s life is going well may be a reason to envy her, but it isn’t in itself a reason to admire or respect or look up to her: perhaps she’s just lucky. So, this objection either confates two diferent values, good life and worth, or makes an invalid inference from one evaluation, of how well someone’s life is going, to another, of what she is worth. ­Self-­realization doesn’t entail any particular account of worth, and is compatible with strongly egalitarian accounts among others. Second, is self-­realization paternalist? It entails that people can be wrong about how well their own lives are going, and one might think that this licenses objectionably paternalistic intervention in the lives of people we think are so wrong. I reply, frst, that it’s a point in favour of my account that it entails that people can be wrong about how well their own lives are going: as I go on to argue in a moment, that’s true, and any account of the good life should recognize it. My or your good life is initially opaque like the selves which live them. But, second, the proposed derivation of a licence for paternalistic intervention confuses claims about the good with claims about the right, which don’t directly follow from them. I am agnostic, for the purposes of this book, about what we may do or ought to do to promote good lives. I just have an account of what the good life is, and that account is consistent with strongly anti-­paternalist views about the right among others (and on my reading, John Stuart Mill is one example of someone who does endorse both a self-­realization account of the good life and an anti-­paternalist view Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0037

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Ethical Objections to Self-­R ealization  113 about promoting it). So, this objection again either confates two diferent values or makes an invalid inference from one evaluation to another. Tird, is self-­realization objectionably essentialist? Iris Marion Young argues that, in an unjustly hierarchical society such as ours, claims about human nature and good life will actually be disguised accounts of the dominant class’s nature and good. Tey will therefore not ft subordinated classes, and will oppress and marginalize members of those classes by marking them as incomplete or inadequate versions of the dominant norm.208 I reply, frst, that this is true as history and sociology. But it is not a necessary result of being concerned with what’s good for someone, let alone of my particular account of that value. We should certainly be wary of mistaking the partial for the universal, but thanks to Young we’re forewarned.209 I also reply, second, that I don’t need to make any claims about a human essence in the strong sense of properties that all and only humans have, and which make us what we are. We live in Darwin’s world not Aristotle’s, and we should therefore think of humans as a population of related individuals who vary across many dimensions but whose variation clusters in ways caused and revealed by our biology, history, self-­refection, and interaction. We therefore have not essential capacities but common capacities which we tend to share, as well as distinctive capacities which partially ground the ways in which we difer. Which capacities are more or less common and which less or more individually distinctive is an empirical question. Much rests on what my or your particular capacities are for my or your good life; but nothing rests, for that problem, on an essentialist conception of human nature. I therefore reject these ethical objections to the self-­ realization account. If there is something ethically wrong with it, it’s at least not these obvious possibilities.

208  Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Diference (with a new foreword, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011). 209  See further Nussbaum, Women and Human Development, chapter 2.

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Metaphysics of the Realizable Self Te next worry about the self-­realization account is that it seems metaphysically very costly. Do I really want to make the defence of my account of the good life depend on such an ambitious account of the self? I reply that my account of the self would be metaphysically too costly if I were claiming that the self is a unifed, unchanging, non-­physical thing standing behind and owning all of the particular actions, experiences, and states of some human life. But I’m not. All I am claiming is that the self is such as to be realizable in the way the ­self-­realization account of the good life requires. Tis property of realizability comprises three features: Unchosen: we experience ourselves as at least partly discovered not invented, and that’s an accurate experience, because we are not fully ­self-­making. Part of what I am, and what I have in me to become, is not up to me: it’s something I have to reveal and express rather than to choose. Initially opaque: we are not transparent to ourselves. Self-­discovery is work. It requires the right circumstances and resources over an efortful process of gradual uncovering and development. To know oneself is an achievement which takes time, trouble, and luck. Not everyone manages it to the same degree, and perhaps no one manages it completely. Seedlike: the self has innate, developmentally robust potentialities, and the right conditions can wake or germinate them, and scafold growth from latency into fourishing expression of capacity. Or circumstances can be such that the self cannot be realized but is crushed or distorted. Te self has a nature which can be expressed by nurture. Te realizable self is an unchosen, initially opaque, seedlike self, and that is all I claim about it. I can be agnostic about how exactly these properties are grounded or instantiated, and I don’t need to appeal to Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0038

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anything non-­natural or metaphysically spooky to explain them. I develop and defend these three features in the rest of this book. But that reply leaves a further objection unanswered: what are these ‘latent capacities’ or ‘potentialities’ to which I’ve appealed? Does that idea actually mean anything? I reply that our folk metaphysics, grounded in our ordinary experience of the world, allows that living things have latent capacities in the following sense: they have initially opaque natural powers and dispositions which require the right conditions to manifest over time; which can be realized in multiple ways; but which are not infnite. If you doubt this, you shouldn’t buy packets of seeds, because the idea of growing sweet peas, rather than carrots, mountains, or bicycles from those particular seeds, by caring for them in a manner which suits them, depends on that folk metaphysics of latent capacities. Further, you and I and all humans are seedlike in that way. If you doubt this, you shouldn’t have children, for the same reason. If this folk metaphysics is a problem for the self-­realization account, it’s a problem for a lot more than that. Tat reply leads on to a distinct epistemological objection.

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39 An Epistemological Objection to

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Self-­Realization But how are we to discover latent capacity? Isn’t a claimed ‘discovery’ always going to be a retrospective rationalization of whatever happened? I reply: no, this is implausibly strong. Of course, such claims as ‘I succeeded because of what was deep inside me, not because of luck’, or ‘I never had the talent’, or ‘I could have been a contender’ may be rationalizations in the sense that they don’t accurately describe the causal history of one’s success or failure, and of one’s realization or ­non-­realization of latent capacities. But they also may not be. Tey may accurately describe that history. For example: people can really be constrained and distorted by circumstance such that they can’t fully develop and express themselves, and they and we can come to know that they were. Consider Douglass’s Narrative in the context of the terrible history of American slavery. Tis is not to ignore the psychological mechanisms by which we defend our self-­esteem and motivation against debilitating truths about ourselves.210 It’s to claim that those mechanisms aren’t perfect. For Douglass’s or any other particular presentation of constraint, distortion, or expression, the burden of proof is on the sceptic to show that it is a rationalization rather than accurate. Blanket scepticism is unwarranted. Or at least, it’s not solely my job to refute blanket scepticism about the possibility of accurate causal histories. As with claims about the metaphysics of latent capacities, if causal histories of development are a problem, then they’re a problem for a lot more than the self-­realization account. 210 On which see Roy  F.  Baumeister ed., Te Self in Social Psychology (Philadelphia: Psychology Press, 1999), part 1. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0039

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I will have much more to say in Part II about our means of accurately discovering our latent capacities. All I want to say here is that discovery isn’t obviously impossible.

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40 Experiential Objections to Self-­Realization Finally, the most challenging obvious objections to self-­realization are those which propose an ‘experience requirement’211 on the good life: it must enter into the experience of the person whose good life it is. I consider two such objections. First, the good for objection:

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Te right account of the good life must be a mental state account, that is, one on which it depends at least partly on the quality of subjective experience, because the good for someone must be a good which is understood or perceived as good by her, or it isn’t good for her.

I reply that this argument equivocates between two diferent ways of relativizing ‘good’: good for, and understood or perceived as good by. Tese are not the same. Some things—the apple tree in my back garden, for example—are such that nothing is understood or perceived as good by them, because they lack the relevant capacities of understanding and perception. But there are still goods and bads for such things: sunlight is good for the apple tree and fre bad for it. Its life can go well or badly for it, even though it can’t understand or perceive that it is going well or badly. Te ‘for it’ in ‘good for it’ indicates that the subject of these goods and bads is that tree and not anything else. It doesn’t imply any ­self-­knowledge or other refexive grasp on the tree’s part. Of course, humans aren’t apple trees. We do have refexive capacities of understanding and perception, and it is important that we do. But the self-­realization account can explain why it is important that we do: for 211 Grifn, Well-­Being, p. 13. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0040

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humans, and not for apple trees, some kinds of self-­knowledge are common latent capacities, and realizing them includes knowing how well my life is going or has gone. It’s the development and expression of that capacity for self-­knowledge which is good for me, not the experience of consciously knowing myself. My life would go badly for me if I could never know myself, but it doesn’t go better for me the more time I spend consciously refecting on myself (call this the Narcissus argument). Te good for objection is getting at a further important point: to be the good life—that is, to be the life which is good for the person who lives it, not some other value—our account of the good life will have to be in some way subject-­dependent, and in that sense, not the mental state sense, ‘subjective’. But being subject-­ dependent doesn’t entail depending on mental states unless the subject of a life is purely a mental entity. And that claim, which I will go on to argue against, is at the very least not obvious. I will call the second experiential objection the miserable self-realization objection. It’s an attempt at an informal reductio: Doesn’t the self-­ realization account commit you to the view that a  completely miserable life—a life of deep, chronic, relentless ­unhappiness—could be a good life, just so long as the miserable ­person has developed and expressed her latent capacities? And isn’t that obviously absurd?

I reply that it is, but that I’m not committed to that absurd consequence. Te important point in this objection is that happiness is a necessary part of the good life. I agree. But the self-­realization account can explain why that point is correct. Happiness is various, and each of the extant philosophical accounts of happiness picks out a diferent, common human capacity or cluster of capacities which plausibly need to be realized in a good life. Te miserable person must not have developed, or must not be expressing, these capacities. Happiness understood as pleasure picks out beneceptive capacities: to enjoy and sufer fttingly is to deploy a capacity for detecting and engaging with certain signifcant, value-­laden features of the world and of one’s life in it.

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120  GOOD LIVES Happiness understood as life-­satisfaction picks out the positive exercise of a kind of self-­evaluation—self-­enjoyment or self-­assessment (depending on how cognitively we’re supposed to take ‘satisfaction’—is it a feeling or a judgement?). Happiness understood as an emotional condition picks out a cluster of capacities involved in being able to cope, to operate and maintain oneself in the world. Happiness understood as tranquillity picks out a kind of resilient self-­control. Tese are all important common capacities of humans. If the miserable person had realized and was using these capacities—that is, if she really was fully self-­ realized—she would not be so completely miserable. We can make this point more vivid by noting the existence of depression—malignant sadness212 which is self-­ maintaining and unresponsive to one’s actual conditions of life—and understanding it as a way in which human capacities for pleasure, self-­ enjoyment, ­self-­maintenance, and self-­control go wrong. Someone who is unable to feel grief at her father’s death or delight at her daughter’s birth has undeveloped or maldeveloped or malfunctioning capacities for grief or delight, and her life is in that way going badly for her. Te objector can respond: what about someone whose circumstances are so terrible that, although she has developed the capacities for happiness, they are inactive, and fttingly so? She is not depressed in the malignant sadness sense. Her misery is an accurate response to her experienced world. I reply: the self-­realization account of well-­being requires expression as well as development of one’s capacities. Te accurately miserable person does not have a good life in that, thanks to her circumstances, she cannot express central human capacities for pleasure, s­ elf-­enjoyment, self-­maintenance, and self-­control. And that’s the right result, in two ways: a life of unrelenting misery obviously isn’t a good life; and whether or not we humans have good lives isn’t wholly up to us, but depends on our circumstances. 212 Lewis Wolpert, Malignant Sadness: Te Anatomy of Depression (London: Faber and Faber, 1999).

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Experiential Objections to Self-­R ealization   121 Te objector can then further respond: isn’t there a parallel argument for capacities for unhappiness, such that the accurately miserable person’s life is going well in that those capacities are developed and expressed? It’s ftting for her to be miserable, she is miserable, and therefore her life is good in that way. And isn’t that absurd? I reply that we again need to be more specifc about the various capacities that ‘happiness’ picks out, and therefore about what capacities for unhappiness there could be, and reply separately. For happiness understood as pleasure, unhappiness is pain. In this case, I reply: yes, there is a common latent capacity for feeling pain. Someone’s life is going well for her in that way when that nociceptive capacity is developed and expressed. Someone’s life is going badly for her in that way when her capacity for feeling pain is undeveloped (for example, she feels pain insufciently for the purpose of motivating her to avoid and withdraw from damaging situations), or maldeveloped (for example, she feels pain randomly or inappropriately), or malfunctioning (for example, she doesn’t directly perceive damage to her own body, as happens in Hansen’s disease), or just never used (for example, she is swaddled and protected at all times). Tis is really just to reiterate that my account of the good life is not a form of hedonism, and that I therefore don’t think that all pain is intrinsically bad for the suferer, even though it obviously is unpleasant, and even though for good evolutionary reasons we are naturally motivated to avoid it. Neither unpleasantness nor aversive motivation are badness for humans: unpleasantness is one kind of perception of badness for, and the motivation it provides is a useful tool for surviving an unfriendly world. Some pain and the capacity to feel pain are good for us, just as some other things that we’re naturally averse to are good for us, from refusing a second slice of cake to owning up to our mistakes. For happiness understood as life-­satisfaction, unhappiness is ­life-­dissatisfaction: feeling or judging that your life is not going well. In this case, I reply that the common latent capacity here is a capacity for self-­assessment which needs to be realized for one’s life to be going well in that way. Tis capacity is developed and expressed when it is functioning well, and therefore when one is able to make ftting ­self-­assessments, including negative self-­assessments. Tat is: on my

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122  GOOD LIVES view, accurate self-­ assessment is part of the good life, but positive ­self-­assessment isn’t as such. And again I think that self-­realization gives the right result here: it would be an example of a pathology, not of a good life, always to feel or judge that one’s life was going well regardless of what was actually happening in it. For happiness understood as an emotional condition, unhappiness isn’t the development of any capacity opposing the capacities for being able to operate and maintain oneself in the world. Tere are no distinct capacities for not being able to operate and maintain oneself. So I reply that there’s no case to answer here. And I make the same reply for happiness understood as tranquillity: there is no capacity for lack of resilient self-­control, and no case to answer here either. In general, my strategy against experiential objections to the ­self-­realization account of the good life is capacitizing: I show that the important point caught by appeals to intrinsically good and bad experience can be explained by the self-­realization account as the development and expression of some common human capacity. For the  good for objection: human capacities for self-­ knowledge. For the miserable ­self-­realization objection: human capacities for pleasure, pain, accurate self-­assessment, self-­maintenance, and self-­control. It’s worth distinguishing my view from the Aristotelian view that happiness is the icing on the cake of excellent activity, that it naturally caps the apt exercise of fully developed capacities. In contrast, I am not saying that happiness is a normal product of expressing one’s developed capacities. I am saying that ‘happiness’ is actually ambiguous between several distinct and particular capacities which are among those which humans commonly need to realize, alongside many other capacities, if we are to have good lives. Summing up: my aim in these sections was an initial negative defence of the self-­realization account of the good life. I have stated various obvious objections to it, grouped together as ethical, metaphysical, epistemological, and experiential, and I’ve ofered frst replies. Tese are not fnal refutations of these objections, but—I hope—enough response to show that the self-­realization account is at least a contender alongside better known accounts. Along the way, I have introduced the general capacitizing strategy for responding to experiential objections.

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41 Routemap 3

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From Part I to Part II

I began with a list of questions arising from the claim that reading autobiography is a way to self-­knowledge, and this part has addressed some of them. My answers so far, in summary: What is an autobiography? It’s a narrative textual artefact in a genre whose paradigmatic form is particular diachronic compositional ­self-­refection. Te many non-­paradigmatic autobiographies can be identifed as autobiographies, or as more or less autobiographical, by their sharing these features to some degree. How can we learn about ourselves from reading one? According to my rationalism about autobiography, it is a distinctive kind of reasoning about human life enabled by its formal features, and we learn from it by engaging with that reasoning as fellow reasoners. About what subjects does autobiography teach? Tere is no necessary limit to what subjects a particular autobiography might address. But historically, and for good reasons to do with its paradigmatic form, autobiography has been concerned with problems of selfinvestigation and self-­presentation. Within the concern for self-­investigation, autobiographers have been especially interested in fve kinds of ­self-­knowledge: explanation, justifcation, self-­enjoyment, selfood, and the good life. Despite appearances, meaning is not a distinct sixth kind of self-­knowledge. In Part I, I have worked from the point of view of the autobiographer, and asked what she does, what she aims at, and how she achieves her efects. In Part II, I will work from the point of view of the reader of autobiography, and consider what she should take from her reading. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0041

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124  GOOD LIVES

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My next question, which I answer in Part II, is therefore: what should we learn from autobiography? Potentially, many things: we might learn something, for just one example, about which personality types thrive in extreme conditions.213 But the lesson I’m going to focus on is about ­­selfood and the good life, and, more specifcally, about the roles of ­narrative and of self-­realization in those targets of human s­ elf-­knowledge. Tis investigation will address my remaining questions: given that autobiographies are narratives, should we learn something about the importance of narrative in human life? Could our narration of our lives explain how their parts relate to them as wholes? Could it retrospectively unify them and thereby make them good for us? Could it create ­self-­knowledge by making the self? My answers to these questions will be: no. Te lesson we should learn here is instead about the centrality of self-­realization to our problems with selfood and the good life.

213 Jane Mocellin & Peter Suedfeld, ‘Voices From the Ice: Diaries of Polar Explorers’, Environment and Behavior 23(1991): 704–22; Peter Nichols, A Voyage for Madmen (London: Profle, 2001).

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PA RT II

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42 Narrativist Views

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Te idea of self-­narration is a tempting way to understand and address the Delphic demand for self-­knowledge in general, and our concerns about selfood and the good life in particular. It has been developed in various ways by philosophers including Alasdair MacIntyre, Marya Schechtman, Charles Taylor, Connie Rosati, Anthony Rudd, Andrea Westlund, Anthony Paul Kerby, David Velleman, Catriona Mackenzie, Diana Tietjens Meyers, and Peter Goldie,1 and by psychologists including Mark Freeman, Charlotte Linde, Dan McAdams, and Jerome Bruner.2 Tese thinkers make large, ambitious, sometimes obscure claims for the powers of narrative. Call such views narrativist and examples of narrativism, and their proponents narrativists.3 Tis is a broad category, containing a varied collection of views.4 But a rough initial account of narrativism is: 1 MacIntyre, Afer Virtue; Schechtman, Constitution of Selves; Taylor, Sources of the Self; Connie Rosati, ‘Te Story of a Life’, Social Philosophy and Policy 30(2013): 21–50; Anthony Rudd, Self, Value, and Narrative: A Kierkegaardian approach (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); Andrea Westlund, ‘Narrative Necessity and the Fixity of Meaning in a Life’, Narrative Inquiry 21(2011): 391–8; Anthony Paul Kerby, Narrative and the Self (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991); J. David Velleman, ‘Te Self as Narrator’ in Self to Self: Selected Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2006), pp. 203–23; J. David Velleman, How We Get Along (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009); Catriona Mackenzie, ‘Embodied Agents, Narrative Selves’, Philosophical Explorations 17(2014): 154–71; Diana Tietjens Meyers, ‘Corporeal Selfood, Self-­Interpretation, and Narrative Selfood’, Philosophical Explorations 17(2014): 141–53; Goldie, Te Mess Inside. I intend this as an indicative bibliography, not as a comprehensive list. I engage with many of these writers and texts in what follows. 2 Freeman, Rewriting the Self; Charlotte Linde, Life Stories: Te Creation of Coherence (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993); Dan P. McAdams, Te Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self (New York: William Morrow, 1993); Dan P. McAdams, Ruthellen Josselson, & Amia Lieblich, editors’ introduction to Identity and Story: Creating Self in Narrative (Washington: American Psychological Association, 2006): 3–11; Jerome Bruner, ‘Life as Narrative’, Social Research 71(2004): 691–710; Jerome Bruner, Acts of Meaning (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990). Tis is an even less comprehensive list. 3  I take these terms from Galen Strawson, ‘Against Narrativity’ in Real Materialism and Other Essays (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2008), pp. 189–207. 4  For one example of the variety of concerns which can come under the idea of narrative, the Narrative Enquiry for Social Transformation research network (NEST) describes itself as Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0042

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A human life or self or person is in some sense a narrative, or something performed or achieved by narration; living well is successful self-­narration, or is something performed or achieved by successful self-­narration; non-­narrative or un-­narrated lives are threatened by failure, disintegration, self-­alienation, lack of self-­knowledge, or lack of self-­command.

Narrativist views have their attractions. Tey recognize the refexivity and temporality of humans and of our lives: we turn our powers on ourselves in a variety of ways, and our lives extend over time. Tey seem to ofer unity over time against the disintegrative consequences of Humean and Lockean views of the self and of personal identity. Tey potentially take people’s own autobiographical reports of their lives, selves, and goods seriously. I agree with the narrativists that humans are storytelling animals, amongst all the other things we also are: child-­rearing, tool-­using, animal- and plant-­domesticating, ritual-­inventing and -performing, art-­making, institution-­building animals. And I agree that our storytelling plays various important roles in our lives. But I intend a critique, in the Kantian sense, of self-­narrative: I aim to fnd its proper limits. In particular, I will argue that self-­narrative does not have a central role in selfood or in the good life. Te idea that I put in self-­narration’s place in those contexts is self-­realization. My experience is that the immediate reply to this plan is ofen ‘that’s a nice story you’re telling!’ But this isn’t much of a response. In the frst place, what you’ve just read is of course a telling, a thing said or written; but that doesn’t make it a paradigmatic narrative, which is a generic telling of a connected temporal sequence of particular actions taken by, ‘informed by the principle that narrative is one of the defning features of what it means to be human. Personal and collective senses of self, experience, desires, fears and hopes are developed in and through narrative meaning-­making, providing recognition and validation, and deepening our sense of human dignity across lines of diference and existence. Te transformative possibilities of narrative lie in the ways in which it enables people to: give coherence to their lives and the world around them; develop forms of critical consciousness and thinking; imagine possible alternative social realities and futures; and, ultimately, not only to read themselves and their place in the world but also to be read by others’ (call for papers circulated on the International Auto/Biography Association’s email list, 4 August 2017. See further https:// sites.google.com/ualberta.ca/iaba/home).

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Narrativist Views  129 and particular events which happen to, agents. We could choose to call all tellings—everything anyone says or writes, including prospective reports of philosophical arguments—narratives, but that would be to use ‘narrative’ in a sense so etiolated as to lack force or point. In the second place, even if what I’ve just written is in some minimal sense a narrative, that doesn’t tell us anything about the nature of what it’s about. Narratives are about their contents, which need not themselves be narratives. Even if I have just told a story about child-­rearing animals, Kantian critique, and self-­realization, that doesn’t show that any of the subjects of my story are themselves stories. My plan is to distinguish three versions of the tempting narrativist idea, and ultimately to reject all of them in favour of self-­realization, by reasoning with selected autobiographies. I address the following narrativist views: narrative non-­additivity; narrative self-­unifcation; and narrative self-­interpretation as the self (I describe them briefy in the next section and more fully in the relevant sections). Tis trio of ideal types is my way of picking out some interesting things various narrativists argue, and, more importantly, things we might hope that self-­narration could do for us. It’s not an encyclopaedic sociological or textual taxonomy of the putative uses of narrative. It doesn’t include, for example, the claim that frst-­personal experience of time is narratively structured,5 or the claim that telling our life-­stories is therapeutic.6 I choose these three tempting narrativist ideas for their interest in articulating what autobiographies might teach us about the role of narrative in selfood and good life, and for their usefulness in helping me to explain the reasons for my alternative self-­realization view of the self and its good.

5  David Carr, Time, Narrative, and History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986); Genevieve Lloyd, Being in Time: Selves and Narrators in Philosophy and Literature (London: Routledge, 1993). 6 Arthur  W.  Frank, Te Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics (2nd edn, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013); Timothy D. Wilson, Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By (London: Penguin, 2001). I hope to address this issue in other work.

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43 Routemap 4 Te Dialectic between Narrative and Self-­Realization

My critique of self-­ narrative and defence of self-­ realization is an ­engagement with three narrativist views over the rest of this book. Te dialectic goes as follows:

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Te frst narrativist view, narrative non-­additivity, is that how well a life goes is not a mere sum of the values of its constituent occasions, but a function of the narrative structure of the whole life. I argue against it that how well a life goes is indeed non-­additive, but that the structure which does the work here is self-­realization rather than any narrative.

Te second narrativist view, narrative self-­unifcation, is that to be a good life, or even a life at all, the life must be actively brought together into a whole by the person whose life it is, by their autobiographical narration. I argue against it that autobiography can show lives as deeply and unproblematically disunifed over time, and that one important kind of disunity is transformative self-­realization. I then raise a narrativist objection to the whole line of my argument: the self is not an object ‘out there’ or ‘in here’ to be discovered. Rather, and this is the third narrativist view, the self is a self-­interpretation. I argue against it, frst, that some versions of this objection confate the self, the object of self-­investigation, with a persona, a kind of self-­presentation. But this will not satisfy all narrativists. I therefore argue, second, for pluralist realism about self-­knowledge: the various methods of self-­discovery described in autobiographies show that the ‘self ’ which is created and Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0043

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ROUTEMAP 4: NARRATIVE AND SELF-REALIZATION  131

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known by self-­interpretation is, at best, one part of what we can know about ourselves, and not the most interesting part. Tese modes of self-­discovery reveal a self that is unchosen, initially opaque to itself, and seedlike, which could not be a self-­interpretation, and whose good is its realization.

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Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs My arguments against the frst two narrativist views will make considerable use of one particular autobiography, Siegfried Sassoon’s Te Complete Memoirs of George Sherston. We have already encountered Sassoon when I argued for rationalism about autobiography in Part I, but I now introduce the Memoirs and their author in more detail. Siegfried Sassoon was born in 1886 into materially comfortable but socially uneasy circumstances: his mother Teresa was from the artistic, socialist, but impeccably establishment Tornycrof family; his father Alfred was a younger son of the Jewish banking and trading dynasty founded in the early nineteenth century, in Baghdad, by Siegfried’s great-­grandfather David Sassoon. Siegfried’s parents separated in 1890, and Alfred died of tuberculosis in 1895. Sassoon moved in aristocratic and artistic circles, but was always aware—and sometimes complicit in—their currents of anti-­Semitism, homophobia, and snobbery about people who had made their money in trade. He was doubled, self-­conscious, and partly alien, and he most admired people he saw as single, straightforward, and fully at home. Sassoon is now remembered as one of the soldier-­poets—alongside Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, Isaac Rosenberg, Edmund Blunden, Edward Tomas7—who helped to defne our default understanding of the First World War: lions led by donkeys, mud and blood at the Somme, walking in disciplined ranks into machine-­gun fre, the absurd death of Edwardian England.8 7  Tim Kendall ed., Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013) is one of many collections of their and others’ work. Teir autobiographies, apart from Sassoon’s, include Graves’s Goodbye to All Tat and Edmund Blunden’s Undertones of War (London: Penguin, 2000). 8  Anyone who knows Blackadder Goes Forth or Oh! What a Lovely War knows this default. On the cultural history of describing and remembering the war, see Geert Buelens, Everything to Nothing: Te Poetry of the Great War, Revolution and the Transformation of Europe trans. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0044

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Siegfried Sassoon ’ s Memoirs  133

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But—unlike Owen, Rosenberg, or Tomas—Sassoon had a long post-­war life as a public fgure, a poet, and an autobiographer. Tat last role is my interest here: I focus on Sassoon’s Memoirs of a Fox-­Hunting Man (frst published in 1928), Memoirs of an Infantry Ofcer (frst published in 1930), and Sherston’s Progress (frst published in 1936). Tis slightly fctionalized autobiographical trilogy is Sassoon’s defnitive dramatization of a self-­interpretation common to many soldiers: from innocence to experience via war’s baptism of fre. In Sassoon’s telling: from a pre-­war idyll of private income, golf and village cricket, horse-­riding in hunts and steeplechases, intense friendships with other young men, and privately printed editions of his sentimental and old-­fashioned verse; to the adventure, misery, comradeship, and loss of the trenches, his lightly-­touched-­on heroism (he won a Military Cross), his equivocal revolt against the war, and the publication and fame of such brutal satirical poems as ‘Te General’, ‘To Any Dead Ofcer’, and ‘Survivors’.9 And, through that experience, to a transformed adult selfood which looks back on pre-­war innocence as another life, lived by someone else.

David McKay (London: Verso, 2015); Fussell, Te Great War and Modern Memory; Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: Te Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). For argument that this picture of the war is largely wrong, see Gary Shefeld, Forgotten Victory: Te First World War: Myths and Realities (London: Headline, 2001). 9  In Siegfried Sassoon, Collected Poems: 1908–1956 (2nd edn, London: Faber and Faber, 1984), p. 69; pp. 77–8; p. 83.

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Te Shape of a Life Te frst narrativist view is narrative non-­additivity. Te question at stake between additive and non-­additive accounts of the good life is: what is the relation between the goodness of occasions in a human life and the goodness of the whole temporally extended life? ‘Is the good life just a string of good years?’10 I agree with the narrativists that the answer to this question is ‘no’: the temporal shape of a life matters as well as its occasional contents. But why think that? Here are three initial arguments: First, my version of a popular thought experiment. Consider two lives: Siegfried Sassoon’s life of innocence transformed into experience; and his counterpart Sassoon Siegfried’s life, which is a disordered ‘sprawl of incidents’,11 one damn thing afer another, with no overall shape or organization or structure. Assume that these two lives instantiate the exact same set of occasional goods and bads: that the only diference between them is the order in time of those occasions.12 Tis is an intuition pump for the thought that we should evaluate these lives diferently as wholes, just because of their ‘shape’ in time. We might judge that Siegfried Sassoon’s life goes better overall than Sassoon Siegfried’s, but nothing I say here depends on that particular evaluation. Te claim I need is only that lives can be other than equally good even though they contain all and only the same occasional values. Many uses

10  J. David Velleman, ‘Well-­Being and Time’ in Te Possibility of Practical Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 56–84, p. 57. 11 Lessing, Under My Skin, p. 202. 12 Compare Johan Brännmark, ‘Good Lives: Parts and Wholes’, American Philosophical Quarterly 38(2001): 221–31; Dale Dorsey, ‘Te Signifcance of a Life’s Shape’, Ethics 125(2015): 303–30; Feldman, Pleasure and the Good Life, chapter  6; John O’Neill, ‘Happiness and the Good Life’, Environmental Values 17(2008): 125–44; Slote, Goods and Virtues, pp. 23–4; Velleman, ‘Well-­Being and Time’. I borrow my Siegfried Sassoon/Sassoon Siegfried conceit from O’Neill, whose version of two lives contrasts Orson Welles with Welles Orson. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0045

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The Shape of a Life  135 of two lives—for example Dale Dorsey’s and Fred Feldman’s—confate an intuitive example of non-­additivity, the diference between a good ‘uphill’ improving life and a bad ‘downhill’ worsening life, with the fundamental claim about the non-­additive relation between parts and wholes. But I have no brief here to rank-­order particular real or imaginary lives. My concern is the meta-­level problem of explaining the relevance of temporal shape. Te conclusion we are invited to draw from two lives is that the goodness of a whole life is not equal to the sum of its occasional goods and bads. In evaluation of whole-­life goodness, occasions are not prior, either because the whole is prior and occasions only have a value in that context,13 or because they are distinct kinds of evaluation with no relation of priority either way.14 Second, an argument from obituaries, which typically attempt some judgement of the overall success of the life they memorialize, and make that judgement non-­additively. No one writes obituaries by cost–beneft analysis: they write to evaluate the life as a whole, on some criterion, and they write assuming that shape matters in itself. For just one example, the obituary of Syd Barrett in Te Economist makes much of his disastrous fall: ‘in 1968 a Pan-­fgure piping liberation, in the 1990s a tired, grey man spotted in a supermarket’.15 It matters that the grey man had once been Pan, and another life in which the grey man developed into Pan would be evaluated diferently. Tird, a frst-­ personal version of the obituary argument in autobiography. Autobiographers, as I have already shown, are ofen deeply concerned with how well their own lives have gone. But again, no one addresses that question additively: the autobiographer tries to make sense of her life and its success or failure as a whole so far. Tat is, and again as I have already shown, the autobiographical genre is

13  Tis is not exactly Alasdair MacIntyre’s view, since he is concerned with the priority over individual actions of the temporally extended activities and practices of which they are part, not directly with occasional and whole-­life goods (Afer Virtue, chapter  15). But the priority version of non-­additivity is at least MacIntyrean. 14  Tis is Velleman’s view. 15  Anonymous, ‘Syd Barrett’ in Keith Colquhoun & Anne Rowe, Te Economist Book of Obituaries (London: Profle Books, 2008), pp. 22–3, p. 23.

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136  GOOD LIVES

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paradigmatically compositional. Te compositionality of autobiography implies the non-­additivity of whole-­life goodness. None of these arguments is conclusive. Maybe paradigmatic obituaries and autobiographies embody a fundamental mistake about the evalu­ ation of lives; maybe the intuition elicited by two lives is confused or misapplied. But the burden of proof is on the additive theorist to show it, against the immediate phenomenon that we do typically think that the shape of a life in time matters for how well it went. Suppose, then, that some non-­additive view is true: the shape of a life does matter, in some way, for how well it goes. Te question then is, why does it? What explains this fact that the shape of a life makes a diference to how well it goes for the person whose life it is?

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46 Narrative Non-­additivity One popular answer to this question is narrative. Shape matters because how good a person’s life is depends in some way on its being a story and/ or on what kind of story it is. Velleman, for example, says that: Intuitively speaking, the reason why well-­being isn’t additive is that how a person is faring at a particular moment is a temporally local matter, whereas the welfare value of a period in his life depends on the global features of that period. More specifcally, the value of an extended period depends on the overall order or structure of events— on what might be called their narrative or dramatic relations.16

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Velleman then elaborates these relations as events ‘lending and borrowing diferent meanings in exchange with preceding events’.17 John O’Neill, similarly, moves directly from his version of two lives to an appeal to narrative: Te life of Welles Orson goes better than that of Orson Welles. Tis is true even if all the good moments in the life of Orson Welles are equally as pleasurable as all the good moments in that of Welles Orson and all bad moments are equally as bad so that the total hedonic value is identical. It does so in virtue of the narrative structure of the life.18

Tis answer has its attractions: it is tempting to say that what makes the diference between my two lives is that Siegfried Sassoon’s life has a plot, a coherent and satisfying narrative arc held together by connections like causation, foreshadowing, and ironic contrast. Sassoon Siegfried’s life 16  Velleman, ‘Well-­Being and Time’, p. 58. 17  Velleman, ‘Well-­Being and Time’, p. 64. 18  O’Neill, ‘Happiness and the Good Life’, p. 136. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0046

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138  GOOD LIVES lacks that. Te events in Siegfried Sassoon’s life make mutual sense of one another, where Sassoon Siegfried’s life is ‘a sort of Humean froth, a meaningless futtering on the surface of life’.19 Despite these attractions, I think the narrative answer is a mistake. My plan against it is in two parts: I use my earlier account of narrative to make the space to display some possible non-narrative explanations of the importance of shape, and then I argue against the narrative explanation, and for an alternative explanation by self-­realization. A reminder: a narrative is a generic telling of a connected temporal sequence of particular actions taken by, and particular events which happen to, agents. ‘Narrative’ is a radial category, with this as its central case and many examples which don’t exemplify all of its elements. Narrativity is a matter of degree rather than all-­or-­nothing. With this account of narrative in hand, we can say that the most strongly narrative explanation of non-­additivity is that temporal shape matters because lives are, or can be, generic tellings of a connected temporal sequence of particular actions taken by, and particular events which happen to, agents—and especially the agent whose life we are talking about. Siegfried Sassoon’s life has a diferent overall goodness from Sassoon Siegfried’s because they are diferent stories (even though both stories consist in an ordering of the same occasions); or perhaps because Sassoon Siegfried’s life, in its incoherence, fails to be a story at all by failing to be a connected temporal sequence of actions and events.

19  Sacks, ‘Te Lost Mariner’, p. 37.

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47 Non-­narrative Explanations

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of Non-­additivity Narrative accounts of non-­additivity too frequently move directly from an argument that shape matters to the further claim that narrative explains why it matters, as if that were the only possible explanation, or even as if shape were equivalent to narrative. We have been specifc about what a narrative is, and therefore about what a narrative explanation for non-­additivity would need to be. So we can now see, frst, the space for four alternative possibilities which I canvass below; and, second, the argumentative gap between shape and narrative explanations of that shape. I don’t mean to claim that these alternatives are all of the possibilities, just that they are not narrative explanations, but could explain non-­additivity. First, a way of explaining away non-­additivity: taking pleasure. Fred Feldman argues that it is just a special case of his attitudinal hedonist account of the good life. Attitudinal pleasure is the propositional attitude of taking pleasure in, enjoying, or being pleased by some state of afairs, analogous to hoping for or fearing that state of afairs. It is distinct from sensory pleasure, which is just whatever sensations someone takes pleasure in (this neutralizes the argument that there is no common phenomenology to our various sensory and other pleasures). Attitudinal hedonism is then the view that the good life is the life of attitudinal pleasure.20 Te shape of a life then makes a diference to how well that life goes only when the person whose life it is takes pleasure in that shape.21 If she doesn’t—if she is unaware of her life’s shape because she is caught up in the quotidian, for example—then that shape makes no 20 Feldman, Pleasure and the Good Life, chapter 4. 21 Feldman, Pleasure and the Good Life, chapter 6. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0047

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140  GOOD LIVES diference to how well her life goes for her. It may of course please us, the people who do notice, but that is to our good not hers. Tis is one of Feldman’s repeated moves: to argue that the appearance of nonhedonistic value is caused by our illegitimate projection of ourselves and our own attitudes into the thought experiment. Te attitude of taking pleasure in, like narrative telling, is about something: it is directed towards content to which it refers. But it is obviously not a narrative or a narration. Second, artefactual but non-­narrative shape. For example, we can imagine a life with a musical shape, structured by non-­causal relations like harmony, contrast, balance, theme and recapitulation, tension and resolution. A life so shaped could be a performance (if it was so shaped on purpose) but not a narrative, because music isn’t about anything: it isn’t directed towards content to which it refers, and it is therefore not a telling. More precisely: music can be about something, but need not be— compare the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, which is about a thunderstorm, with his Tirteenth String Quartet, which has no programmatic content. Or compare the Stan Tracey Quartet’s Under Milk Wood, which is about Llareggub (or perhaps about Dylan Tomas’s poem) with Miles Davis’s In a Silent Way. I fnd it harder to think of similarly contrasting pieces of rock or pop music, which may suggest that these kinds of music are distinctive in having this kind of content. Tird, time of life preference. Tis is Michael Slote’s view against John Rawls, Tomas Nagel, and others who claim that it is a demand of practical rationality that I maximize my good over my whole life without time-­preference.22 For example, it would be irrational to avoid a small pain tomorrow by accepting a larger pain next year, or to prefer one chocolate now to two in ffeen minutes, bracketing uncertainty. Slote argues against this that it is practically rational to prefer goods occurring in the ‘prime of life’ over even much larger goods in childhood or old age.23 Tis is an appeal to the culturally mediated biological structure

22  Tomas Nagel, Te Possibility of Altruism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979); Rawls, A Teory of Justice, part III. See further Parft, Reasons and Persons, part II. 23 Slote, Goods and Virtues, chapter 1.

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NonNon-narrative Explanations of Non-additivity  141 over time of a life, not to a narrative of that life. We can tell stories about that structure, and frequently do; but that’s just an example of the point I have already made that many things are potential contents of narratives without themselves being narratives. Fourth, self-­realization. On this view, temporal shape makes a diference because some shapes are self-­ realizations: they map the development and expression of capacities woken and fed by appropriate circumstance. Te temporal structure of a human life which governs how well it goes as a whole is analogous to the temporal structure of the life of a tree which governs how well it goes as a whole. For a tree: does it grow from acorn to sapling to spreading ancient oak? Does it wither for lack of water? Is it wired and pruned into a sad, twisted little bonsai? For a human being: does she fower into skilled, independent adulthood? Is she blighted by poverty or illness? Is she constrained and infantilized by a misogynistic culture? For Siegfried Sassoon: is he able to love without shame, or is he compelled by internal and external homophobia to hide and distort his sexuality? Can he reconcile his solitary inwardness with his delight in comradeship and action, or does he remain torn between them? How does his traumatic battlefeld education transform him? Again, this possibility appeals to a narratable structure over time, but not to a narrative. Tis last possibility is my view. I have ofered the frst three alternative views canvassed above mostly to make the point that a specifcally narrative explanation of composition is only one possibility among several, and that there is therefore an argumentative gap between acceptance of the shape of a life claim and acceptance of a narrative explanation of it. I now move on to argue for self-­realization and against narrative.

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48 Neither Agents nor Temporal Sequences

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Explain Non-­additivity Siegfried’s Sassoon’s innocence to experience life-­ shape makes a diference: our evaluation of how well his whole life goes is diferent from our evaluation of how well Sassoon Siegfried’s whole life goes. Te question I am pursuing is: what explains that fact? In this and the following sections, I argue for a self-­realization answer to it by making use of my radial account of narrative. Once we pull the various conditions of narrativity apart and see how each might be involved in explaining how the shape of a life makes a diference, the attraction of a narrative explanation dissolves, and the attraction of a self-­realization explanation becomes apparent, in diferent ways for diferent conditions. I conclude that we should therefore adopt a self-­realization over a narrative account of the signifcance of shape. A paradigmatic narrative is a generic telling of a connected temporal sequence of particular actions taken by, and particular events which happen to, agents. What exactly about narrative is supposed to make the non-­ additive diference? I shall go through its various features in reverse order. Is the diference made by the fact that that narratives involve agents? No: even assuming that a connection can be found between agency and shape over time, this feature fails to distinguish between narrative and  self-­realization explanations. Loss of innocence is something that ­happens to an agent, Siegfried Sassoon, on either account. Te appeal to agency therefore ofers no support to a distinctively narrative ex­plan­ ation of the signifcance of shape. In that case, is the diference made by the fact that narratives are of connected temporal sequences of actions and events? It’s tempting immediately to reply ‘no’ again, for the same reason that self-­realization Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0048

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NEITHER AGENTS NOR TEMPORAL SEQUENCES  143

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equally involves such sequences, and that this feature therefore also fails to distinguish between narrative and self-­realization explanations. But that reply is too quick. Paradigmatic narrative connects its temporal sequences not only by causation, but by literary relations: analogy, echo, poetic justice. Siegfried Sassoon’s life-­narrative connects his careless courage as a rider pre-­war with his suicidal courage in the trenches, not only as an explanation of the latter, but through Sassoon-­as-­narrator’s later ironic grasp of what his innocent pre-­war self could not know. Perhaps, then, temporal sequences of actions and events connected by specifcally literary relations make the diference? Velleman’s ‘lending and borrowing diferent meanings in exchange with preceding events’ could be taken as a version of this possibility. Te problem with that thought is that the literary relations are projected by the narrative’s telling, not already there in what the telling is a telling of. Sassoon’s irony is a part and product of his narration of his story, not something there to be discovered in the content he tells us about. In general, literary relations are secondary qualities, in the relation between narrator and what’s narrated, not in what’s narrated alone. Tis possibility is therefore a disguised appeal to a diferent feature of narrative: telling.

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49 Telling Does Not Explain

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Non-­Additivity So is telling what’s important here? Is it that Sassoon tells his life-­story as innocence to experience that makes the diference? Tis is a more promising thought. Refexive accounts of the good life appeal to the subject’s own judgements or attitudes about her life. Narrative telling of a life involves a relation to that life; autobiographical narrative telling involves a specifcally refexive relation; and perhaps that refexive relation explains why the life’s total good is not just the sum of its occasional goods. I don’t think this appeal to telling works either, because it confates two distinct roles which someone could take up with respect to a life: call them the storyteller and the judge. Tey are alike in being distanced, third-­ personal stances, even when refexive. Te attention of the autobiographer to her own life involves separation of self from self, turning her attention as subject on her temporally extended life as object, in the same way as she might turn her attention on a life which is not hers.24 But these roles are importantly distinct: the storyteller gives an account of meaning in the self-­presentational sense I developed earlier; the judge gives an account of how well the life goes. Meaning in this sense and good life are distinct in three related ways. First, I can have a life which is meaningful for someone—perhaps myself—and which goes badly for me. I can have a life which is meaningful for someone because it goes badly for me: consider Robert Falcon Scott, or Anne Frank, or anyone whose life stands as a horrible warning. Tese lives are highly meaningful to us exactly because they are disasters for those who live them. 24 Pascal, Design and Truth in Autobiography. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0049

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Telling Does Not Explain Non-additivity  145

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Second, meaning and good life are relativized diferently. Te meaning of Siegfried Sassoon’s life is its meaning to someone who tells his story: Sassoon himself, his various biographers including Max Egremont and Jean Moorcrof Wilson, the novelist Pat Barker in her Regeneration,25 me in my section introducing him above, or others. But the good of Sassoon’s life is its good for Sassoon himself. Unlike meaning, it is necessarily relativized to the person whose life is good or not. If we talk of the good of Sassoon’s life for someone else—for Robert Graves, say— we are talking about instrumental good—Sassoon’s usefulness to Graves—not the prudential good we were looking for. Tird, and as a result of its distinctive relativization, meaning can be multiple without contradiction, when relativized to diferent storytellers. Tere are many myths of Scott of the Antarctic, for example: In the post-­war anomie of the 1920s, Apsley Cherry-­Garrard published his memoir of the expedition, Te Worst Journey in the World, as a lament for ‘an age in geological time, so many hundreds of years ago, when we were artistic Christians’ . . . Te 1930s saw the expedition’s concern with natural history fashioned into something congruent with Tarka the Otter and rambling in shorts. Te 1948 flm Scott of the Antarctic, with John Mills as Scott, shaped it as a post-­war fable of class integration, apt for the austerity era. Te myth had a quiescent period in the 1950s and 1960s, when it held a secure if shrunken position as a perfectly typical subject for a Ladybird book for children. But it metamorphosed, rather than died, on the publication of Roland Huntford’s debunking biography Scott and Amundsen . . . Huntford denounced Scott from the New Right, as an example of the sclerotic ofcial personality; the playwright Trevor Grifths, adapting Huntford’s book as a TV drama, attacked Scott from the Lef as a representative of privilege and the Establishment bested by a rather democratic, workmanlike set of Scandinavians.26

25  Pat Barker, Regeneration (London: Penguin, 1992). 26  Francis Spuford, I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination (London: Faber and Faber, 1996), pp. 4–5.

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146  GOOD LIVES Similarly, Sassoon’s life has meant diferent things to his various storytellers. For Egremont, Sassoon’s life illuminates a particular relation to an imaginary country: ‘Sassoon evokes a lost, decent England achieved only in the imagination, perhaps only in the imaginations of those a little outside this county of the heart.’27 For Barker, Sassoon is one of various mirrors she holds up to the war and to British war culture. Sassoon himself at diferent times found diferent meanings in his own life. His later autobiographical trilogy Te Old Century, Te Weald of Youth, and Siegfried’s Journey28 give diferent signifcance to the same actions and events as the earlier Memoirs of George Sherston: Sassoon repudiates his 1917 protest against the conduct of that war in light of his support for war against Nazi Germany, for example. To be clear, I do not mean to claim that anything goes in meaningfnding, only that the standards which do apply—accuracy and sincerity, say29—underdetermine what meanings one can properly fnd in a life, and that this is not a problem for storytellers. Meaning is happily plural. Te good life, in contrast, cannot be multiple without contradiction, because the goodness of a life supervenes on the life: there are no pairs of possible worlds such that both contain Sassoons identical in every way except that one’s life goes badly and the other’s goes well. With those distinctions between meaning and good in place: telling does the storyteller’s meaning-­fnding or meaning-­making work, not the judge’s good-­evaluating work, including the specifc evaluation of non-­additive good over the whole life. Narrative telling therefore fails to explain the signifcance of shape, although it perhaps does explain meaning. What about self-­ realization? My point in this section is that composition is not explained by telling, and is therefore a fortiori not explained by refexive telling, by telling one’s own story. And I want to generalize that point: one’s whole-­life good is not constituted by any

27 Egremont, Siegfried Sassoon, p. 524. 28  Siegfried Sassoon, Te Old Century and Seven More Years (London: Faber and Faber, 1938); Siegfried Sassoon, Te Weald of Youth (London: Faber and Faber, 1942); Siegfried Sassoon, Siegfried’s Journey, 1916–1920 (London: Faber and Faber, 1945). 29  Bernard Williams, Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in Genealogy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).

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Telling Does Not Explain Non-additivity  147

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refexive relation to one’s life—not the relation of telling it nor, for example, the relations of enjoying it or endorsing it. Whatever it is that makes my life go well or badly as a whole is in the life, not in any attitude or judgement or other relation I take to that life. Shape is a primary not a secondary quality of a life. If that’s right, the explanation of its signifcance will have to appeal to some structure in the life, rather than one projected on to it or constructed in reaction to it. And the selfrealization explanation does appeal to such a structure: the waking, development, and expression of the self over time. So, although this doesn’t show that self-­realization is the uniquely correct explanation of the signifcance of shape—there may well be other candidate explanations which meet this condition that the structure must be in the life—it does show that self-­ realization is a better explanation than narrative.

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50

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Genre Does Not Explain Non-­Additivity Finally, does genre explain the signifcance of life’s shape? Sassoon’s autobiography belongs to a recognizable genre, the martial disillusionment narrative: it is a preeminent example of a standard twentieth-­century way of writing about war experience as the burning away of illusion by battlefeld education, also adopted by Ernst Jünger, Paul Fussell, Philip Caputo, and many others.30 Perhaps it’s that generic shape which makes the diference, and therefore makes Siegfried Sassoon’s life more than mere Humean froth. Again, no: the best of the First World War martial disillusionment narratives, including Sassoon’s, are the successful bringing into genre of unprecedented and at frst indescribable experience. Tey do this partly by using precedent form: Fussell makes a case that Sassoon’s irony is derived from Tomas Hardy’s, for example.31 But they remake that form to be newly adequate to that new experience of industrialized mass warfare. Te experience is prior to the making over into genre. Te point generalizes: battlefeld education is one kind of transformative experience. As L. A. Paul32 uses the term, a transformative experience is a life-­event with two features. First, it is epistemically transformative. Living through a transformative experience provides a

30 Ernst Jünger, Storm of Steel trans. Michael Hofman (New edn, London: Allen Lane, 2003); Paul Fussell, Doing Battle: Te Making of a Sceptic (Boston: Little, Brown, 1996); Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War (New York: Owl Books, 1996). Fussell’s case is complicated by the fact that he was a brilliant interpreter of others’ war memoirs, in Te Great War and Modern Memory, before writing his own. On the history of this way of making sense of war experience, see further Yuval Harari, ‘Martial Illusions: War and Disillusionment in Twentieth-­Century and Renaissance Military Memoirs’, Te Journal of Military History 69(2005): 43–72; Yuval Harari, Te Ultimate Experience: Battlefeld Revelations and the Making of Modern War Culture, 1450–2000 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). 31 Fussell, Te Great War and Modern Memory, chapter 1. 32 L. A. Paul, Transformative Experience (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014); L. A. Paul, ‘What You Can’t Expect When You’re Expecting’, Res Philosophica 92(2015): 149–70. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0050

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Genre Does Not Explain Non-additivity  149 kind of knowledge only available by frst-­personal acquaintance. Only a parent knows what it’s like for her to have a child; only those who have fought know what combat is like for them (the claim is not that nothing can be known third-­personally about these and other experiences, it’s that not everything can be known that way). Second, such an experience is personally transformative. I am someone else afer becoming a parent; Sassoon is someone else afer his baptism of fre. Paul’s argument is that the fact of transformative experience in human life is a problem for decision theory, because it makes rational expectation impossible. Te person facing the decision whether to undergo such an experience—whether to have children, whether to become a soldier, whether to fght—cannot know in advance whether it will be good or bad for her, and therefore cannot make rational plans by trying to maximize the expected value of her choices. I take a diferent but compatible point from the fact of transformative experience. Sassoon, like many other soldiers, came to understand his own life over time as marked by the transformative experience of combat. His state of innocence is divided from his state of experience by fghting in the First World War. Tat transformative experience is temporally and logically prior to generic narration and to the distinct kind of understanding that generic narration can provide. Te experience of combat is an intrinsically frst-­personal occurrence in time, which one must be present to in order to have it at all. Reporting such experience in a narrative, in contrast, must be later and secondary. Te priority of experience over generic narrative is shown partly by the fact that we can fail adequately to narrate such experience. It is a major artistic achievement when we succeed: compare Sassoon’s success with, for example, David Jones’s interesting failure in In Parenthesis,33 which, as Fussell argues, never escapes the precedent mythic forms Jones brings to his attempt to tell his war experience.34 Battlefeld education, as one of many kinds of transformative experience, is prior to the generic narration of that experience. And, I now

33 David Jones, In Parenthesis: Seinnyessit e Gledyf ym Penn Mameu (London: Faber & Faber, 1937). 34 Fussell, Te Great War and Modern Memory, chapter 4.

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150  GOOD LIVES

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add, transformative experience is one kind of self-­realization: one way in which we grow is by transformation. As for telling in the previous section, the signifcance of shape is explained by the frst-­order structure of the life, not by something we relationally or refexively do to it, or some stance we relationally or refexively take up towards it. We may generically tell the stories of the transformative and other self-­realizations which shape our lives, because they are more of the many potential contents for narratives. But we need not in order for that self-­realization to happen. Self-­realization is therefore, again, a better explanation of the signifcance of a life’s shape than is narrative genre.

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51 Self-­Realization Explains

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Non-­Additivity Summing up the argument so far: the burden of proof is on proponents of the additive view to show that the shape of a life doesn’t matter. Te narrative explanation for the signifcance of that shape is that it matters because lives are (or can be) generic tellings of a connected temporal sequence of particular actions taken by, and particular events which happen to, agents—in particular the agent whose life we are evaluating. Te self-­realization explanation is that temporal shape matters because some shapes are self-­realizations. I have compared the two explanations by distinguishing the various features of the radial concept of narrative, and showing, for each, either that self-­realization is just as good an account, or that we should prefer the self-­realization account, of the non-­additivity it is supposed to explain. Both of these explanations can appeal to agents and to temporal sequences of causally connected actions and events. Narrative can further appeal to temporal sequences of actions and events connected by literary relations, but literary relations are projected by narrative telling, not in the actions and events themselves, so this is just a disguised appeal to telling. Telling cannot explain non-­additivity: the appearance that it might is based on a confusion between the storyteller’s fnding of unproblematically plural meaning in a life, and the judge’s evaluation of its singular goodness for the person who lives it. Goodness is not relational in the way that telling and meaning-­fnding require, but is in the structure of the life, and self-­realization matches that feature where narrative cannot. Finally, genre cannot explain non-­additivity, because the shape of a life can involve transformative experience, which is necessarily prior to its generic narration. Self-­realization again matches that feature where narrative cannot. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0051

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152  GOOD LIVES I want to emphasize a point about self-­ realization which this comparison brings out: it is not relational, and therefore not, in particular, refexive (it’s not a relation a person has to herself because it’s not a relation at all). Someone’s degree of self-­realization is a frst-­order feature of her life, the degree to which it in fact wakes, develops, and expresses her human and individual capacities. And, since self-­realization explains non-­additivity, this is also the conclusion we should draw about that kind of value: the shape of a life which matters for the goodness of a life considered as a whole is a frst-­order fact about that life over time, not anyone’s attitude to, or judgement about, or other relation to, that life. So, for Siegfried Sassoon: the innocence to experience shape of his life matters for how well that life went overall because it is the particular and partial way in which Sassoon realized his human and individual capacities (assuming, as I have throughout, that Sassoon is right to understand his own life in this way). He could have remained an innocent and an artistic failure, but the transformative experience of war enabled him to express at least part of his unchosen, initially opaque, seedlike true self. Where does this leave Sassoon’s and others’ autobiographical narratives? Tey do not constitute the non-­additive value of these lives: that’s in the self-­realizing structure of the life. But that may leave such narratives an important role in the discovery and understanding of that value. Sassoon’s telling of his own story may reveal to his readers—and to Sassoon himself—an important way in which his life went well for him, despite or even because of its hardships. By making this argument I have advanced, by one step, my critique of self-­narration. For all I’ve said so far, there is still plenty that it might do for us, and I now go on to consider another such role. But I have excluded self-­narrative from one interesting role: if the temporal shape of a life makes a diference to how well it goes as a whole, it does not do so because that shape is a narrative. Te shape of a life matters because some shapes are self-­realizations.

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52

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Narrative Self-­Unifcation Te second narrativist view I will consider is narrative self-­unifcation. Many people have thought that in order to be a life which is good for the person who lives it, or even in order to be the life of a person at all, a life must be unifed rather than divided or fragmented or alienated. Tey include philosophers such as Harry Frankfurt, Charles Taylor, and Alasdair MacIntyre;35 humanistic psychologists and psychotherapists such as Mark Freeman, Erik Erikson, and Donald Spence;36 and various purveyors of self-­help.37 Teir concern is not just that a life be as a matter of fact a diachronic unity—the unifed career through space and time of a particular living body, for example, or the life of an unrefective animal—but that it be made into a unity by the person herself (perhaps with the help of a therapist): actively, creatively, refectively unifed. Te demand is for unifcation by oneself not just unity of the self. Call this the demand for self-­unifcation, and the threat it responds to disunity.38 But this view is in tension with the fact that lives marked by war experience are frequently understood autobiographically as deeply disunifed by that experience. My example will again be Sassoon’s Memoirs of George Sherston trilogy, with its innocence to experience structure. Sassoon, and many others who write about their war experience, look back afer fghting in war to a lost, innocent pre-­war self, who is in some sense a diferent person, and who was transformed by war experience

35 Frankfurt, Taking Ourselves Seriously; Charles Taylor, ‘Responsibility for Self ’ in Amélie Oksenberg Rorty ed., Te Identities of Persons (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), pp. 281–300; Taylor, Sources of the Self; MacIntyre, Afer Virtue. 36 Freeman, Rewriting the Self; Erik H. Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crisis (London: Faber and Faber, 1968); Donald  P.  Spence, Narrative Truth and Historical Truth: Meaning and Interpretation in Psychoanalysis (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1982). 37  For example, tinybuddha.com; psychcentral.com. 38  Tese are my terms. Other terms in the area include self-­ownership, responsibility for self, and wholeheartedness, opposed to alienation, fragmentation, and ambivalence. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0052

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154  GOOD LIVES into someone else. Tey as narrator write about someone—in another sense, themselves—whom they record and interpret from a distance. In these accounts, self-­unifcation is explicitly rejected in favour of various kinds of recognition of disunity, and even active self-­separation. How should we respond to this tension? We could say that this is one more way in which war experience is terrible. War isn’t only unpleasant or morally problematic or bad for human functioning, it’s self-­destructive. It renders vital self-­unifcation impossible. It’s a metaphysical injury to the self. I think this response is a mistake, and will use Sassoon’s auto­ biog­raphy to argue against some theories of self-­unifcation. Sassoon’s trilogy enacts and investigates both synchronic and diachronic disunities in his life as he has come to understand it. I will concentrate on two diachronic cases and contrast them with two theories of narrative self-­unifcation over time for which they raise problems.39 Self-­ unifcation theories vary in two dimensions. First, what the specifc unifying act is supposed to be varies. For self-­help, it’s typically the adoption of some positive reactive attitude to oneself: self-­acceptance or self-­forgiveness or self-­love.40 For Frankfurt, it’s refexive endorsement of one’s frst-­order desires: not just wanting X, but wanting to want X. For MacIntyre, Taylor, and others, and most importantly for me here, it’s an autobiographical act. I unify my life by telling my own life-­story. Te second dimension is that what exactly is achieved by this unifying act varies: diferent theories ofer happiness, fourishing, the life of a person rather than of a mere animal or wanton, personal identity over time, self-­ owning, or responsibility for oneself. But there are also commonalities between theories in the area, and I will focus on specifcally narrative self-­unifcation, in two important versions due to Connie Rosati and to Marya Schechtman. 39  For discussion of synchronic disunity, see Braude, First Person Plural; Jonathan Glover, I: Te Philosophy and Psychology of Personal Identity (London: Penguin, 1988), part one; Ian Hacking, Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995). 40  For example, tinybuddha.com exhorts its readers to ‘love yourself, forgive yourself, be good to yourself ’ (http://tinybuddha.com/blog/love-­yourself-­accept-­yourself-­forgive-­ yourself/); psychcentral.com ofers ‘twelve ways to accept yourself ’ (http://psychcentral.com/ lib/therapists-­spill-­12-­ways-­to-­accept-­yourself/).

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53 Irony vs Rosati One of Sassoon’s central modes of writing is diachronic irony, in which he as narrator looks back and comments, ofen critically, on himself as protagonist. For one example of many, on leave afer being wounded, his alter ego George Sherston talks to an old friend of his aunt’s:

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I even went so far as to assert that I wouldn’t have missed this war for anything. It brought things home to one somehow, I remarked, frowning portentously as I lit my pipe, and forgetting for the moment what a mercy it had been when it brought me home myself.41

Irony, as I use the term here, is the dramatic diference in understanding between protagonist and narrating later self, expressed in a free indirect style which moves subtly between perspective then and perspective now.42 Sassoon repeatedly presents that diference. He sometimes makes the gap explicit: ‘What I am writing now is the result of a bird’s eye view of the past.’43 It’s always carefully managed, although it almost gets away from him in Sherston’s Progress, when writing about his relationship with the psychiatrist W. H. R. Rivers requires taking the Sherston mask most of the way of. Tis self-­separation by time is not straightforward rejection of identity: narrator and protagonist are not literally diferent people, as in a biography. But neither is it straightforward self-­possession, given Sassoon’s distanced amusement and embarrassment at his naïve, pretentious, and self-­deceiving younger self—marked as distinct even by being given another name.

41 Sassoon, Complete Memoirs, p. 375. 42 Goldie, Te Mess Inside, chapter 2; Wood, How Fiction Works. 43 Sassoon, Complete Memoirs, p. 378. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0053

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156  GOOD LIVES Now compare Connie Rosati’s narrative self-­ unifcation theory.44 Rosati argues, frst, that a person’s good is getting and being what is ftting to her. Tis is an analysis of the ‘good for’ relation: it is fttingness. She then argues that narrating my own life brings me into a non-­alienated relation of ft with that life: ft between the third-­personally accessible facts of my life over time and my frst-­personal perspective as both author and protagonist of that life. So, narrating my life unifes it as mine and therefore makes it good for me by changing it from self-­alienated to self-­possessed or self-­owned. But this picture is too simple, as Sassoon’s more complex self-­relations remind us. It is ordinarily human to have a variety of matter-­of-­degree, not all-­or-­nothing relations and reactive attitudes towards one’s past self: endorsement, awkward acknowledgement, sympathy, amused tolerance, defensiveness, annoyance, embarrassment, shame, guilt, pride, forgiveness. Self-­enjoyment is multiple and tense. Sassoon’s self-­narration doesn’t bring him into a single relation of ft with his life: it deliberately articulates, using his irony, all the various forms and degrees of his self-­conscious lacks of ft and states of partial ft with it. Sassoon’s jarring war experience perhaps makes these gaps larger and these partial selfrelations more troubling. But almost all of us have versions of them: ‘normal selves are multiplex.’45 Individual degree of self-­alienation varies—not everyone is as self-­conscious as Sassoon, towards one end of the scale, and almost no one is as unifed as Rosati describes, towards the other end. But it’s a normal feature of human life to be partly and variously alienated from one’s past selves: someone who wasn’t would be a kind of mystical saint, and just as odd and awkward to be around as a moral saint.46 At this point Rosati might object that Sassoon’s articulation of his own various self-­relations over time is exactly what she’s talking about. Te narrative self-­ unifcation she advocates is not forcing oneself together into homogeneity, it’s connecting one’s various parts into a federal whole by creating a single narrative of them.

44  Rosati, ‘Personal Good’; Rosati, ‘Te Story of a Life’. 45  Flanagan, ‘Multiple Identity, Character Transformation, and Self-­Reclamation’, p. 66. 46  Susan Wolf, ‘Moral Saints’, Te Journal of Philosophy 79(1982): 419–39.

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Irony vs Rosati  157 My response is to ask how anyone, on that version of her account, could fail to self-­unify. Apparently only by not refecting on or not narrating her life at all. But the problem of alienation, to which selfunifcation by self-­narration is supposed to be the solution, only occurs for refective creatures like us. An unrefective creature couldn’t be alienated, in the way that worries Rosati, from its own past self: my ageing cat Gilgamesh is untroubled by his relation to the kitten he once was. Te problem of refection can’t be its own solution. Te fttingness which refective narration is supposed to bring about out of self-­alienation must be more than just having been narrated, because one can—Sassoon does—narrate himself as lacking that fttingness. Self-­narration has to do something, and it must be something at which we might fail despite refection. If the point of self-­narration is self-­unifcation, Sassoon’s self-­narration does fail, because his self-­articulation as disunifed is not Rosati’s self-­unifcation. His autobiography does not secure the fttingness of the various parts of his life to him, it sets out the various ways in which he relates to his life, and those relations’ various degrees of fttingness, from self-­alienation through partial identifcation to self-­possession. Rosati could reply that what makes some but not all self-­narrations successfully self-­unifying is the quality of the narrative. Sassoon’s life-­story is an excellent story of radical change, a recognized classic which helped to found a genre, and it’s that quality which enables Sassoon to make his life good for him by telling it.47 But the aesthetic criteria by which we assess narratives as high or low quality are not the ethical criteria by which we assess lives as having gone well or badly. Some aesthetically excellent life-­stories are stories of lives which go extremely badly for their subjects: consider Apsley Cherry-­ Garrard’s beautiful, compelling account of his physical and moral near-­ destruction as part of Robert Falcon Scott’s disastrous attempt on the South Pole.48 At minimum, there is no bar to telling a sad life-­story well. Te aesthetic value of a life is a diferent value from its goodness for the one who lives it. Tis version of Rosati’s view is 47  Tanks to Joel Smith for pressing this objection. 48  Apsley Cherry-­Garrard, Te Worst Journey in the World (London: Vintage, 2010).

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158  GOOD LIVES therefore a non-­starter: she must defend, and does defend, the view that what makes a life go well is telling it as unifed, not telling it beautifully. Rosati could double down: she could say that if I’m right about Sassoon’s various unresolved self-­alienations, then his life went badly for him. He would have had to tell a very diferent story to make his life ft him and for it therefore to have gone well. It’s tempting to reply that his life didn’t seem to have gone badly to Sassoon himself—or at least that it didn’t seem to him that what went badly in it was its lack of self-­unifcation. But that would be to assume too much about the transparency to individuals of how well their own lives are going. We can be ignorant or wrong about how well our own lives go, and perhaps Sassoon was. My reply, instead, is to appeal to the value for good life of self-­knowledge, including knowing oneself as disunifed. I will get to that point via consideration of another narrative self-­unifcation theory, in the next section. Summing up so far: Rosati argues that to make my life go well for me, I must unify it as ftting to me by narrating it. But Sassoon’s ironic autobiography shows that I could reveal and narrate my life as articulated by various relations of lack of ft and partial ft, and therefore as disunifed. Autobiographical narrative doesn’t creatively unify a life, it responsively discovers and describes unity, disunity, or some combination of both, in a life. I now need to show that this kind of narrative of partial disunity would not make my life bad for me. I do so by asking: why might we think narrative disunity bad for us? I explore one potentially compelling answer: because of the narrative unity of the self which lives a good or bad life; and I show that it doesn’t support the badness of disunity.

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54 Transformative Experience vs

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Schechtman Sassoon presents his life over time as deeply marked by a structural disunity: his battlefeld education is a transformative experience. A reminder: that’s to say, frst, that it’s epistemically transformative. Living through war provides a kind of knowledge only available by frst-­person experience. And second, it’s personally transformative. Sassoon is someone else afer his war. Sassoon is in a sense two people rather than one, with a transformative break between them. Tat break is dramatized by the split between the pre-­war idyll of the frst part of Memoirs of a Fox-­Hunting Man, and the war of its second part and of Memoirs of an Infantry Ofcer (with Sherston’s Progress taking up a more refective position on the whole). But this kind of doubledness is not a total rejection of identity between the innocent and the experienced Sassoon: it’s a recognition of the possible extent of change over a single life, and a rejection of simple selfpossession. Te older Sassoon, transformed by his war experience, can’t straightforwardly own the callow young fox-­hunting man, because too much has happened to him. But the older can’t completely reject the younger either, because the older was made out of the younger by his transformative experience. To make our language of sameness and diference more precise, we can stipulate that what we’re talking about here is a single human being; a changed self—perhaps so changed that terms like ‘past self ’, ‘former self ’, and ‘ancestral self ’ are appropriate;49 and two diferent personae. An organism of a particular kind living a life over time; Siegfried

49 Parft, Reasons and Persons, chapter 13. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0054

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160  GOOD LIVES Sassoon at a time in his life; the fox-­hunting man distinguished from the infantry ofcer. Now compare Marya Schechtman’s narrative self-­unifcation theory.50 Where Rosati’s argument is that autobiographical narrative is constitutive of the good, Schechtman’s is that it is constitutive of the self. She does not ofer an account of the good, but what something’s good is depends on what kind of thing it is, and therefore Schechtman’s account of the self has consequences for the good. If I am a self-­told narrative, as she claims, then my good has something to do with its narrative success and therefore its unity. But if that’s not what I am, then this reason for thinking disunity bad for me dissolves. Schechtman distinguishes two questions about the self over time. First, the reidentifcation question: what makes it the case that a person at one time is numerically identical with a person at a later time? Tis is the canonical philosopher’s question of personal identity.51 Second, the characterization question: ‘which beliefs, values, desires, and other psychological features make someone the person she is?’52 Which events and actions are my real self, running through the whole career of my body, what it does, and what happens to it? What distinguishes what’s internal and essential to me from what’s external to and distinguishable from me? ‘Who am I?’ rather than ‘what am I?’ What’s really me or really mine in my life? Schechtman makes this distinction because we have ‘a dual nature’:53 as object and as active subject. When we take ourselves and each other as objects, we’re concerned with fnding and refnding things in the world. An adoptee trying to trace her birth parents seeks evidence like DNA, photographs, and hospital records, which track the bodies of particular human beings through time and space. Schechtman therefore tends 50 Schechtman, Constitution of Selves. 51  Its source is John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book II, Chapter 27, ‘Of Identity and Diversity’, and its paradigmatic arguments can be found, for example, in John Perry ed., Personal Identity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975). Eric Olson helpfully distinguishes this ‘persistence’ question from a range of other questions in ‘Personal Identity’ in Edward N. Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2016 Edition), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/identity-­personal/, section 1. 52 Schechtman, Constitution of Selves, p. 2. Olson, ‘Personal Identity’ calls this the ‘who am I?’ question. 53 Schechtman, Constitution of Selves, p. 68.

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Transformative Experience vs Schechtman  161 towards a bodily criterion of personal identity as an answer to the reidentifcation question: in my terms, a living body account of that self which is relevant to the personal identity task. But as myself a subject, I act and have a frst-­ person point of view. I am concerned with distinguishing what’s really me from what’s external or incidental. I am concerned with knowing or understanding myself. Schechtman’s view, then, is a narrative self-­constitution answer to the characterization question. It brings together two ideas. First, we persons are self-­making: we are active subjects who make ourselves into the particular kind of self we are, persons. Not all individuals or all selves or all human beings are persons, but those who are make themselves. Tere’s a deliberate political analogy in Schechtman’s use of the term ‘constitution’: we’re not here talking about self-­making out of nothing, but about the sub-­personal parts of a self jointly making themselves into a person. Compare: a university as a corporate body is not an extra immaterial thing standing behind and owning the departments, buildings, scholars, students, etc., which make it up, but a way for those parts to form themselves into a whole. Te second idea Schechtman combines with self-­making is that our lives are narratives in the sense that they have the form of traditional, linear stories over time. So, we make ourselves by telling our own lifestories. Schechtman’s is thus a doubly strong claim. It rejects alternative ways of self-­making: Frankfurt’s refexive endorsement by second-­order desire; or making ourselves by skilled remaking of the external world, like artists or engineers; or making ourselves by testing ourselves against that world, like mountaineers or solo travellers; or making ourselves with and against others, like soldiers. And it further rejects the alternative that we’re made by other and larger forces than ourselves. On Schechtman’s view, my self-­told life-­story does three things to a disintegrated collection of actions and events. First, it selects some actions and events as parts of my story, and relegates others to external or unimportant. Second, it gives those actions and events meaning by placing them in a plot: a connected temporal sequence with an overall shape, not just one damn thing afer another, without sense or point. Tird, it makes me intelligible by showing my beliefs, desires, actions, values, and emotions hanging together in a single character which

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162  GOOD LIVES allows me and others to know me, to predict my further actions, and to distinguish the real me and mine from the things I do which are out of character, and which require explanation by external forces. So that they can do these three things, these stories are in a particular, familiar genre: they are autobiographies, or at least drafs of autobiographies. So, consider Sassoon’s Sherston trilogy as it could be read by Schechtman. First, it selects some things—the innocent pre-­war idyll; the comradeship, horror, adventure, and loss of trench warfare—and deselects others—the very English pseudonym ‘Sherston’ rejects Sassoon’s Jewish father, and that Sherston is raised by a fond but distant Aunt rejects Sassoon’s more intense and complex relationship with his mother Teresa. Second, it puts actions and events into a meaning-­making structure: a passage from innocence to experience. Tird, it shows Sassoon, masked as Sherston, as an integrated character, even a character type: the young upper-­class Englishman transformed by the war into something else (compare Robert Graves or Edmund Blunden). According to Schechtman, Sassoon in his autobiography is actively constituting himself as a unity by narrating his own life. And by doing so, he’s making himself into something which has the central features of a person: he extends over time, he is responsible for his own actions, he is rationally self-­interested, and bad things at one time in his life can be compensated by good things at other times in it (in a way that they couldn’t be compensated by good things happening to other people).54 So, picking on one of these features, moral responsibility is a narrative trope like poetic justice: it’s a meaning-­making connection which we actively impose on what, without that imposition, would just be discrete events. Schechtman argues that—assuming that we don’t accept a separate self to own, support, and integrate these distinctive features of persons— our options are to give up on imagining ourselves as such persons at all if that’s possible, or to make ourselves into persons with these features, by narrative self-­constitution.

54  Tese are Schechtman’s ‘four features’ which any acceptable answer to the constitution question must explain—Constitution of Selves, pp. 149–60.

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Transformative Experience vs Schechtman  163 I don’t accept this as an interpretation of Sassoon’s problem and his solution to it in the Sherston books. I have already argued that two central purposes of autobiography are self-­investigation, aimed inward at self-­knowledge, and self-­presentation, aimed outward at the social world. Sassoon, and other autobiographers, take up these purposes in varying mixtures. Schechtman connects self-­narration to two similarly distinguished projects. On the one hand, there are the demands of our nature as potential self-­knowers, active subjects concerned with selfunderstanding, faced with the Delphic demand. We at least sometimes aim to reveal ourselves to ourselves, to comprehend ourselves. For Schechtman as for me, we self-­narrate in pursuit of self-­knowledge. But on the other hand, Schechtman connects self-­ narration to our construction of a social self—a persona—which allows us to live in our particular kind of society. We live in a commercial, literate, rule-­of-­law governed society, which understands some creatures, and some artifcial things like universities and limited liability companies, as continuing entities with rights and duties. Tey are able to hold assets, to make contracts, to be held to account, to sue and be sued, to plan and invest for their future interests. Tat is, they are entities which have legal personality.55 But these two projects are in tension, in two ways. In the frst place, it’s not at all obvious that we can come to know ourselves by constructing legal personae. A persona may disguise the truth about me, in particular by representing me as far more unifed than I actually am. It can continue to be maintained by, or projected onto, a much changed self: I didn’t lose my job by becoming a parent, and Sassoon didn’t lose his small private income by fghting, however much those experiences transformed us. And the fact that non-­human, non-­conscious, non-­refective things like universities can also be legal persons suggests that legal personhood can’t fully reveal us to ourselves. Perhaps this is taking Schechtman’s Lockean claim that person is a forensic concept too narrowly. To be a person on this performative

55 Christian List & Philip Pettit, Group Agents: Te Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), chapter 8. Tanks to Leonie Smith for drawing my attention to the relevance of this book.

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164  GOOD LIVES account is to have whatever powers allow us to take part in any system of social commitment and obligation over time, including but not limited to legal systems.56 But this move does not resolve my second tension between knowing oneself and presenting oneself. So, in the second place, the projects of self-­investigation and of selfpresentation in general pull in diferent directions.57 Constructive self-­unifcation is both active and creative. Te distinction between construction and knowing isn’t active versus passive. Knowing isn’t just passive representation—it actively selects, ranks by importance, and makes sense of things by putting them into larger causal and nomic structures. Te important opposition here is creative construction as against responsive understanding. Te project of knowledge involves deference and dedication to what’s there—in our own cases, a human being who lives, and whose self changes and reveals itself, over time— where the project of construction treats what’s there as some materials among others, available to be used, reordered, and combined in making. Schechtman tries to save the idea of self-­knowledge by narrative self-­constitution by requiring that my life-­story match the facts and be intersubjectively acceptable to my peers. But it’s not clear why that isn’t just an ad hoc attempt to dodge the obvious objection about fctional selfconstitutions: think of Jay Gatsby, or of James Frey’s fake autobiography. Why are their literally untrue stories not successful self-­constitutions, unless there’s a self which is there to be discovered, and which is misrepresented by these invented personae? If the self is a construction, why can’t Gatsby or Frey construct themselves as they choose?

56  ‘To be a person is to have the capacity to perform as a person. And to perform as a person is to be party to a system of accepted conventions, such as a system of law, under which one contracts obligations to others and . . . derives entitlements from the reciprocal obligations of others . . . In short, a person is an agent who can perform efectively in the space of obligations.’—List & Pettit, Group Agents, p. 173. 57  Donald Spence similarly distinguishes (1) Freud’s own archaeological practice of reconstruction of the patient’s hidden past; from (2) the forward-­looking therapeutic practice of constructive storytelling, in which stories are made ‘true’ by repetition and by their utility in organizing the therapeutic encounter; and takes up the second—Spence, Narrative Truth and Historical Truth, chapter VI.

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Transformative Experience vs Schechtman  165

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Tis opposition between the creative and the responsive isn’t sharp. Tere is a broad ambiguous borderland between autobiographies and autobiographical novels, and the Sherston trilogy lives somewhere in it. But that doesn’t damage my distinction between the project of personacreation and the alternative project, which pulls in another direction, of self-­investigation aimed at self-­knowledge. So: if we see an autobiography as an attempt at self-­investigation, then we’ll see narrative self-­unifcation as a distinct project in tension with that attempt, not as enacted by it. In Sassoon’s case in particular, we’ll see his innocence to experience narrative not as a self-­unifcation, but as an attempt to understand himself by articulating his own disunity over time, directed not at his persona or personae, but at the self which wears those masks, and which his war experience so radically changed. Summing up again: Schechtman argues that to understand myself and to function in our social system of obligations I must make myself into a single person by narrating my life. But Sassoon’s understanding of himself as having lived through a transformative experience shows that the self which is understood as transformed is diferent from the various personae which he constructs, and that the projects of self-­investigation and of persona-­construction are therefore in tension.

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Against Narrative Self-­Unifcation We have made a further step in the critique of narrative, by showing that, whatever else self-­narration does for us, it does not help us to attain selfood, or the good of that self, by creative self-­unifcation. I argued against Rosati that Sassoon’s autobiographical articulation of his disunity—his ironic partial ownership of his past self—shows that the good life is not the life narrated into unity. A good life can be a disunifed life, or at least it is not made bad merely by the disunity. Tis leaves open the possibility that there is a causal rather than a constitutive relation between autobiographical narration and living a good life: perhaps telling the right kind of life-­story makes one happier or better able to cope, for example.58 But that is an empirical claim about the therapeutic value of telling one’s story, not Rosati’s stronger constitutive view. Contra Rosati’s view, a life’s goodness does not require, and is not guaranteed by, its narrative self-­unifcation. I developed that view by arguing against Schechtman that her version of narrative ‘self ’-unifcation is the creation of a persona rather than of a self, and that this creative project is in tension with the project she also endorses, the pursuit of self-­knowledge. Te self which this project aims to know is not the persona which self-­narration creates. Schechtman in fact later recognized this distinction between person and self, and in response, tentatively suggests the desirability of ‘making one’s personal narrative and one’s self-­narrative co-­extensive’.59 My argument is that this is inadequate if what one wants is an account of the good life for

58  George Graham, Te Disordered Mind: An Introduction to Philosophy of Mind and Mental Illness (London: Routledge, 2010); Spence, Narrative Truth and Historical Truth; Wilson, Redirect; Wilson, Strangers to Ourselves. 59  Marya Schechtman, ‘Stories, Lives, and Basic Survival: A Refnement and Defence of the Narrative View’ in Daniel  D.  Hutto ed., Narrative and Understanding Persons (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 155–78, p. 178. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0055

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Against Narrative Self-­U nification  167 humans, because what some creature’s good is depends on what kind of self it is, not on its persona or personae. Tis is because, frst, the self, not the persona, is the subject of the life which goes well or badly: Sassoon’s life goes well or badly for Sassoon himself, not for any of the various personae he makes or has projected onto him. Te fox-­hunting man has no good or bad. It is also because, second, a persona can be good or bad for the self to whom it belongs. ‘Is this persona bad for me?’ is a coherent question, and sometimes a pressing one: the fox-­hunting man persona was bad for Sassoon in stunting his sexual, aesthetic, and social development and self-­expression, and part of the complexity of his response to his war experience is that he recognizes that it woke him as well as wounding him. His transformation from innocence to experience, and the resulting disruption of his pre-­war persona, was not in all ways bad for him. So, neither Rosati’s nor Schechtman’s narrative self-­unifcation theories correctly identify the self or its good life. Against Rosati: Sassoon needed self-­knowledge to live well, pursued it, and expressed it so far as he achieved it in his autobiography. Tat necessary self-­knowledge was an understanding of himself as deeply disunifed across time, not as selfunifed. Against Schechtman: her narrative self-­unifcation theory is best understood not as being about discovering the self for whom a life goes well or badly at all, but as being about constructing a persona. It therefore leaves the good untouched. No matter how successfully I narrate myself into personhood, my life could be going well or badly for me. Te unity or disunity of my life tells us nothing, in itself, about that life’s goodness or badness for me. Tis again leaves open the question of a causal connection. Some particular persona may be a useful tool for achieving a good life, or as good a life as one can, in one’s circumstances: consider for example Sassoon’s adoption of a bluf, stereotypically manly persona to disguise his homosexuality in his violently homophobic social world.

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For Self-­Realization over a Life Tese sections have been about some kinds of diachronic refexivity, in which someone turns her current powers of attention, perception, investigation, understanding, and presentation on her temporally extended past. I have argued against one of those kinds—a creative and unifying narrative self-­unifcation—and for another—an investigative, responsive, autobiographical self-­understanding, which ofen discovers disunity rather than creating unity. In particular, I have argued that transformative experiences like Sassoon’s war experience are frst-­order features of lives, which create discontinuity to be understood but not repaired in autobiography. Good lives need not be self-­unifed. Real and successful human lives can be disunifed. Autobiographies like Sassoon’s Memoirs articulate those disunities, and thereby reveal that life over time is ofen transformative. Tis articulation is an achievement of self-­ knowledge, not just of self-­presentation. Autobiographical self-­investigation could discover total, incoherent disunity: one damn thing afer another, with no direction or interrelation. But that is not what Sassoon discovers. He is not Sassoon Siegfried. Rather, what Sassoon discovers is transformative self-­revelation and self-­development. His life over time, and especially his war experience, exemplify a pattern of growth in which things which are initially opaque and seedlike, such as his courage and empathy as a soldier and ofcer, are revealed, developed, and expressed. He does not refexively make his life ft together as a whole, or make all of his various past selves his own. He discovers a pattern of partially alienating development. Sassoon the narrator fnds the explanation of his current life in what happened to his past selves, and what happened to them was his self-­realization. We could respond to this argument with scepticism about any autobiography which makes sense of the life it is about. Perhaps: no Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0056

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For Self­R ealization over a Life  169 lives have a temporal or internal structure to be discovered; all lives are just a sprawl of incidents, a collection of occasions which have only various and contingent connections, and which express nothing beyond themselves. Perhaps everyone is really a Sassoon Siegfried. In this picture, Rosati’s and Schechtman’s self-­ unifcations, my reading of Sassoon, and any too-­coherent autobiography, are all just self-­deceptive rationalizations, a fnding of faces in clouds. Tis scepticism would ft well with additive views about the relation between the goodness of occasions and the overall goodness of the lives they make up. It could ground such an additive view with one kind of no-­self view: that there is no temporally extended self to hold the occasions of a life together.60 But I suggest that the diachronic perspective of the autobiographer, explored here, ofers reasons for my interpretation of Sassoon. Te self is the unchosen, initially opaque, seedlike subject of a life over time. Te good life is self-­realization. A good life’s autobiographical articulation is of frst-­order development and expression over time, including transformative experiences and other discontinuities, which can be moments of transformative self-­realization in which the initially opaque self reveals itself and, seedlike, germinates. In a slogan: transformative experience is self-­discovery. Lives aren’t made into unities by telling them as such. Tey can be discovered to be self-­ realizations, or to be partial or failed selfrealizations, and then told as such. Sassoon’s life, for one case, is a life of partial self-­realization revealed in the self-­knowledge he gained from his transformative experience and from refecting on that experience. Tis interpretation makes better sense of Sassoon’s autobiography and life than do either the narrative self-­ unifcation or the sceptical interpretations. Sassoon’s autobiography, then, is reasoning in support of the self-­realization account of the self and its good.

60  Compare Parft, Reasons and Persons.

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57 Objection

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Te Self is a Self-­Interpretation

Te narrativist may object at this point that the self is not an object out there in the world to be uncovered and represented, in autobiography or otherwise. According to my third narrativist view, the self is a selfinterpretation in narrative form, and the object of self-­knowledge is created by narrating oneself into being, not revealed. Versions of this view are held, for example, by Charles Taylor, Mark Freeman, Marya Schechtman, Jerome Bruner, Daniel Dennett, and Dan McAdams.61 Te self on this account is a refexive reading of a life, created by thinking about and reporting that life in narrative form. So, responding to the features of my account of the self: Te self is only that which lives a life in the sense that it’s something we create to be a unifying subject for the activity of living a life and for talking about lives. It’s something produced by the living and narrating of a life, not something which lives through that life. Te self is not unchosen. Or at least, even if it’s not individually chosen and made up from scratch, out of nothing, it’s picked from a range of cultural ready-­mades. Te self is not initially opaque, because not opaque at all. It exists only in being made explicit. It’s not something there to be discovered or brought to light. Te self is not seedlike. Once made, it has powers which can be activated by circumstance, because we’ll tend to choose actions which maintain rather than jar with our self-­interpretations. If I’ve interpreted

61 Taylor, Sources of the Self; Freeman, Rewriting the Self; Schechtman, Constitution of Selves; Bruner, ‘Life as Narrative’; Bruner, Acts of Meaning; Dennett, ‘Self as a Centre of Narrative Gravity’; McAdams, Stories We Live By. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0057

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OBJECTION: THE SELF IS A SELF-INTERPRETATION  171 myself as careful and self-­controlled, for example, I’ll be wary of acting out of character by being impulsive. But these are the powers of a tool, not the latent capacities of a seedlike self. On this account of the self, there’s nothing there behind the interpretation. Te self is like a fctional character in that it has no hidden depths. Tere is no deeper reality to Pip Pirrip or Maggie Verver, and no fact of the matter about things that haven’t been made explicit: ‘is Maggie lef or right handed?’ has no answer. All that they are is there in the text and in the interpretations of its readers; and similarly for Siegfried Sassoon, Doris Lessing, me, or you. Self-knowledge, on this account, isn’t like other kinds of knowledge, or at least not like our ordinary picture of knowledge. It’s not a representation of, or a deferential response to, or a way of catching or grasping or being faithful to, anything there in advance of investigation, which we might misrepresent or misinterpret. We could cast this as an error theory of self-­knowledge, grounded in a particular no-­self view, on which the Delphic demand asks us to uncover something which is just not there to be uncovered: a true self. To fnd the demand compelling—as so many of us do—is to make a mistake. Where an error theory of morality claims that we talk about and search for a non-­existent moral reality, independent of our moral practices, this error theory of self-­knowledge claims that we talk about and search for a non-­existent self, independent of our practices of self-­interpretation and self-­presentation. Or we could cast this view of self-­knowledge as a response to scepticism with a Kantian favour: if self-­knowledge is taken as grasping something independently there, then the road to scepticism is lef open, because we might be permanently opaque to ourselves, or such that our self-­presentations are unavoidably distorted beyond the possibility of knowing ourselves. Maybe our powers of understanding can’t reach to things as they are here. Te response is then to argue that the objects of knowledge are constructed by those powers. What we know about ourselves is made not found. Te transcendental argument could go: self-­knowledge can’t be impossible; if the self were independent of our powers of understanding then self-­knowledge might be impossible; so, the self is constructed by those powers rather than independent of them.

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172  GOOD LIVES

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If some version of this self-­ creative view is right, it refutes my argument against self-­unifcation, because the independent disunifed thing which Sassoon discovers isn’t—can’t be—his self. And it vitiates my entire project, which is based in distinctions between creation and discovery which just don’t apply here. I therefore need to reply. I frst suggest a response which should satisfy some of the narrativists who claim that the self is a self-­interpretation, but rightly won’t satisfy all. I then go on to develop a pluralist and realist account of self-­knowledge, which will show, frst, that the self is something more than a self-­interpretation, and is properly the object of investigation and discovery; second, that the self, when investigated, is revealed to be such as to support my self-­realization account of the good.

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58 First Reply

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Self vs Persona

Recall again my distinction between personae, that is, accounts of the self appropriate to self-­presentation, and accounts appropriate to selfinvestigation. Perhaps what the narrativists mean here is that narrative self-­interpretation creates a persona. Tis version of the view could be true: personae are perhaps sometimes, or partly, created by self-­narration, although they are also made by dialogue, by institutional roles, by picking up local stereotypes and ready-­mades, and by social assignment (as for example when an infant or a corporate body is a legal person for ownership purposes). But the persona isn’t the self we wanted self-­knowledge about, the self for which life goes well or badly, because it makes sense to worry—and sometimes it’s true—that my masks hide or distort the real me, and thereby do me harm. Self-­knowledge then requires looking behind the persona, and self-­realization requires taking it of. Making this distinction is an example of the possibility I noted in §Tasks for an Account of the Self: ‘self ’ is multivocal, and diferent accounts of the self are therefore sometimes best thought of as answers to diferent questions, not as competing. But this move doesn’t completely deal with the objection. Some narrativists, for example Bruner, McAdams, and many other psychologists, should be satisfed with it, because by ‘self ’ they mean ‘self-­concept’: the idea someone has of herself, a representation rather than what it represents. ‘In its most common usage, the self refers to a representation or set of representations about oneself, parallel to the

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174  GOOD LIVES

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representations people have of other individuals’.62 I have already argued that Schechtman, for another example, is best read as talking about a persona rather than the self. But other narrativists mean something other and deeper than the persona is a self-­interpretation. For Taylor, in particular, the consequential questions about living a human life well only come into play at all when we interpret ourselves into existence. Tere is no self to which standards of life’s going well or badly, or other norms, apply prior to creative refection on the self. Taylor argues against the ‘punctual self ’, conceived as a bundle of desires at a time, and therefore unable to answer questions of normative authority—what should it desire?—or of personal identity over time. He argues for a self articulated in two dimensions: moral space, in which there is ‘strong evaluation’ of some desires as higher than others, and time, across which there is a unifying synthesis of past, present, and future by a self-­narrative which gives direction and the possibility of quest, becoming, and bildungsroman.63 I therefore need a second and deeper reply to this narrativist claim.

62 William  B.  Swann Jr & Jennifer  K.  Besson, ‘Self and Identity’ in Susan  T.  Fiske, Daniel T. Gilbert, & Gardner Lindzey eds, Handbook of Social Psychology (5th edn, Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons, no date), pp. 589–628, p. 591. 63 Taylor, Sources of the Self, especially pp. 47–51.

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59 Second Reply

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Pluralist Realism about Self-­Knowledge

I can accept for the sake of argument that self-­narration creates the object of one particular kind of self-­knowledge, a self-­interpretation. Perhaps it’s knowledge of what my life means to me in the meaning as use sense which I identifed earlier, or knowledge of what attitudes I take up to myself. But I will argue for pluralist realism about self-­knowledge, and for the genuine experience of self-­discovery, which reveals the self as unchosen, initially opaque, and seedlike. Tat is, as something there which we must uncover by active experience and inquiry, not only something created by interpretation. My account is pluralist about three things: about kinds of self-­knowledge; about our means for gaining it; and about our resources for presenting it. My account is realist in that it denies both the error theory and the ‘Kantian’ transcendental account of self-­knowledge. I argue that there is a self there prior to and independent of investigation, and that, with work and pains, we can reveal it. Te following sections make that argument by exploring some of the methods of self-­discovery which are revealed in autobiographies. But before I start that positive argument, I need to note some contrasts with other putative methods of self-­discovery, introspection and the objective stance.

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60 Introspection Is a Bad Method of

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Self-­Discovery One way we might hope to gain self-­knowledge is a particular kind of refection, direct introspection. We might think: If I want to know, say, an ammonite fossil, I should turn my attention on it. And similarly, if I want to know myself, I should turn my attention on myself. Indeed my self is easier to attend to than any fossil: it’s right there, up close, not needing to be sought out, and I have direct and undistorted access to it. Tis would be a mistake. Introspection is a bad method for gaining self-­knowledge, because much of what we are, and want to know, eludes direct conscious attention. We can turn our attention directly on some parts of ourselves but not others, and we use many diferent media and modes for that perception. We have very little self-­perception of the workings of our capacity to see the world as three-­dimensional, for example: we just make use of it; indeed, under normal circumstances it just imposes itself on us. Many of our judgements are made by fast, non-­conscious heuristics whose workings we cannot directly perceive, and whose results therefore appear to us as ‘intuitive’. Some character traits, like charisma or pomposity, we perceive through others’ reported perceptions of us: I can’t typically fnd out that I’m pompous except by being told that I come across that way, and the discovery can be a horrible surprise. Other character traits, like courage or staying calm in a crisis, are revealed only in action: no amount of introspection, on its own, tells me how I will act in a sudden emergency. Even if we are interested only in knowing our own current minds rather than other things about ourselves, we meet various difculties. First, it may be that some of our mental life is unconscious in a Freudian Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0060

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Introspection Is a Bad Method of Self-Discovery  177 sense, because repressed: it was once in consciousness; it has been pushed out because it was too painful; and we need to bring it back in for the sake of our own happiness and well-­functioning. Second, and whether or not that is true, there is much evidence for an adaptive unconscious: mental mechanisms which make our ordinary activity in the world possible, partly by infuencing our judgements, feelings, goals, and behaviour, but which are permanently inaccessible to direct attention. Tird, we are frequently subject to ignorance and self-­ deception about ourselves. We are generally bad judges of our own abilities and characteristics. Introspection is infested by distorting narrative, both about what happened in the past and what it reveals about us, and about how we might react to imagined future situations.64 Worse, we aren’t interested only in knowing our own current minds. A lot of the self which we want to know about is non-­mental or noncurrent: I could be as interested in knowledge of my blood pressure, parentage, or untapped musical ability as in knowledge of my current beliefs or desires. Parts and features of me are opaque in the same way that other non-­mental things such as others’ bodies, trees, and mountains are opaque. My past could be vital to me, but it is not immediately accessible to me. Memory is constructed for current purposes, not a neutral and unchanging record to be drawn on at will, and telling ourselves and others about our pasts changes how we remember them. As Geof Dyer reports in a short memoir: I intended giving a full, frank and unadorned account of how I came to be fred from my frst proper job afer leaving university but that has proved more difcult than I imagined. It’s not just that I can’t remember things clearly enough; what really happened has been 64  Tese paragraphs draw on Cassam, Self-­Knowledge for Humans; John M. Doris, Talking to Ourselves: Refection, Ignorance, and Agency (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015); David Dunning, Self-­Insight: Roadblocks and Detours on the Path to Knowing Tyself (New York: Psychology Press, 2005); Russell T. Hurlburt & Eric Schwitzgebel, Describing Inner Experience? Proponent Meets Skeptic (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007); Daniel Kahneman, Tinking, Fast and Slow (London: Penguin, 2011); Richard  E.  Nisbett & Timothy  D.  Wilson, ‘Telling More Tan We Can Know: Verbal Reports on Mental Processes’, Psychological Review 84(1977): 231–59; Wilson, Strangers to Ourselves; Timothy  D.  Wilson & Elizabeth  W.  Dunn, ‘Self-­ Knowledge: Its Limits, Values, and Potential for Improvement’, Annual Review of Psychology 55(2004): 493–518.

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178  GOOD LIVES overlain by the recreated version of events in my novel, Te Colour of Memory (1989). Te fction has coloured my memory to such an extent that it is nearly impossible for me to get at the literal truth of what occurred.65

Dyer goes on partially to reconstruct his life at the time from his contemporary diary. Sometimes he is prompted to remember. Sometimes he breaks his own codes to work out what happened without remembering. Sometimes he is thwarted:

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‘C + S!!! at Alison’s’, for example. I can’t remember who Alison was.66

It’s particularly important here that we are also ignorant of our conditions of success: we don’t immediately know what pleases us or makes us happy; or what would be fulflling or satisfying; or what we would fnd in ourselves if we tried to develop it or if it were woken by lucky circumstance. Te problem of living well is as much a problem of fnding out what that would be as it is a problem of achieving it. To be clear: I am not claiming that we can’t examine ourselves, or that we should give up on the metaphor of the ‘inward glance’.67 On the contrary, I think we can and do turn our attention on ourselves in various ways: self-­explanation, self-­justifcation, self-­enjoyment. In general, some of our investigative powers have refexive forms. What I am claiming is that the range and accuracy of these refexive forms is limited, such that introspection is, as a matter of contingent fact, a bad way of coming to know ourselves.

65  Geof Dyer, ‘Sacked’ in Working the Room (Edinburgh: Canongate, 2010), pp. 321–33, p. 321. 66  Dyer, ‘Sacked’, p. 329. 67 Cassam, Self-­Knowledge for Humans, chapter 10. For philosophical scepticism about the possibility of the inward glance, see Gareth Evans, Te Varieties of Reference ed. John McDowell (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982). For psychological scepticism about its range and powers, see Paul  J.  Silvia & Guido  H.  E.  Gendolla, ‘On Introspection and Self-­Perception: Does Self-­ Focused Attention Enable Accurate Self-­ Knowledge?’, Review of General Psychology 5(2001): 241–69.

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61 Te Objective Stance Is an Incomplete Method of Self-­Discovery Tese arguments might push us to the other end of a scale, to objective means of gaining self-­knowledge. We might think:

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If I want to know an ammonite fossil, I should investigate it as one example of its type, ammonite fossils. I should look into its constitution, behaviour, and causal history, what others have discovered by investigating other examples of the type, and so on. And similarly, if I want to know myself, I should look into my constitution, behaviour, and causal history, what others have discovered by investigating other humans, and so on. Tis is no diferent in form from any other objective investigation of some thing in the world. Tat is, I should approach myself via contemporary records, comparative biography, history, psychology, biology, medicine (I don’t mean to equate these diferent disciplines and forms of investigation, just to make a broad point about what a third-­personal approach to investigating myself might be like). Timothy Wilson argues that Many people learn about their bodies by reading about medical research, such as studies on the dangers of tobacco, saturated fat, and ultraviolet radiation. Given that we have no direct, privileged access to how our pulmonary or cardiovascular systems work, we are at the mercy of such outside sources of information to inform us about how things like smoking tobacco infuence our health. I suggest that the

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same is true in the psychological realm. People can learn a lot about themselves from reading reports of controlled psychological studies.68

Any reasonably comprehensive autobiography must involve some use of the objective stance because memory is inadequate for recollection. I have already noted Dyer’s reliance on a contemporary diary, and he’s not unusual in that. But there are autobiographies which make much more than typical use of this stance: Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance investigates Pirsig’s own pre-­breakdown self as a separate character, ‘Phaedrus’, whom Pirsig can’t remember being and must reconstruct from outside.69 Taking up an objective stance on oneself isn’t a mistake in the way that relying on introspection would be, but it is incomplete on its own, and it isn’t the whole of my project here. I am interested in the ways of gaining self-­ knowledge which are revealed in autobiography, which mostly speak to diferent features of the self than objective methods. Tat is, I am interested in what I have called agential self-­knowledge, between the very limited self-­knowledge to be gained by introspection, and the extensive but third-­personal self-­knowledge to be gained by investigating oneself as one object among others in the world. Tis knowledge is ‘agential’ in being frst-­personal but derived—as I shall argue—from interaction with and recruitment of the world by agents who encounter themselves as unchosen, initially opaque, and seedlike. I now begin my argument for the frst of my example methods for gaining such self-­knowledge: pleasure as self-­discovery.

68 Wilson, Strangers to Ourselves, pp. 183–4. 69 Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (London: Bodley Head, 1974).

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62 Pleasure as Self-­Discovery

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Edmund Gosse was ten before he read a novel, and its efect on him was overwhelming: It is remarkable that among our books, which amounted to many hundreds, I had never discovered a single work of fction until my Father himself revealed the existence of Michael Scott’s wild masterpiece. So little did I understand what was allowable in the way of literary invention that I began the story without a doubt that it was true, and I think it was my Father himself who, in answer to an inquiry, explained to me that it was ‘all made up’. He advised me to read the descriptions of the sea, and of the mountains of Jamaica, and ‘skip’ the pages which gave imaginary adventures and conversations. But I did not take his counsel; these latter were the fower of the book to me. I had never read, never dreamed of anything like them, and they flled my whole horizon with glory and with joy . . . It was like giving a glass of brandy neat to some one who had never been weaned from a milk diet . . . I must not defne too clearly, nor endeavour too formally to insist on the blind movements of a childish mind. But of this I am quite sure, that the reading and re-­reading of Tom Cringle’s Log did more than anything else, in this critical eleventh year of my life, to give fortitude to my individuality, which was in great danger—I now see—of succumbing to the pressure my Father brought to bear upon it from all sides. My soul was shut up, like Fatima, in a tower to which no external infuences could come, and it might really have been starved to death, or have lost the power of recovery and rebound, if my captor, by some freak not yet perfectly accounted for, had not gratuitously opened a little window in it and added a powerful telescope.70 70 Gosse, Father and Son, pp. 170–2. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0062

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In these sections, I will argue that Gosse’s liberating joy, together with a parallel example from the life of John Stuart Mill, reveal one of the various ways in which we can gain self-­knowledge. Pleasure is sometimes a mode of self-­discovery: what one takes pleasure in can diagnose her latent individual capacities, and therefore her individual good. John Stuart Mill was almost destroyed by a crisis in which his life lost its point and savour, but his joy in love and poetry directed him out of despair. Edmund Gosse was recovered to himself out of afectionate oppression by delight in literature. Mill’s description of his crisis is revealing about his own value theory, and especially about the extent to which he is really a hedonist.71 But their experiences, recollected, refected on, and narrated in Mill’s Autobiography and Gosse’s Father & Son, are also important for the question I am pursuing here. To work towards uncovering what exactly they reveal about the sources of selfknowledge, I shall describe the two crises, consider four accounts of what we should learn from them, and use working through them to motivate the fourth. I begin by introducing my two cases.

71  Clark, ‘Love, Poetry, and the Good Life’.

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63 John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography

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John Stuart Mill (‘Mill’ from now on) was the son of James Mill, the philosophic radical, crusading journalist, East India Company ofcial, and friend of Jeremy Bentham. James Mill and Bentham were advocates of the ‘greatest happiness principle, which Mill later dubbed ‘utilitarianism’, and Mill was educated intensively, at home, to be best possible advocate for that principle and for the radical social change it demanded. He was reading Greek by the age of three and writing histories of Rome by six, but he took no holidays, played no games, and had no friends his own age. By his twenties, he was an incredibly active lobbyist and public intellectual. But then he had a ‘mental crisis’, the trigger for which was when he asked himself: ‘Suppose that all your objects in life were realized; that all the changes in institutions and opinions which you are looking forward to, could be completely efected at this very instant: would this be a great joy and happiness to you?’ And an irrepressible self-­ consciousness distinctly answered: ‘No!’ At this my heart sank within me: the whole foundation on which my life was constructed fell down . . . I seemed to have nothing lef to live for.72

Mill recovered from his crisis, but afer his recovery he had diferent and more complex life-­ goals. He still thought that the purpose and justifcation of action was good life for individual human beings. But the things which made his life worth living again—poetry, especially Wordsworth’s nature poetry, and meeting his eventual wife Harriet Taylor—now seemed much more important parts of the good life for him than they had before. 72 Mill, Autobiography, p. 139. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0063

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Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son Edmund Gosse was the son of Philip and Emily Gosse: Philip was a naturalist and popular lecturer, ‘the David Attenborough of his day’;73 Emily was a painter, poet, and writer of evangelical tracts; they were founding members of a primitivist Christian group, the Plymouth Brethren. Emily Gosse died slowly and painfully of cancer when Gosse was seven, and he was then raised by his father to be a saint, or at least to be saved according to Emily’s strange and now unchallengeable lights. Gosse—imaginative, self-­conscious, emotionally sensitive—eventually found this afectionate and well-­ meaning oppression impossible to live with. An early crux of resistance, described in his memoir Father & Son, was when he frst read fction: one of the many dogmas of Gosse’s childhood was that telling or reading stories was sinful, and he was ten before he read a novel, Michael Scott’s long-­forgotten adventure story Tom Cringle’s Log. I began these sections with his delighted reaction. Gosse gradually escaped from his father’s control: in later life he was a famous poet, literary critic, and journalist; an early champion of Ibsen, Kipling, and Yeats; and a close friend of Henry James, Hardy, and Swinburne. As his biographer Ann Twaite draws him, the adult Gosse was a brilliant talker, sympathetic and sensuous, charming and funny, needing company, needing to be liked, and delighted with literature, gossip, his wife and children, and his famous friends. Also gloomy, touchy, snobbish, apolitically conservative, and not quite a great poet despite immense ambition, knowledge, and technical skill.74

73  Stephen Jay Gould, ‘Adam’s Navel’ in Te Flamingo’s Smile: Refections in Natural History (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1985), pp. 99–113, p. 100. 74  Ann Twaite, Edmund Gosse: A Literary Landscape 1849–1928 (London: Martin Secker & Warburg, 1984). Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0064

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Lessons from Mill and Gosse An obvious point to take from these two crises, and their place in these two lives and autobiographies, is about the importance of choice. According to what I will call voluntarism, the self is an agent and the good life is the life of freedom, where to be free is to be bound only by one’s own choices. So, the move from a bad to a good life is an escape from any demand arising from anything but my own choices. On this reading, neither Mill nor Gosse consented to his upbringing—they were too young to choose it—each therefore rightly rejected it as a tyrannous imposition, and each discovered his good in a diferent, self-­chosen life. But this is inadequate in two ways. First, and in general, the fact that someone can be too young to consent suggests that some features of the self and its good life cannot be expressions or products of consent. In particular, the vital capacity to choose cannot itself be chosen, since it has to be developed out of its lack. Second, the voluntarist reading is at odds with Mill and Gosse’s own particular experiences, and with what they went on to do. Mill did not give up his position at the East India Company to write poetry in the Lake District; he and Harriet did not elope. Gosse was as ambitious as his father was to explain his work to the reading and listening public. Each accepted and built on a great deal of his upbringing, consensual or not, as everyone has to. Neither Mill’s crisis and eventual recovery, nor Gosse’s revelatory delight in stories, were primarily to do with consent or its absence: they were matters of self-­discovery and the demands of an unchosen individual self. It may seem perverse to claim that Mill, who wrote that ‘over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign’,75 was not a

75  John Stuart Mill, On Liberty in John M. Robson ed., Collected Works of John Stuart Mill volume XVIII: Essays on Politics & Society 1 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press/London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977), pp. 213–310, p. 224. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0065

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186  GOOD LIVES voluntarist, and Gosse similarly asserts ‘a human being’s privilege to fashion his inner life for himself ’.76 But it’s worth remembering why Mill endorses individual sovereignty: because the self-­expressive individual has a life that goes better for her than if she were crushed and distorted by following convention, until ‘by dint of not following their own nature, they have no nature to follow: their human capacities are withered and starved.’77 Similarly, what Gosse found wrong with being fashioned by his father rather than by himself was that:

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Certain portions of my intellect were growing with unwholesome activity, while others were stunted, or had never stirred at all. I was like a plant on which a pot has been placed, with the efect that the centre is crushed and arrested, while shoots are straggling up to the light on all sides.78

In both cases, voluntarism fails to catch the importance of the expression of nature as against its distortion, constraint, or self-­abnegation. I am not saying that choice is unimportant. I am saying that an exclusive focus on choice does not catch the insights into human life and self-­knowledge available from Mill and Gosse. Tese considerations might lead us instead, second, to take a stoic lesson from these two autobiographies (I use ‘stoic’ only as a handy label—I don’t mean to make any ambitious interpretive claims about ancient stoicism). For the stoic, the good life—the life of real freedom and obligation—is the acceptance of necessity. Te wise person plays the part given to her by providence or chance as best she can, and does not try to second-­guess its author. Stephen Clark criticizes the voluntarist account of human success as the rich adolescent male fantasy of freedom as unlimited power, bound only by one’s own choices. Against this fantasy, Clark ofers the philosophical pagan argument that successful human adulthood has its roots in the demands of nature not in choice. Not all obligations are contractual: the demands a person needs to feel and be subject to are not only the demands he himself makes of himself; 76 Gosse, Father and Son, p. 251. 78 Gosse, Father and Son, p. 211.

77 Mill, On Liberty, p. 265.

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Lessons from Mill and Gosse  187 we discover as well as create obligations.79 Growth into maturity is ‘coming-­to-­oneself ’ in the ‘para-­political’ life of friends, family, household, craf-­association, clan, and so on in widening circles. Freedom and obligation have their roots, not in choice, but in the demands of human nature—and especially in humans’ nature as creatures who, unlike many other kinds of creature, have both long dependent childhoods and deeply political adulthoods. If the stoic is right, then Mill and Gosse’s lives were failures, and the lesson we should take from them is a warning. Just as Mill was about to take up the responsibilities of adulthood in the East India Company and in leadership of the philosophic radical movement, he broke and turned to his own private and trivial passions. Gosse should have become a missionary as his parents wanted, but he wasted his powers in writing gossipy literary columns for the Daily Telegraph and pursuing lucrative lecture tours in the United States. Or perhaps, at least in Mill’s case, there is a more sympathetic reading available. Perhaps the stoic road to success is more complex than I have so far suggested: our local networks are embedded in wider circles of responsibility, and sometimes the shif to the next circle out is difcult and traumatic. Mill’s crisis, then, was a breakthrough from a too-­narrow circle into a larger one. It was his frst step into his eventual adulthood as an open-­minded reformer speaking to the whole public through his writings, rather than a narrow sectarian speaking only to fellow enthusiasts.80 Tere is some truth in this version of the stoic lesson, but it does not catch everything. In particular, it explains neither Mill’s experience of losing his sense of his life’s direction, nor his experience of regaining it. It does not explain the developmental role of pleasure, of Mill’s losing his old pleasures and gaining new ones, or of Gosse’s overwhelming, revelatory joy at storytelling. So, perhaps the signifcance of pleasure and desire should point us in the direction of some mental state account of the good life: a hedonist account, or a hybrid account involving both pleasure and the satisfaction of desire, such as my desire and happiness account. Perhaps the good life

79 Stephen R. L. Clark, Civil Peace & Sacred Order (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), chapter 3. 80  Tis is how Richard Reeves reads the crisis in his John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand (London: Atlantic Books, 2007).

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188  GOOD LIVES as discovered by Mill and Gosse involves a mutually reinforcing relation between desire and pleasure. On this interpretation of Mill’s crisis and Gosse’s epiphany, they begin with one set of desires, to be a reformer of the world or a bringer of souls to Christ; they get pleasure from satisfying them; and, duly rewarded, they continue to desire those things. Ten, for whatever reason, the connection breaks: Mill can no longer get pleasure from his activism or Gosse from his pious witnessing, and so they lose themselves. Tey have ‘nothing lef to live for’. But then, luckily, they fnd some other desires and pleasures—love and poetry, stories—to sustain them. According to this third lesson, it does not matter what our desires are desires for, so long as we have some desires and take pleasure in their satisfaction. Desire is an arbitrary means to pleasure, where pleasure is some intrinsically positive state of mind. Te good life is the life where we want something, get it, and are pleased by it. Tat something could be what moved the adult Mill or Gosse, but it could equally be fame and fortune, or philosophic radicalism, or missionary work, or collecting stamps. Wanting and pleasure in getting are what matter, not what we want. Tis is importantly half-­right, at least in emphasizing a role for pleasure; but I also want to reject it, in favour of a fnal lesson. Te problem with this way of appealing to pleasure is that neither Mill nor Gosse understood his crux as just a move from one arbitrary set of pleasures to another: each experienced it as a liberation and as a self-­ revelation. Liberation from his father’s control and from the education which had shaped him; revelation of deep-­ rooted needs which had been starved by that education. According to this fnal, diagnostic lesson, Mill and Gosse have artifcial, alien desires which cannot sustain them. Mill’s ‘irrepressible self-­consciousness’ is a moment of self-­discovery which reveals not only the inadequacy of his current life, but the seeds of a better one in his individual self. Gosse’s pursuit of literature is a matter of vital self-­expression; it is the delighted release of elements of his inner self which had been caged and starved. Tis lesson is related to but distinct from the three possibilities I have rejected. In the frst place, this is not voluntarism: it is to do with freedom, if to be free is to be self-­directed rather than other-­directed,

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Lessons from Mill and Gosse  189 but it is not to do with choice. Te self which directs here imposes itself from inside. It is unchosen. In the second place, this diagnostic lesson is not stoic, in that it recognizes the importance of resistance. Te stoic is right, frst, that a fourishing adulthood of freedom and obligation depends on the acceptance of nature, not only on consent. But Mill’s nature and Gosse’s nature, which pulled against their ordained places in the world, revealed themselves through the medium of pleasure. Te stoic is also right that ‘I did not consent’ is not always the last word against some demand— sometimes my choice is irrelevant or outweighed by some other consideration. But lack of consent has historically been, and is still now, an important justifcation of resistance to oppression, and resistance to oppression is not something we can do without. Adult political and para-­political worlds are ofen corrupt, poisonous, hugely destructive of some or all of the people who are shaped by them. Consider the world of slaves and masters: to grow up into a life of slavery and slaveholding is to grow up broken. Tis is obvious in the case of slaves, whose central human capacities—for self-­ command, for forming equal adult relationships, for having a say in how their communal lives work—are systematically crushed and distorted by enslavement. Orlando Patterson argues that to be a slave is to be an outsider to the central networks of human life: to have had one’s ties of birth and allegiance deliberately cut; to be socially dead.81 Of course, slaves form their own networks against social death—from music-­making to surreptitious reading to insurrection to revolution.82 It is perhaps less obvious, but I think true, that to grow up a slaveholder is also to grow up broken: the master’s central capacities for imaginative sympathy and, again, for forming equal adult relationships are crushed and distorted. Te stoic has an important point, but she is only half right: some forms of social life are

81 Orlando Patterson, Slavery & Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982). 82 For a classic autobiographical account of individual resistance to enslavement, see Douglass, Narrative. For communal resistance, see for example C.  L.  R.  James, Te Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture & the San Domingo Revolution (new edn, London: Alison & Busby, 1980).

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190  GOOD LIVES disastrous, and we need some account of resistance and rebellion against our local families, friends, craf-­associations, and clans. Slavery is one example of this point, but there are also distorting and destructive forms of friendship or of parenthood, as demonstrated by James Mill or Philip Gosse. Te self which is revealed through pleasure, and which justifes resistance, is seedlike in having latent capacities which must be nurtured, or may be crushed, by favourable or oppressive circumstances. In the third place, this is not hedonism: pleasure is important, but its role is not to be the currency of the good life. I am not saying that the goodness of the rebellious expression of one’s own inner self is the pleasure it gives: I am claiming that this particular pleasure is diagnostic, not constitutive, of one’s own good, in much the same way that pain is diagnostic of damage, fear is diagnostic of danger, or sorrow is diagnostic of loss. Pleasure is therefore signifcant here, but capacitized: the pleasures Mill and Gosse feel are the expression of beneceptive capacities identifying latent capacities as needing to be realized. Without that realization, Mill and Gosse could not live good lives. Te pleasure that Mill takes in the love and poetry which allow him to escape despair, or that Gosse takes in his imaginative engagement with Tom Cringle’s Log, is a perception of these things’ goodness for them, a perception of their roles in a good life. Pleasure therefore identifes goals of resistance and rebellion against their particular, local networks of obligation. Mill’s pleasure in Wordsworth’s poetry, for instance, is a perception of a demand of his true self, the root of a demand which is unchosen, but which can properly stand as Mill’s own against the goals imposed on him by James Mill and by Bentham. Pleasure discovers the initially opaque self and its good, which is self-­realization not pleasure. Summing up so far: voluntarism, stoicism, and hedonism ofer variously inadequate lessons to take from Mill and Gosse. I have argued that their autobiographies identify and make vivid a distinctive pleasure, a revelatory joy, which diagnoses their individual good lives by revealing them to themselves as having unchosen, initially opaque, seedlike selves which demand to be uncovered, developed, and expressed. Tat is, that pleasure leads them to one of the various kinds of self-­knowledge. An objection: couldn’t this just be an idiosyncrasy of Mill and Gosse’s odd and extended childhoods, or even just a polemical feature of how

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Lessons from Mill and Gosse  191 they chose to represent those childhoods forty years afer the fact? If so, that would still be an interesting discovery about two individuals’ attempts at self-­knowledge, but I claim wider human signifcance for the point. We have learned something important about self-­discovery in general: that one of our means of gaining self-­knowledge is self-­revelatory pleasure, and that the self so revealed is unchosen, initially opaque, and seedlike, requiring realization. What I have argued in my reading of Mill and Gosse is that anyone’s pleasures can also be a method of gaining a particular kind of selfknowledge. What Gosse is describing in his frst encounter with fction is the delight of opening new eyes; what his pleasure reveals to him is a demanding liberation; and that is available to all of us. Gosse’s suddenly woken capacity and Mill’s gradual recovery from despair move their lives onto new tracks towards self-­realization. Tis is a motivation for resistance and self-­realization experienced as a peculiar and distinctive pleasure, and the medium of self-­perception of the woken capacity is that pleasure. Our pleasures, too, are diagnostic of our individual good understood as self-­realization. Pleasure is a method of self-­discovery which identifes what is missing or undeveloped in us, and points and pulls us towards better lives. Summing up again, revelatory pleasure is a non-­narrative method of gaining a particular kind of self-­knowledge: knowing what is in me and must be realized if I am to live well, which is my unchosen, initially opaque, seedlike self. Pleasure can be self-­discovery.

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Asceticism My argument that pleasure is self-­discovery is a defence of realism about self-­knowledge, and thereby an argument against my third narrativist view, that the self is a self-­interpretation. But I aim to argue for pluralist realism about self-­knowledge. Self-­revelatory pleasure is only one of a range of methods for coming to know oneself. Tere are many such methods, but the one I want to explore here is asceticism. Asceticism in my sense is a widespread and internally various form of human life lived by soldiers, solo travellers, and adventurers as well as by monks, nuns, and hermits. Examples of ascetic autobiographies then include Tomas Merton’s Te Seven Storey Mountain, Georges Dreyfus’s Te Sound of Two Hands Clapping, Tim O’Brien’s If I Die in a Combat Zone, Paul Fussell’s Doing Battle, Robert Kull’s Solitude, Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Apsley Cherry-­Garrard’s Te Worst Journey in the World, James Salter’s Burning the Days, Henry David Toreau’s Walden, Peter Matthiessen’s Te Snow Leopard, Alice Koller’s Te Stations of Solitude, and Bernard Moitessier’s Te Long Way.83 Historically common ways of being an ascetic, which these autobiographies display and investigate, can usefully be divided into two types. First, regular asceticism, in which you join a rule-­ governed commons community—an army, a monastery—dedicated to spiritual and bodily discipline (Dreyfus, Salter). Second, solitary asceticism, which can itself take several forms—homesteading asceticism, in which you live alone, embedded economically but not socially (Koller, Toreau); 83 Tomas Merton, Te Seven Storey Mountain (London: Sheldon Press, 1975); Georges  B.  J.  Dreyfus, Te Sound of Two Hands Clapping: Te Education of a Tibetan Monk (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Robert Kull, Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes—A Year Alone in the Patagonia Wilderness (Novato: New World Library, 2008); Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (London: Cape, 1975); James Salter, Burning the Days: Recollection (London: Picador, 2014); Henry David Toreau, Walden; Or, Life in the Woods (New York: Dover, 1995); Peter Matthiessen, Te Snow Leopard (London: Penguin, 1996). Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0066

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Asceticism  193

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eremitic asceticism, in which you retreat to meditation and simplicity on your own, although perhaps supported by a hands-­of institution (Kull, Merton); and nomadic asceticism, in which you detach yourself from ordinary life by travelling (Moitessier, Matthiessen). Tese ideal types can combine and overlap, and one can shif into another for any particular ascetic. What do these various examples have in common, despite their variety? Teir subjects disconnect from their ordinary lives and are changed by that disconnection, by what they then do, and by what then happens to them. Tat is, the paradigmatic features of asceticism are disengagement and training. Disengagement means that ascetics give up, or remove themselves from, or are pulled out of, some signifcant part of ordinary life: care of the body, desire, pleasure, family, home, marriage, children, gender, bureaucratic position, social standing, wealth, power, self-­ direction, unchosen commitments.84 Alice Koller describes her ‘unbinding’ from her mother: Long afer I was able to free myself from the stranglehold she had on me, long afer I had cut myself of from her so totally that she had been dead three months without my knowing it until an attorney wrote to notify me, I’d wonder in an idle moment why she had lied so ofen, so seemingly capriciously. But I never bothered to press the inquiry: it mattered so little.85

Disengagement is not all-­ or-­ nothing: one can be disengaged to greater or lesser degrees, and engaged in some ways while disengaged in others. Ascetic disengagement can therefore be more or less extreme.86

84  See for example Peter Brown, ‘Te Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity’, Te Journal of Roman Studies 61(1971): 80–101; Gillian Clark, ‘Women and Asceticism in Late Antiquity: Te Refusal of Status and Gender’ in Body and Gender, Soul and Reason in Late Antiquity (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 33–48; Steven Collins, ‘Monasticism, Utopias and Comparative Social Teory’, Religion 18(1988): 101–35. 85 Koller, Stations of Solitude, p. 19. ‘Unbinding’ is the title of Koller’s frst chapter. 86  I take the term ‘disengagement’ from Philip Koch, Solitude: A Philosophical Encounter (Chicago: Open Court, 1994), although I give it a wider sense.

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194  GOOD LIVES Training—Greek askesis—means that ascetics work to physically, intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually improve, transform, complete, or even overthrow themselves; or are worked by others to do so. We could also call this education, which more obviously catches the important point that the teacher who trains the ascetic need not be the ascetic herself. Asceticism is training of the self, but not necessarily by the self. Philip Caputo recalls joining the United States Marine Corps in 1960:

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THE MARINE CORPS BUILDS MEN was another slogan current at the time, and on November 28, I became one of its construction projects . . . Te frst six weeks, roughly the equivalent of enlisted boot camp, were spent at Camp Upshur, a cluster of quonset huts and tin-­walled buildings set deep in the woods. Te monastic isolation was appropriate because the Marine Corps, as we quickly learned, was more than a branch of the armed services. It was a society unto itself, demanding total commitment to its doctrines and values, rather like one of those quasi-­religious military orders of ancient times, the Teutonic Knights or the Teban Band. We were novitiates, and the rigourous training, administered by high priests called drill instructors, was to be our ordeal of initiation.87

Like disengagement, training is not all-­or-­nothing. One can train more or less intensely and more or less of the time; one’s training can focus on some things rather than others, and on diferent things at diferent times. And like disengagement, ascetic training can therefore be more or less extreme. Tis is a deliberately minimal, and therefore broadly inclusive, account of asceticism. As with other radial concepts already discussed— autobiography, narrative—I don’t intend these paradigmatic features as necessary and sufcient conditions. Teir point is to pick out what some lives have in common, and to identify ways in which lives can be more or less ascetic.

87 Caputo, Rumor of War, pp. 7–8.

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Asceticism  195 My broad account, unlike some more narrowly focussed accounts,88 does not require that asceticism is further voluntary, religious, or selfnegating, although of course some particular asceticisms will be some or all of these. I don’t require that asceticism be voluntary because I think that martial asceticism is interesting and important, and many soldiers have been conscripts. Tim O’Brien was drafed to fght in Vietnam, but his experience was importantly one of disengagement and training. O’Brien’s and other conscript autobiographies valuably display and explore asceticism and its relations to the self and the good life. Tis means that deliberate and voluntary renunciation is one important kind of disengagement, but not the only kind, and that renouncers are not the only ascetics. Second, I don’t require that asceticism be religious, for the same reason: modern martial life is not a form of religious life in any ordinary sense of that term, even though it is in some ways analogous to religious lives. But martial autobiographies still valuably display and reason through the experiences of disengagement and training. Tere are historical connections between martial and specifcally Western monastic religious asceticism: early Christian monasteries were modelled on the organization and camps of the Roman army.89 But that just shows the similarities between religious and non-­religious forms of asceticism, and supports my point. Tird, I don’t require that asceticism be self-­negating. Self-­negation is that kind of refexivity in which I turn one of my powers destructively on itself: I use my will to extinguish my will, my freedom to remove my freedom. It is characteristic of, especially, some religious asceticisms, in which the goal is to overthrow or eliminate the self.90 But I am interested in lives where the aim of disengagement and training is self-­knowledge, not, or not only, self-­negation.

88 For example Gavin Flood, Te Ascetic Self: Subjectivity, Memory and Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). 89 Philip Rousseau, Pachomius: Te Making of a Community in Fourth-­ Century Egypt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999). 90 Flood, Te Ascetic Self.

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196  GOOD LIVES

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Asceticism in this broad sense addresses my two central questions in this book, about the self and about the good life. Ascetism engages the self, by pulling it out of its social web and various personae, by trying to bring it to light, and by trying to remake it. It can also aim at the good life, among other goals. Te aim of some particular asceticism may be to make its practitioner’s life better, or complete, or a success. But it needn’t be. Ascetics can also train and be trained to be useful to others, and this may be in tension with their own good life. Becoming an efective soldier in a just cause, for example, might be bad for you even if vital for those you fght for. I now consider my two types of asceticism as self-­d iscovery individually, before returning to asceticism in general.

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67 Enlistment as Self-­Discovery

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As with pleasure as self-­discovery, I’ll use a particular autobiographical argument as a way into more general claims. James Salter (10 June 1925–19 June 2015) was an American army ofcer, military pilot, and writer. He joined the United States Army as an ofcer cadet in 1942 and served until 1957, just missing active service in the Second World War but fying more than a hundred combat missions in the Korean War. He’s best remembered for the novels Light Years and Te Hunters (the latter of which was made into a flm starring Robert Mitchum), but I’ll focus here on his autobiography, Burning the Days. Here’s Salter arriving at West Point in July 1942: It was the hard school, the forge. To enter you passed, that frst day, into an inferno. Demands, many of them incomprehensible, rained down. Always at rigid attention, hair freshly cropped, chin withdrawn and trembling, barked at by unseen voices, we stood or ran like insects from one place to another, two or three times to the Cadet Store, returning with piles of clothing and equipment. Some had the courage to quit immediately, others slowly failed. Someone’s roommate, on the third trip to the store, hadn’t come back but had simply gone on and out the gate a mile away. Tat afernoon we were formed up in new uniforms and marched to Trophy Point to be sworn in.91

Tis is one instance of a familiar account of martial life: enlistment and basic training are typically represented as reforging, in autobiographies including O’Brien’s If I Die in a Combat Zone, Caputo’s A Rumor of War, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, and Karl Marlantes’s What it is Like to Go to

91 Salter, Burning the Days, p. 47. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0067

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198  GOOD LIVES War,92 as well as in wider culture. Anyone who’s seen Full Metal Jacket, or An Ofcer and a Gentleman, or Tigerland, or any of a number of other flms in their genre, will recognize it. Enlistment reshapes individuals to have goals and self-­understandings they wouldn’t otherwise have. To be initiated into such an institution is to be radically changed by external forces and the internal forces they provoke. Later in his West Point career, Salter says,

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I was undergoing a conversion, from a self divided and consciously inferior . . . to one that was unifed and . . . right . . . Tere were images of the struggle in the air on every side, the fghter pilots back from missions deep into Europe, rendezvous times still written in ink on the backs of their hands, gunners with shawls of bullets over their shoulders, grinning and risky . . . I saw them, I saw myself, in the rattle and thunder of takeof, the world of warm cots, cigarettes, stand-­downs, everything that had mattered falling away . . . More than anything I felt the desire to be rid of the undistinguished past, to belong to nothing and to no one beyond the war. At the same time I longed for the opposite, country, family, God, perhaps not in that order. In death I would have them or be done with the need; I would be at last the other I yearned to be.93

Conversion goes along with experiences of resistance and recognition. In his frst year at West Point, Salter is nearly the worst cadet in the school, continually bumping up against and inefectually resisting the institution. He experiences it as completely wrong for him, an ugly, oppressive, shaming intrusion. Many other recruits have had the same experience: Tim O’Brien also describes it vividly, as I will discuss in a moment. Unlike O’Brien, Salter does eventually fnd a connection to martial life in the Romantic ideal of the company commander described in a German military science text:

92 J. D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: a Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (London: William Collins, 2016); Karl Marlantes, What it is Like to Go to War (London: Corvus, 2012). 93 Salter, Burning the Days, pp. 70–1.

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Enlistment as Self-­D iscovery  199 Tis youthful but experienced fgure was nothing less than a living example to each of his men. Alone, half obscured by those he commanded, similar to them but without their faults, self-­disciplined, modest, cheerful, he was at the same time both master and servant, each of admirable character. His real authority was not based on shoulder straps or rank but on a model life which granted the right to demand anything from others.94

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Siegfried Sassoon, for just one other example, had similar ideals. For Salter, this fgure isn’t just a hero to admire or to emulate, it’s a delighted self-­recognition: I knew this hypothetical fgure. I had seen him as a schoolboy, latent among the sixth formers, and at times had caught a glimpse of him at West Point. Stroke by stroke, the description of him was like a portrait emerging. I was almost afraid to recognise the face. In it was no self-­importance; that had been thrown away, we are beyond that, stripped of it. When I read that among the desired traits of the leader was a sense of humor that marked a balanced and indomitable outlook, when I realized that every quality was one in which I instinctively had faith, I felt an overwhelming happiness, like seeing a card you cannot believe you are lucky enough to have drawn, at this moment, in this game. I did not dare to believe it but I imagined, I thought, I somehow dreamed, the face was my own.95

Tis is Salter’s individual response as a singular human being, but it maps to some common human possibilities of response to trans­form­ ation by enlistment and basic training, that is by joining a regular ascetic institution: experiences of deep unfttingness or of deep fttingness, or of both sequentially, which lead to recognizing something as ‘my own’. Like the pleasure I considered in §Lessons from Mill and Gosse, these are experiences of self-­discovery: of self-­revelation, of revealing something about the subject of initiation to themselves through how they react to

94 Salter, Burning the Days, p. 68.

95 Salter, Burning the Days, p. 69.

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200  GOOD LIVES that initiation and what it forces them to fnd in themselves. Sometimes, such regular ascetic institutions are explicitly recruited as means of selfrevelation—Sassoon volunteered to fnd out whether he was just the drone he appeared to be—but even when they’re not—Salter joined up just to please his father—that is one of the things these institutions do to us. Tey’re a method of self-­discovery by probing for fttingness, unfttingness, and other responses. Tis method of self-­discovery has three common features which distinguish it from other methods: First, collective action and passion: regular ascetics act together to achieve things none of them could on their own—the D-­Day landings, for example—and they are subject as a group to events and systems— the decrees of an Abbot, for example. Tis ofen causes regulars to develop a sense of solidarity with each other and distinction from nonregulars. Tey can say to each other ‘we were there, we did this, we had that happen to us’, and can say to outsiders ‘you weren’t, and didn’t’. Second, living under rule: regular ascetics live together under a written law, whether the Rule of St Benedict or the Armed Forces Act 2006. Tey are in that sense equals—equal under the law—and again distinguished from outsiders with diferent or no rule. Tird, comradeship: regular ascetics are comrades, which is a relationship best understood by contrast with friendship. Tim O’Brien’s memoir of being drafed and fghting as an infantryman in Vietnam, If I Die in a Combat Zone, makes this contrast vivid. O’Brien hated his training and hated the army, as an attack on his individuality, conscience, and intelligence. Te one thing which made it barely tolerable was his friend Erik: Erik talked about poetry and philosophy and travel. But he talked about soldiering, too. We formed a coalition. It was mostly a coalition against the army, but we aimed also at the other trainees. Te idea, loosely, was to preserve ourselves. It was a two-­man war of survival, and we fought like guerillas, jabbing in the lance, drawing a trickle of army blood, running like rabbits. We hid in the masses. Right under their bloodshot eyes. We exposed them, even if they were blind and deaf to it. It was a war of resistance; the objective was to save our souls. Sometimes it meant hiding the remnants of conscience and

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Enlistment as Self-­D iscovery  201

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consciousness behind battle cries, pretended servility, bare, clench-­fsted obedience. Our private conversations were the cornerstone of the resistance, perhaps because talking about basic training in careful, honest words was by itself an insult to army education. Simply to think and talk and try to understand was evidence that we were not cattle or machines.96

Tat is: for O’Brien, friendship was resistance to the soldier’s corrupting life, and in particular, resistance to comradeship, to joining in with his fellow trainees. O’Brien understands comradeship as one of the ways in which to become a soldier is to corrupt one’s humanity, and as closely connected with other corruptions actively pursued in basic training: destruction of individuality and privacy; shaping by others rather than moral identity; replacement of thoughtful self-­command with habit; normalization of both doing and being subject to violence; deadening of moral inhibition, sympathy, and pity; demotion of others to categories not worthy of respect—the civilian and the enemy; promotion of an exclusive esprit de corps—we are a special breed, they are beneath contempt. Comradeship and friendship are similar in that both involve afection, even love. But they are distinct in three ways. First, friendship is intimate where comradeship is public: it’s important for Tim and Erik that their conversations are hidden, and their sergeant takes vast and homophobic ofence at their hiding away and talking only to each other. Second, friendship is one-­to-­one where comradeship is one-­to-­many or even many-­to-­many. Tird, friends are chosen where comrades are thrown together. Tey are more like fellow citizens or family members than like friends. We don’t get to pick them for ourselves, we just fnd ourselves in barracks with a platoon.97 Summing up so far: enlistment in a regular ascetic institution, characterized by collective action and passion, living under rule, and comradeship, and contrasted with friendship, is a method of self-­discovery. One way to fnd out about oneself is to join up.

96 O’Brien, If I Die in a Combat Zone, pp. 42–3. 97  Tis and the previous paragraph draw on Samuel Clark, ‘Under the Mountain: Basic Training, Individuality, and Comradeship’, Res Publica 19(2013): 67–79.

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68 Solitude as Self-­Discovery Te other kind of ascetic self-­discovery I want to explore here is solitude. Richard Proenneke, who spent thirty years living alone in a cabin he built by Twin Lakes in Alaska, says of his initial choice to go into solitude:

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I suppose . . . I was here to test myself. Not that I had never done it before, but this time it was to be a more thorough and lasting ­examination. What was I capable of that I didn’t know yet? Could I truly enjoy my own company for an entire year? And was I equal to everything this wild land could throw at me?98

My claim is that solitude is another method of self-­discovery, another way of coming to know oneself. It really is true that you can ‘fnd yourself ’ by taking yourself away from other people, as Proenneke attempted. I acknowledge that this is a commonplace, indeed I think that the fact that it is a commonplace is revealing.99 Solitude is a way of being alone, but not all being alone is solitude. Koller calls solitude ‘being alone well’.100 Philip Koch distinguishes solitude from loneliness, isolation, privacy, silence, and alienation, but still makes disengagement from other people its central feature.101 I will use ‘solitude’ to mark the distinctively ascetic kind of aloneness. Any of Koch’s kinds of aloneness could result from disengagement; solitude is 98  Richard Proenneke, Alone in the Wilderness (no place: Bob Swerer Productions, 2003), my transcription. See further http://www.dickproenneke.com/index.html (accessed 28 July 2017). 99  See such self-­help books as Michael Harris, Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World (New York: Random House, 2018). Googling ‘solitude and self-­discovery’ is also instructive. 100 Koller, Stations of Solitude, p. 4. 101 Koch, Solitude, chapter 2.

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Solitude as Self-­D iscovery  203 that disengagement which also aims at or brings about training, where, for example, loneliness is that disengagement which brings about longing for company. So, solitude in my sense is that distinctive kind of disengagement which educates the disengaged person, whether or not she intended it to, and whether or not she chose the disengagement. Autobiographies of solitude in this strong sense include Mary Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude, Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void, and Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire,102 as well as the already-­mentioned autobiographies of Robert Kull, Henry Toreau, Annie Dillard, Alice Koller, and Bernard Moitessier. Solitude can be used to pursue many things: freedom, adventure, creative work, peace, healing, refective perspective, self-­testing, selfmaking, authenticity, attunement to nature, distinction of needs from luxuries.103 I am interested here specifcally in solitaries who pursue or fnd self-­knowledge, and in the autobiographies they write. I’ll again use a particular autobiographical argument as a way into more general claims: Bernard Moitessier (10 April 1925–16 June 1994) grew up in what was then French Indochina. He learned to sail in trading junks and then on an attempted solo journey from Indonesia to France on his boat Marie-­Térèse. On that journey he was twice wrecked, and spent three years in Mauritius earning the money to reft his boat and continue. His frst book, Vagabond of the Sea, told that story and paid for another boat, Joshua. He and his new wife Françoise lef her children from a previous marriage in boarding schools and sailed around the world on Joshua from 1963 to 1966. Tey got home by passage around Cape Horn, described in Cape Horn: Te Logical Route. In 1968, Moitessier joined the Sunday Times Golden Globe non-­stop round-­the-­world solo yacht race. Other competitors included Donald

102  Mary Sarton, Journal of a Solitude (New York: Norton, 1973); Joe Simpson, Touching the Void (Harlow: Longman, 2010); Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (50th anniversary edn, London: William Collins, 2018). 103  Tis list draws on Koch, Solitude, and on John  D.  Barbour, Te Value of Solitude: Te Ethics and Spirituality of Aloneness in Autobiography (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2004).

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204  GOOD LIVES Crowhurst, who killed himself at sea afer trying to fake the trip, and Robin Knox-­Johnston, who, as the only competitor to fnish, won the race.104 Te Long Way is Moitessier’s account of his race. In some ways it’s a conventional sailing memoir: it’s precise about routes, distances, and speeds, has a lot to say about sailing technique, and has a technical appendix on rigging. But more importantly for my purposes, it is also an account of solitude. Moitessier might have won the race had he not decided to continue to sail on past Plymouth, making two-­thirds of a further round-­the-­world voyage before fnally landing in Tahiti. His disengagement and training in his long time alone displays solitude as self-­discovery. Moitessier’s progress begins with the felt necessity of disengagement:

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From then on, everything went very fast. I remember Françoise’s small face struggling vainly to keep the tears back. . . I was upset to see her cry. ‘Listen, we’ll be seeing each other again soon! Afer all, what is eight or nine months in a lifetime? Don’t give me the blues at a time like this!’ I felt such a need to rediscover the wind of the high sea, nothing else counted at that moment, neither earth nor men. All Joshua and I wanted was to be lef alone with ourselves.105

Te experience is less of choosing, than of fnding himself required, to go into solitude. Voluntarism is not an appropriate reading, but Moitessier doesn’t feel this requirement as an imposition or as alien. It’s his own self revealing itself in an inner voice: Suddenly, I thought very hard of my children. We had ofen talked about the voyage. Had I been able to make them understand, in those days when technical preparations called for all my mental and physical 104  Robin Knox-­Johnston, A World of My Own: Te First Ever Non-­stop Solo Round the World Voyage (London: Cassell, 1969); Nichols, A Voyage for Madmen; Nicholas Tomalin & Ron Hall, Te Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst (London: Hodder & Staunton, 1970); Louise Osmond & Jerry Rothwell, Deep Water (no place: Pathé, 2007). I owe the idea of investigating solitude through accounts of the Golden Globe race to Sara Maitland, A Book of Silence (London: Granta, 2008). 105 Moitessier, Te Long Way, p. 3.

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Solitude as Self-Discovery  205 resources? I think they felt the essential, and will know enough to obey their own inner voices.106

Te stoic could rightly castigate Moitessier for abandoning his central responsibilities, but the question here is about the good life, not about justifcation: I make no claim that Moitessier did right here, just that he is on the way to discovering his good. Moitessier’s disengagement takes time and isn’t smooth. He is jarred early in the voyage by a failed attempt at contact with locals on the Trinidad coast:

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Tese people are not going to move. Te one who ran into the house emerges with something in his hand. Quick—the binoculars: he is peering at me with his, but does not answer my friendly waves. It worries me.107

But he becomes more comfortable in his solitude over time, jettisoning unnecessary food and equipment—‘heave ho!’108—and then his interest in human contact: he fantasizes about getting rid of his radio, ‘transmitter, batteries, brain-­rattling generator, jerrycans of explosive gasoline, heave ho!—the whole bloody lot overboard, for a little peace and quiet.’109 Te voyage gradually turns from a race into a search for meaning out of the life Moitessier has so far lived: Everything hovering in the air of that time, the richest, most formative period of my life comes back to me with incredible clarity. I smell the aroma of wood oil that permeated it, the smell of the sugar jars during the sail back to Rach-­Gia, the slight noise of the sheet blocks, the creaking of the heavy battens. All that gave birth to Snark, my two Marie-­Térèses, and then Joshua and her search for a truth which I had

106 Moitessier, Te Long Way, p. 4. 108 Moitessier, Te Long Way, p. 32.

107 Moitessier, Te Long Way, p. 22. 109 Moitessier, Te Long Way, p. 61.

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206  GOOD LIVES perhaps lost, but which is gradually being reborn in the wake of the present trip.110

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As I have already argued in §Reductionism about Meaning, that search is initially for the relevant question: ‘And how about you, old man . . . what are you looking for?’111 What exactly is it that Moitessier has lost and fnds it necessary to look for in solitude? Answers to some of our questions of self-­knowledge: what’s best for me? How should I live? Tat is good life and justifcation. How can he get these answers? By selfexperimentation in the world, not by weak and potentially distorted introspection. Moitesser’s and other solitudes are marked by intense experiences of self-­perception and of expansion of the self into the world, but these can as easily be delusive as revelatory, with no internal mark to distinguish the two. Donald Crowhurst also thought he’d come to great knowledge in his loneliness, but the late diary entries in which he tries to record it are incoherent. More reliably, one can come to know oneself by fnding out what one does in solitude, not just what one, perhaps mistakenly, sees in oneself. What is revelatory about solitude is successful action on one’s own. Moitessier ofers two tentative answers to the questions of meaning. Te good life is perhaps the life of unrefective animal competence, of single-­mindedness: Life is wonderful when you can really live it, as animals do when only the present instant counts. I would like to caress the seals and penguins in the Galapagos. I listen to the sounds of the water, I read, I putter at odd jobs, I sleep a lot. But I listen to the sounds of the water all the time; puttering, sleeping, doing nothing. Te barometer is falling but it does not matter, all is well, everything has fallen into place.112

I will return to this vision of complete communion. But the right thing to do, in his circumstances, is to re-­engage, to make friends and to

110 Moitessier, Te Long Way, p. 72. 111 Moitessier, Te Long Way, p. 67, elision in original. 112 Moitessier, Te Long Way, p. 151.

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Solitude as Self-Discovery  207 defend natural environments and simple living against ‘the Monster’ of industrialization and capitalism. Although apparently, it’s not to re-­engage with Françoise and their children: he stayed in Tahiti and had a child with someone else, and the stoic could again rightly criticize him for that. Te Long Way peters out at this point with an ecstatic but barely coherent utopia:

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I dream of the day when a country of the modern world has an intensely simple president and barefoot ministers. I’d ask for citizenship right away . . . Te automobile manufacturers and munitions makers will call it an outrage to Freedom and Everything We Hold Sacred when they hear our anthem . . . but our earth would fnd herself again, as well as men. Our nation would not collect gold medals at the Olympics, but the gold medal supermen would listen to our anthem. And they would seek citizenship so as not to be superior any more. Ten the manufacturers of cars, and oil, and super giant planes, and bombs, and generals, and all-­the-­rest would gradually begin to feel that the turning has been fnally taken, that it is a thousand times truer to have men guided by heart and instinct than the twisted gimmicks of money and politics.113

Part of the vision here is that everyone could have what Moitessier had, solitary on Joshua: And when I go on deck at dawn, I sometimes shout my joy at being alive, watching the sky turning white above the long streaks of foam on this colossally powerful, beautiful sea, that tries to kill at times. I am alive, with all my being. Truly alive.114

Tis is not my account of the good life, because I think that for most humans, the capacities for synchronic and diachronic self-­conscious doubling must be realized for good life (I will defend this claim later). My aim here is not to defend Moitessier’s account, but to show that his

113 Moitessier, Te Long Way, p. 183.

114 Moitessier, Te Long Way, p. 171.

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208  GOOD LIVES

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solitude was a means of partial self-­discovery, and that his autobiography is a piece of reasoning about our concerns. Tat is, I am at least as much interested in the process of self-­discovery which Moitessier exemplifes, as in his particular discoveries about himself.

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Asceticism as Self-­Discovery Summing up: regular and solitary asceticisms are forms of self-­perception and, especially, self-­experimentation, leading to self-­discovery of an unchosen, initially opaque, seedlike self. Tat self-­ experimentation engages the world. We recruit institutions or the natural world to reveal ourselves to ourselves. What one fnds in a regular institution or in solitude can diagnose her individual capacities, her realizable self, and therefore her individual good. An obvious objection: what’s going on here could be people reinventing themselves in light of a self-­ideal (perhaps even a specifcally narrative self-­ideal), not people discovering something there in advance. Tink again of Salter’s company commander ideal. Or, thinking again as a stoic, we could read Moitessier just as rationalizing his abandonment of his family responsibilities. I reply: frst, the phenomenology here is of fnding not of making, and the experience is of testing one’s recalcitrant self against a recalcitrant world, not of invention. Tere is friction and resistance leading to discovery. Second, what’s discovered is sometimes far from ideal: part of Salter’s work in Burning the Days is a revelation and critique of himself as stupidly, destructively Romantic. Tird, we don’t have direct powers of self-­remaking like that: our self-­making, to the extent that we can make or remake ourselves, is indirect and world-­involving. So, although we can use regular and solitary asceticisms for deliberate self-­remaking, we don’t always—some asceticism discovers surprises about the self— and when we do, it’s an indirect, world-­involving form of self-­remaking against internal and external resistance, which is all we have ­available to us. So, summing up further: the two kinds of asceticism, like pleasure, are methods of self-­discovery. Tis further supports pluralist realism about self-­knowledge, and concludes my argument against the third

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narrativist view, that the self is a self-­interpretation. On the contrary, the self is unchosen, initially opaque, and seedlike, and we have world-­involving methods for discovering it. World-­involving pleasure and asceticism are ways to self-­knowledge just as scientifc experiments are ways to knowledge of the world.

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Pluralist Realism about Self-­Knowledge Te methods of self-­discovery I have picked out are examples, not anything like a complete list of all possible such kinds. Other examples ripe for investigation include resistance to oppression, parenthood, crisis, illness, mental disorder, family history, and craf as methods of selfdiscovery, explored in autobiographies including Frederick Douglass’s Narrative, Havi Carel’s Illness, Janet Frame’s An Angel at My Table, Doris Lessing’s Alfred and Emily, Matthew Crawford’s Te Case for Working with Your Hands, Edmund de Waal’s Te Hare with Amber Eyes, and Peter Korn’s Why We Make Tings and Why It Matters.115 I don’t intend to suggest that these methods are mutually exclusive. Distinguishing pleasure as self-­discovery from asceticism as self-­discovery and from other methods is a way of picking out diferent facets of complex individual processes of development. I conclude: frst, that a narrative self-­interpretation is, at best, one among many kinds of self-­knowledge, and not the most interesting to us. We can also gain knowledge of ourselves as unchosen, initially opaque things with distinctive seedlike capacities to be developed and expressed. Second, that narrative self-­interpretation is, at best, one among many ways we might gain self-­knowledge, and not the most efective. We can also and better gain knowledge of ourselves by revelatory pleasure, by ascetic solitude and regularity, and by various other world-­engaging methods.

115  Doris Lessing, Alfred and Emily (London: Fourth Estate, 2008); Matthew Crawford, Te Case for Working with Your Hands: Or Why Ofce Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Tings Feels Good (London: Viking, 2009); Edmund de Waal, Te Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance (London: Chatto & Windus, 2010); Peter Korn, Why We Make Tings and Why It Matters: Te Education of a Crafsman (London: Square Peg, 2015).

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So, we should be pluralists and realists about self-­knowledge. Te Delphic demand legitimately aims at self-­knowledge of many diferent real kinds, and we can pursue them using many diferent methods. Te running theme of the particular methods I’ve picked out is the centrality of self-­experimentation through action and experience. To learn about yourself, you need actually to do and to live through things: to turn outward rather than hermeneutically inward. Much self-­knowledge is agential.

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Self-­Knowledge and Self-­Realization Self-­realization is a frst-­order feature of a self in its life; self-­knowledge is a refexive feature, about that self. I may develop and express my capacity for empathy, for example, and I may further know about myself that I have done so, but these two achievements are distinct. I could be empathetic, and so self-­realized in that way, and so have a life which is going well for me in that way, without knowing any of these things about myself. But what is the general relation between self-­k nowledge and selfrealization? Can I or you or anyone completely self-­realize without self-­knowledge? I have read Bernard Moitessier as advocating the singleminded life, in which one has developed and expressed her latent ­capacities but doesn’t have the particular refexive relation of self-­knowledge: in which her capacities have been woken by lucky circumstance into successful single-­minded activity, but not into doubled consciousness. Perhaps this is an enviable life, to be always present in the moment without self-­judgement, anxiety, or felt lack. Perhaps it is the best kind of life. It is the life aimed at by many solitaries, not just by Moitessier, and is also vividly presented in such autobiographies as Robert Kull’s Solitude and Peter Matthiessen’s Te Snow Leopard: My foot slips on a narrow ledge: in that split second, as needles of fear pierce heart and temples, eternity intersects with present time. Tought and action are not diferent, and stone, air, ice, sun, fear, and self are one. What is exhilarating is to extend this acute awareness into ordinary moments, in the moment-­by-­moment experiencing of the lammergeier and the wolf, which, fnding themselves at the centre of things, have no need for any secret of true being.116 116 Matthiessen, Te Snow Leopard, p. 249. Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0071

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214  GOOD LIVES Tis is in some ways an attractive thought. But there are several reasons to think that no one can fully self-­realize without self-­knowledge, and therefore that the life without self-­knowledge is not the good life. To begin, consider the instrumental value of self-­ knowledge. In practice we usually need to know ourselves to be able to realize ourselves: the world isn’t so accommodating that we can do without self-­direction and planned efort to achieve self-­ realization, and we need selfknowledge to make rational plans for that direction and efort. Quassim Cassam’s view is that this is the only way in which self-­knowledge is valuable.117 But this doesn’t take us very far from single-­mindedness as the good life. In the frst place, on this picture it’s a contingent fact that self-­knowledge is usually needed to produce self-­realization, but in an ideal world perhaps it wouldn’t be. If we could organize ourselves better, or give up the desires which the world is awkward about satisfying, then we could gratefully give up on self-­knowledge, just as in a world without illness and aging we could gratefully give up on jogging and counting alcohol units, or in a world without scarcity we could gratefully give up on jobs and money. In the second place, there are also circumstances in which selfknowledge is worse for self-­realization than is self-­ignorance. If I know in advance how meagre my musical talent will turn out to be, I won’t bother to develop it, and my life will in that way go worse than if I  develop what little latent capacity I have (the way in which that ­development is good for me is the activity’s relation to my seedlike self, not the quality of its products compared to other music). And the expression of some capacities is hindered, rather than helped, by refexive grasp of the activity: single-­minded fow states sometimes better express capacity than self-­knowledgeable and therefore doubled states. My music might be more genuinely self-­expressive if I don’t know how mediocre it is, indeed if I don’t turn my refexive attention on it at all. Or for another example, consider the phenomenon of depressive realism: clinically depressed people may have a more accurate grasp of their own abilities and opportunities than do non-­depressed people, but this leads

117 Cassam, Self-­Knowledge for Humans, chapter 15.

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Self-­K nowledge and Self-­R ealization 

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to motivational paralysis, not to efective self-­realization.118 In general, it’s perhaps instrumentally better to be slightly unrealistically optimistic about oneself. But is self-­knowledge intrinsically, not only, sometimes, instrumentally valuable? One kind of argument for intrinsic value is what Eric Schwitzgebel calls an identity argument: that self-­knowledge is the same thing as, or a constituent part of, some other intrinsic value.119 Candidate values include rationality, authenticity, and the unity of one’s life. Cassam argues against all of these possibilities, and I can agree. Indeed, I have already argued that unity isn’t itself valuable, and so even if selfknowledge partly constitutes unity that wouldn’t make self-­knowledge valuable. But I do want to make a diferent, capacitizing identity argument for the value of self-­knowledge. I have already argued that the good life is self-­realization. I now argue that self-­knowledge is one part of self-­realization, and therefore, if the good life is intrinsically valuable, then self-­knowledge is intrinsically valuable. As I’ve already argued in §Experiential Objections to Self-­Realization, there are common human capacities for self-­ knowledge, and their development and expression is therefore part of self-­realization for all of us who share those common capacities. Unless the person with only unselfconscious animal competence is an unusual human, she is not self-­realized in this way, and her life is therefore going badly for her in this way. It may be going very well in other ways precisely because of her unselfconsciousness, and it may even be that it wouldn’t be worth the swap of gaining conscious self-­knowledge instead, but self-­knowledge is still valuable even if it’s outweighed by other, incompatible values. Further, the development and expression of the autobiographical powers of recollection, refection, and narration is itself self-­realization, and the expression of those developed powers tends to lead to selfknowledge. We might even want to say that if they don’t, then they aren’t really developed or expressed: can someone be fully refective without 118 Lauren  B.  Alloy & Lyn  Y.  Abramson, ‘Depressive Realism’ in Roy  F.  Baumeister & Kathleen  D.  Vohs eds, Encyclopedia of Social Psychology (2 vols, Tousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2007), vol. 1, pp. 242–3. 119  Eric Schwitzgebel, ‘Te Intrinsic Value of Self-­Knowledge’, 2015 draf, http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~eschwitz/SchwitzAbs/IntrinsicSelfK.htm.

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216  GOOD LIVES refecting successfully on herself and thereby coming to know herself? Consider again Matthiessen’s Te Snow Leopard, for example: it advocates single-­mindedness, but it does so via careful and brilliant doubleminded recollection, refection, and narration in pursuit of self-­knowledge. Finally, some unselfconscious competence is itself a distinctive kind of self-­knowledge, which we can call self-­knowledge how, following the general distinction between knowledge that (Kutna Hôra is a town in the Czech Republic, the atomic number of carbon is 12) and knowledge how (to ride a bike, to make an omelette). Self-­knowledge how is knowing how to handle oneself, how to act successfully in the world, and is possessed, for example, by the expert dancer, carpenter, or sailor. It is sometimes accompanied by conscious representation of oneself to oneself, but need not be. Expert performance involves self-­supervisory and refexive elements: the sailor must respond to feedback from her boat and the sea and continually monitor her responses to their responses to her responses, and so on. But it’s not required for that self-­supervision to go through conscious, propositional self-­knowledge that. I can know how to trim the sail without knowing the proposition that such-­and-­such is the correct way to trim it.120 Tat is: the self is initially opaque, as I have already argued. What I have added to that argument in this section is that making the self in various ways less opaque—bringing it to light—is part of the work of self-­realization, and that typical humans cannot fully self-­realize without at least some self-­ knowledge. Self-­ knowledge is therefore partly constitutive of self-­realization, and is intrinsically as well as, sometimes, instrumentally valuable.

120  On the complex relations between skilled action, refection, and refexivity more generally, see Juan Pablo Bermúdez, ‘Do We Refect while Performing Skillful Actions? Automaticity, Control, and the Perils of Distraction’, Philosophical Psychology 30(2017): 896–924; Hubert  L.  Dreyfus, Skillful Coping: Essays on the Phenomenology of Everyday Perception and Action ed. Mark A. Wrathall (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016); Barbara Gail Montero, Tought in Action: Expertise and the Conscious Mind (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

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Autobiography and Self-­Knowledge What, then, is the relation between autobiography and self-­knowledge? Can I gain self-­knowledge by writing my autobiography? I have accepted for the sake of argument that self-­interpretation creates the object of one particular kind of self-­knowledge, and an autobiography is amongst other things a self-­interpretation, so the trivial answer to this question is ‘yes’. But this self-­knowledge, as I’ve argued, is only one kind among others, and not the most interesting to us. So, can I gain the more interesting and substantial kinds of selfknowledge by writing my autobiography? Here is a range of positions we could adopt: Epiphenomenon: autobiography is a mere by-­product without powers of its own. Self-­knowledge is achieved elsewhere if at all, and it may, but need not, be recorded and presented in an autobiography. Someone might have excellent self-­knowledge without ever writing it down, or without ever writing it down in the specifcally autobiographical form— that is, in a particular diachronic compositional self-­refective narrative. Te self-­knowing person might display her self-­knowledge to no one, or only in action, or only to close friends in late-­night conversation, or only in categorical diagnoses—‘I’m an introvert’, ‘I’m a bit too fond of home comforts’, ‘I’m a drunk.’ Or on the other side, someone’s autobiography might actually present no self-­knowledge: it might be a display of selfignorance or self-­deception; it might be a deliberate self-­concealment or a mere device for manipulating others. Autobiography is optional: people who never write one can know themselves well; the ignorant, deluded, and secretive are not prevented from writing one; autobiographers can have motives for writing to do neither with self-­investigation nor with sincere or accurate self-­presentation. Tool: autobiography has powers, but they’re merely instrumental powers. Writing an autobiography can have a causal role in coming to Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0072

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218  GOOD LIVES know oneself, so it’s one of many techniques I might use to develop and critique my grasp of myself. Taking on the autobiographical project helps in several ways. First, it’s a prompt to research: there may be things I don’t know about myself until I ask my family, or revisit the places where I grew up, or look at my birth certifcate. Second, the autobiographical act may itself have mnemonic and self-­revelatory efects: I  may surprise myself with the discoveries it provokes. Studs Terkel notes this efect in some of his interview subjects:

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Te camera, the tape recorder . . . misused, well-­used. Tere are the paparazzi; and there is Walker Evans. Te portable tape-­recorder, too, is for better or for worse. It can be, tiny and well-­concealed, a means of blackmail, an instrument of the police state or, as is most ofen the case, a transmitter of the banal. Yet, a tape recorder, with microphone in hand, on the table or the arm of the chair or in the grass, can transform both the visitor and the host. On one occasion, during a play-­back, my companion muttered in wonder, ‘I never realized I felt that way’. And I was flled with wonder, too.121

Tird, seeing the temporal sequence of my life laid out may help to correct and elaborate my understanding of it: perhaps I’ve long supposed that we moved house when I was three, but now juxtaposition with other memories shows that I was in school by then, so it must have been later. Perhaps that puts a diferent colour on other things which happened around the same time: perhaps it’s only now that I can piece together what happened between my parents. However, we should also recognize that narration can have distorting and obscuring efects which mean that writing an autobiography could damage rather than improve self-­knowledge: First, you invent yourself, then you get to believe your invention. Tat is not a process that is compatible with self-­knowledge.122

121  Studs Terkel, Working: People Talk About What Tey Do All Day and How Tey Feel About What Tey Do (with a new foreword, New York: Te New Press, 2004), p. xix. 122  John Le Carré, Te Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life (London: Penguin, 2017), p. 9.

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Autobiography and Self­K nowledge  219 Narratives can produce an illusion of understanding when actually all they have provided is emotional closure, the satisfaction of having been led through a diachronic emotional sequence with a beginning, middle, and end;123 or a misleading focus on choice and talent which tempts our biases to ignore luck and the many ways things might have gone diferently.124 If autobiography is a tool, it needs to be used with circumspection. Discovery: the autobiographical genre is a historical achievement which makes explicit self-­knowledge of a new and distinctive kind possible. It discovers frst-­personal knowledge of oneself as a singular individual, living a whole life, over which one changes in ways which are subject to standards of success and failure. For this position, Augustine, Rousseau, and others do not merely put an already-­existing way to know oneself into words. Tey invent a new way of knowing oneself, which can only be expressed in the form they help to create. It’s important that the claim here is that this is a new way of knowing and expressing, not a new object of knowledge. Te unchosen, initially opaque, seedlike self developing over a lifetime was there even before we had this way of knowing it. Compare: bacteria were there before we had techniques for investigating them. Te germ theory of disease, with its accompanying technical achievements in observation, diagnosis, and control, did not create bacteria. And similarly, autobiography is a new, distinctive, and perhaps irreplaceable form of understanding, but it did not create its object. Great autobiographies expand the boundaries of human selfexpression: they bring to light what was hidden and express what was previously inexpressible. Invention: the self about which autobiographers can come to know is created in the autobiographical act. Self is self-­ interpretation, and autobiography is invention not discovery. I have already given my arguments against the fnal view in its narrativist form. What those arguments further show is that the epiphenomenon, tool, and discovery positions all have some truth in them. Autobiography is optional, and sometimes merely a report of 123  J. David Velleman, ‘Narrative Explanation’, Te Philosophical Review 112(2003): 1–25. 124 Kahneman, Tinking, Fast and Slow, chapter 19.

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220  GOOD LIVES work done elsewhere; but it also sometimes contributes causally to the achievement of self-­k nowledge; and there are some kinds of ­self-­knowledge which can only be expressed autobiographically. Te narrativist view is, at best, an attempt by one small part of self-­knowledge to take over this whole, various territory. Autobiographies display a wide range of other and more interesting kinds of self-­knowledge, and there are other and better methods of achieving that self-­knowledge. I’ve argued that we mostly gain self-­knowledge not by self-­narration but by engaging with the world. At this point, you might object: doesn’t this refute the central claim of this book about the importance of autobiography for self-­knowledge? I reply: any individual can gain selfknowledge without writing her own autobiography. Writing can help, and there are kinds of self-­ knowledge best or only expressible autobiographically, but autobiography is ofen just a tool and sometimes merely epiphenomenal. However, no individual can live and experience enough to gain all of the self-­knowledge we want by direct methods. Life is short, and engaging with the world in one way ofen precludes doing so in other ways. I can’t now not be a parent, and I therefore can’t directly gain the self-­ knowledge specifc to people my age who don’t have children. But it’s reading autobiography, not writing it, which helps us with self-­knowledge, by showing us alternative human lives, provoking contrast and sympathy, and inviting us, its readers, to reason towards general accounts of selfood, good life, and self-­ discovery, as I’ve done here.

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Against Narrative, for Self-­Realization

I began Part II with my remaining questions arising from the claim that reading autobiography is a way to self-­knowledge, and now we have addressed them. A reminder of those questions and my answers, in summary: Can our narration of our lives explain how their parts relate to them as wholes? No. Te temporal shape of a life does matter, not just its constituent occasions, but it matters because some life-­ shapes are self-­realizations. Can our self-­narrations unify us across time, thereby making our selves and/or making our lives good for us? No. We should understand ourselves as articulated, as unproblematically disunifed, and as variously self-­realizing, across time. Te role of self-­narration is to understand that complexity, not to unify it. Is self-­discovery just self-­creation by self-­interpretation? No. Methods of self-­discovery including pleasure and asceticism can reveal our true, various, and complex selves to ourselves. Self-­knowledge is like knowledge of other things, and we should be pluralists and realists about it. So, what should we learn from autobiography? I have concentrated on what we should learn about the good life and the self; in particular, what we should learn about the roles of narrative and of self-­realization in those targets of our self-­knowledge. And the lesson I have argued that we should learn here is about the centrality of self-­realization to our selfood and good life. Narrative plays a much more limited role in selfood and good life than many thinkers have claimed. Te main conclusions of the book, then, are: autobiography can be reasoning in pursuit of self-­knowledge; each of us is an unchosen, initially opaque, seedlike self; our good is the development and expression of our Good Lives: Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization. Samuel Clark, Oxford University Press (2021). © Samuel Clark. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865384.003.0073

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latent capacities, which is our individual self-­realization; self-­narration plays much less role in our lives than some people have supposed, and the development and expression of potential much more. ‘Every novel is a story, but a life isn’t one.’125

125 Lessing, Under My Skin, p. 202.

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74 Objection What about You?

A fnal challenge:

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If reading autobiographies is such a good way to get self-­knowledge, presumably you, Sam Clark, have lots of self-­knowledge. So what is it? I reply: self-­knowledge from autobiography depends on reasoning as well as reading. My reasoning could be faulty and my beliefs about myself therefore not knowledge, because not true or because unwarranted. Tat worry is one reason why I’ve put it out in public for response from my fellow reasoners. But yes, I think I have gained some self-­knowledge, of two kinds. First, of the general kind I’ve been interested in about selfood, good life, and the possibility of self-­discovery. I am an unchosen, initially opaque, seedlike self. My good is my selfrealization. Te best way I can discover myself is by engaging with the world. You and every other human being are, I think, like me in these ways. Second, I believe I have gained some more individual and personal knowledge of my own capacities, virtues, vices, and failures, which I’m not going to share. I do seem to share various particular things about myself in examples throughout. You should think of these remarks as a species of fction, although some of them happen to be true. But this isn’t my autobiography.

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Works Cited

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Books, articles, etc. Anonymous, ‘Syd Barrett’ in Keith Colquhoun & Anne Rowe, Te Economist Book of Obituaries (London: Profle Books, 2008), pp. 22–3 Abbey, Edward, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (50th anniversary edn, London: William Collins, 2018) Abbs, Peter, Editor’s Introduction to Edmund Gosse, Father and Son (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983), pp. 9–32 Adams, Robert Merihew, Finite and Infnite Goods: A Framework for Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999) Aldiss, Brian & David Wingrove, Trillion Year Spree: Te History of Science Fiction (New York: Atheneum, 1986) Alexandrova, Anna, A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017) Alexievich, Svetlana, Te Unwomanly Face of War trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (London: Penguin, 2017) Alloy, Lauren B. & Lyn Y. Abramson, ‘Depressive Realism’ in Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs eds, Encyclopedia of Social Psychology (2 vols, Tousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2007), vol. 1, pp. 242–3 Anderson, Elizabeth, Value in Ethics and Economics (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1993) Anderson, Elizabeth, ‘Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science’ in Edward N. Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2017 Edition), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2017/entries/feminism-epistemology/ Anderson, Linda, Autobiography (2nd edn, Abingdon: Routledge, 2011) Angelou, Maya, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (London: Virago, 1984) Arenas, Reinaldo, Before Night Falls trans. Dolores M. Koch (New York: Viking, 1993) Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics trans. Terence Irwin (2nd edn, Indianapolis: Hackett, 1999) Arneson, Richard  J., ‘Human Flourishing versus Desire Satisfaction’, Social Philosophy and Policy 16(1999): 113–42 Augustine, Confessions trans. Henry Chadwick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991) Bal, Mieke, Narratology: Introduction to the Teory of Narrative (2nd edn, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997) Barbour, John  D., Versions of Deconversion: Autobiography and the Loss of Faith (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994)

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226  Works Cited Barbour, John D., Te Value of Solitude: Te Ethics and Spirituality of Aloneness in Autobiography (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2004) Barker, Pat, Regeneration (London: Penguin, 1992) Baumeister, Roy  F. ed., Te Self in Social Psychology (Philadelphia: Psychology Press, 1999) Bentall, Richard  P., Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature (London: Penguin, 2003) Bentham, Jeremy, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation ed. J. H. Burns & H. L. A. Hart (London: Methuen, 1970) Berlin, Isaiah, ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’ in Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. 118–72 Bermúdez, Juan Pablo, ‘Do We Refect while Performing Skillful Actions? Automaticity, Control, and the Perils of Distraction’, Philosophical Psychology 30(2017): 896–924 Berrios, German  E. & Ivan  S.  Marková, ‘Te Self and Psychiatry: A Conceptual History’ in Tilo Kircher & Anthony David eds, Te Self in Neuroscience and Psychology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 9–39 Bishop, Michael A., Te Good Life: Unifying the Philosophy and Psychology of WellBeing (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) Bjorklund, Diana, Interpreting the Self: Two Hundred Years of American Autobiography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998) Black, Brian, Te Character of the Self in Ancient India: Priests, Kings, and Women in the Early Upanisads (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007) Blunden, Edmund, Undertones of War (London: Penguin, 2000) Bradley, Ben, Well-Being (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2015) Brandt, Richard  B., A Teory of the Good and the Right (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979) Brännmark, Johan, ‘Good Lives: Parts and Wholes’, American Philosophical Quarterly 38(2001): 221–31 Braude, Stephen  E., First Person Plural: Multiple Personality and the Philosophy of Mind (London: Routledge, 1991) Brink, David O., Perfectionism and the Common Good: Temes in the Philosophy of T. H. Green (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003) Brittain, Vera, Testament of Youth: An Autobiographical Study of the Years 1900–1925 (London: Virago, 1978) Brooke, Andrew, ‘Unifed Consciousness and the Self ’ in Shaun Gallagher & Jonathan Shear eds, Models of the Self (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 1999), pp. 39–47 Brown, Peter, ‘Te Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity’, Te Journal of Roman Studies 61(1971): 80–101 Bruner, Jerome, Acts of Meaning (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1990) Bruner, Jerome, ‘Life as Narrative’, Social Research 71(2004): 691–710 Buelens, Geert, Everything to Nothing: Te Poetry of the Great War, Revolution and the Transformation of Europe trans. David McKay (London: Verso, 2015)

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

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Works Cited  227 Bunyan, John, Grace Abounding: And Other Spiritual Autobiographies ed. John Stachniewski with Anita Pacheco (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) Butler, Samuel, Te Note-Books of Samuel Butler ed. Henry Festing Jones (London: A. C. Fitfeld, 1919) Butler, Samuel, Te Way of All Flesh ed. James Cochrane (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973) Cachin, Françoise, Gauguin: Te Quest for Paradise (London: Tames & Hudson, 1992) Caputo, Philip, A Rumor of War (New York: Owl Books, 1996) Carel, Havi, Illness: Te Cry of the Flesh (revised edn, London: Acumen, 2013) Carr, David, Time, Narrative, and History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986) Carrithers, Michael, Steven Collins, & Steven Lukes eds, Te Category of the Person: Anthropology, Philosophy, History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985) Carroll, Noel, ‘On the Narrative Connection’ in Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 118–33 Carruthers, Peter, Te Centered Mind: What the Science of Working Memory Shows Us about the Nature of Human Tought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) Carson, Tomas L., Value and the Good Life (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000) Cassam, Quassim, Self-Knowledge for Humans (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) Cellini, Benvenuto, My Life trans. Julia Conway Bondanella & Peter Bondanella (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) Charlton, James  I., Nothing About Us Without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998) Cherry-Garrard, Apsley, Te Worst Journey in the World (London: Vintage, 2010) Clark, Gillian, ‘Women and Asceticism in Late Antiquity: Te Refusal of Status and Gender’ in Body and Gender, Soul and Reason in Late Antiquity (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 33–48 Clark, Samuel, ‘Love, Poetry, and the Good Life: Mill’s Autobiography and Perfectionist Ethics’, Inquiry 53(2010): 565–78 Clark, Samuel, ‘Pleasure as Self-Discovery’, Ratio 25(2012): 260–76 Clark, Samuel, ‘Hume’s Uses of Dialogue’, Hume Studies 39(2013): 61–76 Clark, Samuel, ‘Under the Mountain: Basic Training, Individuality, and Comradeship’, Res Publica 19(2013): 67–79 Clark, Samuel, Living Without Domination: Te Possibility of an Anarchist Utopia (new edn, London: Routledge, 2016) Clark, Samuel, ‘Mill’s Autobiography as Literature’ in Christopher Macleod & Dale Miller eds, A Companion to Mill (Oxford: Blackwell, 2017), pp. 45–57 Clark, Samuel, ‘Good Work’, Journal of Applied Philosophy 34(2017): 61–73 Clark, Samuel, ‘Philosophical Taxonomies of Well-Being’ in Kathleen T. Galvin ed., Te Routledge Handbook of Well-Being (Abingdon: Routledge, 2018), pp. 76–83 Clark, Stephen R. L., Civil Peace & Sacred Order (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989) Cockshut, A. O. J., Te Art of Autobiography in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984)

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228  Works Cited Collingwood, R. G., An Autobiography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1939) Collins, Steven, ‘Monasticism, Utopias and Comparative Social Teory’, Religion 18(1988): 101–35 Crawford, Matthew, Te Case for Working with Your Hands: Or Why Ofce Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Tings Feels Good (London: Viking, 2009) Crisp, Roger, Reasons and the Good (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006) Crisp, Roger, ‘Well-Being’ in Edward  N.  Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2016 edition), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2016/ entries/well-being/ Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly, Flow: Te Psychology of Optimum Experience (with a new introduction, London: Rider, 2002) Currie, Gregory, ‘Genre’ in Arts and Minds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 43–62 Currie, Gregory, Narratives and Narrators: A Philosophy of Stories (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) Daniels, Norman, ‘Refective Equilibrium’ in Edward  N.  Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2013 Edition), http://plato.stanford.edu/ archives/win2013/entries/refective-equilibrium/ Darwall, Stephen, Welfare and Rational Care (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002) Davies, Robertson, Fifh Business (New York: Penguin, 2005) Davis, Charles  T. & Henry Louis Gates Jr. eds., Te Slave’s Narrative (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985) De Mijolla, Elizabeth, Autobiographical Quests: Augustine, Montaigne, Rousseau, and Wordsworth (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1994) de Waal, Edmund, Te Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance (London: Chatto & Windus, 2010) Dennett, Daniel, ‘Te Origins of Selves’, Cogito 3(1989): 163–73 Dennett, Daniel, ‘Te Self as a Centre of Narrative Gravity’ in Frank  S.  Kessel, Pamela  M.  Cole, & Dale  L.  Johnson eds, Self and Consciousness: Multiple Perspectives (Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1991), pp. 103–15 Descartes, René, Meditations in Discourse on Method and Te Meditations trans. F. E. Sutclife (London: Penguin, 1968), pp. 93–169 Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations ed. Charlotte Mitchell (London: Penguin, 1996) Dillard, Annie, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (London: Cape, 1975) Dolan, John, ‘A Million Pieces of Shit’, Te Exile, May 29 2003, http://www.exile.ru/ articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=6948 Dolan, Paul, Happiness by Design: Finding Pleasure and Purpose in Everyday Life (London: Penguin, 2015) Doris, John  M., Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) Doris, John  M., Talking to Ourselves: Refection, Ignorance, and Agency (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) Dorsey, Dale, ‘Te Signifcance of a Life’s Shape’, Ethics 125(2015): 303–30

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Works Cited  229 Douglass, Frederick, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: Written by Himself ed. Houston A. Baker Jr (London: Penguin, 1986) Dreyfus, Georges B. J., Te Sound of Two Hands Clapping: Te Education of a Tibetan Monk (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003) Dreyfus, Hubert  L., Skillful Coping: Essays on the Phenomenology of Everyday Perception and Action ed. Mark A. Wrathall (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016) Dunning, David, Self-Insight: Roadblocks and Detours on the Path to Knowing Tyself (New York: Psychology Press, 2005) Durrell, Gerald, My Family and Other Animals (London: Penguin, 1959) Duval, Shelley & Robert  A.  Wicklund, A Teory of Objective Self Awareness (New York: Academic Press, 1972) Dyer, Geof, ‘Sacked’ in Working the Room (Edinburgh: Canongate, 2010), pp. 321–33 Egremont, Max, Siegfried Sassoon: A Biography (London: Picador, 2004) Eliot, T. S., Four Quartets (London: Faber and Faber, 2001) Elster, Jon, ‘Self-Realisation in Work and Politics: Te Marxist Conception of the Good Life’ in Jon Elster & Karl Ove Moene eds, Alternatives to Capitalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 127–58 Elster, Jon, Explaining Social Behaviour: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007) Elster, Jon, Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality (with a new preface, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016) Epicurus, ‘Letter to Menoeceus’ in Te Epicurus Reader: Selected Writings and Testemonia trans. Brad Inwood & L. P. Gerson (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994), pp. 28–31 Erikson, Erik H., Identity: Youth and Crisis (London: Faber and Faber, 1968) Evans, Gareth, Te Varieties of Reference ed. John McDowell (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982) Evans, Mary, Missing Persons: Te Impossibility of Auto/Biography (London: Routledge, 1999) Feldman, Fred, Pleasure and the Good Life: Concerning the Nature, Varieties, and Plausibility of Hedonism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004) Fernyhough, Charles, Pieces of Light: Te New Science of Memory (London: Profle, 2012) Feynman, Richard P., ‘Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!’: Adventures of a Curious Character ed. Edward Hutchings (London: Vintage, 1992) Fichte, J. G., Introductions to the Wissenschaflehre: And Other Writings ed. and trans. Daniel Breazeale (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994) Fischer, John Martin, ‘Stories’ in Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 129–43 Flanagan, Owen, ‘Multiple Identity, Character Transformation, and SelfReclamation’ in Self-Expressions: Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 65–87 Flanagan, Owen, ‘Admirable Immorality and Admirable Imperfection’ in Self-Expressions: Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 181–200 Fletcher, Guy, Te Philosophy of Well-Being: An Introduction (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016)

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230  Works Cited Fletcher, Guy ed., Te Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016) Flood, Gavin, Te Ascetic Self: Subjectivity, Memory and Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Penguin, 1991) Frame, Janet, An Angel at My Table (London: Virago, 2008) Frank, Arthur  W., Te Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics (2nd edn, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013) Frankfurt, Harry G. et al., Taking Ourselves Seriously & Getting it Right ed. Debra Satz (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006) Freeman, Mark, Rewriting the Self: History, Memory, Narrative (London: Routledge, 1993) Frey, James, A Million Little Pieces (London: John Murray, 2003) Fussell, Paul, Doing Battle: Te Making of a Sceptic (Boston: Little, Brown, 1996) Fussell, Paul, Te Great War and Modern Memory (25th anniversary edn, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) Gallagher, Shaun ed., Te Oxford Handbook of the Self (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) Ganeri, Jonardon, Te Concealed Art of the Soul: Teories of Self and Practices of Truth in Indian Ethics and Epistemology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) Gauthier, David, Morals by Agreement (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986) Gertler, Brie, Self-Knowledge (London: Routledge, 2011) Gertler, Brie, ‘Self-Knowledge’ in Edward N. Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2015 Edition), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2015/ entries/self-knowledge/ Gewirth, Alan, Self-Fulfllment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998) Glover, Jonathan, I: Te Philosophy and Psychology of Personal Identity (London: Penguin, 1988) Godfrey-Smith, Peter, Teory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003) Gofman, Erving, Te Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (London: Allen Lane, 1969) Goldie, Peter, Te Mess Inside: Narrative, Emotion, and the Mind (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) Gosse, Edmund, Father and Son ed. Peter Abbs (London: Penguin, 1983) Gould, Stephen Jay, ‘Adam’s Navel’ in Te Flamingo’s Smile: Refections in Natural History (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1985), pp. 99–113 Graham, George, Te Disordered Mind: An Introduction to Philosophy of Mind and Mental Illness (London: Routledge, 2010) Graves, Robert, Goodbye to All Tat (revised edn, London: Cassell, 1957) Grifn, James, Well-Being: Its Meaning, Measurement and Moral Importance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986) Grifn, James, Value Judgement: Improving Our Ethical Beliefs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996) Hacking, Ian, Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995)

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

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Works Cited  231 Hamlyn, David W., ‘Self-Knowledge’ in Teodore Mischel ed., Te Self: Psychological and Philosophical Issues (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1977), pp. 170–200 Hampshire, Stuart, Innocence & Experience (London: Allen Lane, 1989) Harari, Yuval, ‘Martial Illusions: War and Disillusionment in Twentieth-Century and Renaissance Military Memoirs’, Te Journal of Military History 69(2005): 43–72 Harari, Yuval, Te Ultimate Experience: Battlefeld Revelations and the Making of Modern War Culture, 1450–2000 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) Harman, Gilbert, Change in View: Principles of Reasoning (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1986) Harris, Michael, Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World (New York: Random House, 2018) Haybron, Daniel M., Te Pursuit of Unhappiness: Te Elusive Psychology of Well-Being (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) Hayek, F. A., Te Constitution of Liberty (London: Routledge, 1960) Heathwood, Christopher, ‘Desire Satisfactionism and Hedonism’, Philosophical Studies 128(2006): 539–63 Heathwood, Christopher, ‘Welfare’ in John Skorupski ed., Te Routledge Companion to Ethics (London: Routledge, 2010), pp. 645–55 Hobsbawm, Eric, Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life (London: Abacus, 2002) Holmes, Richard, Footsteps: Memoirs of a Romantic Biographer (London: Harper Perennial, 2005) Hong Kingston, Maxine, Te Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (London: Allen Lane, 1977) Hughes, Ted, Birthday Letters (London: Faber and Faber, 1998) Hume, David, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals ed. Tom L. Beauchamp (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) Hume, David, A Treatise of Human Nature ed. David Fate Norton & Mary J. Norton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) Hurka, Tomas, Perfectionism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993) Hurka, Tomas, ‘Value Teory’ in David Copp ed., Te Oxford Handbook of Ethical Teory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 357–79 Hurlburt, Russell  T. & Eric Schwitzgebel, Describing Inner Experience? Proponent Meets Skeptic (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2007) Hursthouse, Rosalind, On Virtue Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999) Ismael, Jennan, Te Situated Self (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) James, C.  L.  R., Te Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture & the San Domingo Revolution (new edn, London: Alison & Busby, 1980) James, Henry, Te Golden Bowl ed. Ruth Bernard Yeazell (London: Penguin, 2009) Jelinek, Estelle  C., Te Tradition of Women’s Autobiography: From Antiquity to the Present (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986) Jones, David, In Parenthesis: Seinnyessit e Gledyf ym Penn Mameu (London: Faber & Faber, 1937) Joyce, James, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man ed. Jeri Johnson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)

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232  Works Cited Jünger, Ernst, Storm of Steel trans. Michael Hofman (New edn, London: Allen Lane, 2003) Kagan, Shelly, ‘Well-being as Enjoying the Good’, Philosophical Perspectives 23(2009): 253–72 Kahneman, Daniel, Tinking, Fast and Slow (London: Penguin, 2011) Keller, Simon, ‘Welfare as Success’, Noûs 43(2009): 656–83 Kempe, Margery, Te Book of Margery Kempe trans. Barry Windeatt (revised edn, London: Penguin, 1994) Kendall, Tim ed., Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013) Kenny, Anthony, Te Self (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1988) Kerby, Anthony Paul, Narrative and the Self (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991) Kipling, Rudyard, Something of Myself and Other Autobiographical Writings ed. Tomas Pinney (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990) Knox-Johnston, Robin, A World of My Own: Te First Ever Non-stop Solo Round the World Voyage (London: Cassell, 1969) Koch, Philip, Solitude: A Philosophical Encounter (Chicago: Open Court, 1994) Koller, Alice, Te Stations of Solitude (New York: Bantam Books, 1990) Korn, Peter, Why We Make Tings and Why It Matters: Te Education of a Crafsman (London: Square Peg, 2015) Korsgaard, Christine  M., Self-Constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) Kraut, Richard, What is Good and Why: Te Ethics of Well-Being (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2007) Kull, Robert, Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes—A Year Alone in the Patagonia Wilderness (Novato: New World Library, 2008) Lakof, George, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Tings: What Categories Reveal About the Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987) Lang, Candace, ‘Autobiography in the Afermath of Romanticism’, Diacritics 12(1982): 2–16 Lawrence, T. E., Seven Pillars of Wisdom (London: Penguin, 2000) Layard, Richard, Happiness: Lessons from a New Science (London: Allen Lane, 2005) Le Carré, John, Te Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life (London: Penguin, 2017) Lejeune, Philippe, On Autobiography ed. Paul John Eakin, trans. Katherine Leary (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989) Lessing, Doris, Martha Quest (London: Flamingo, 1993) Lessing, Doris, Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949 (London: Flamingo, 1995) Lessing, Doris, Alfred and Emily (London: Fourth Estate, 2008) Levy, Neil, Hard Luck: How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) Linde, Charlotte, Life Stories: Te Creation of Coherence (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993) Linley, P.  Alex et al., ‘Positive Psychology: Past, Present, and (Possible) Future’, Journal of Positive Psychology 1(2006): 3–16

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Works Cited  233 List, Christian & Philip Pettit, Group Agents: Te Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) Lloyd, Genevieve, Being in Time: Selves and Narrators in Philosophy and Literature (London: Routledge, 1993) Lockridge, Laurence  S., Te Ethics of Romanticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989) Lowe, E. J., Subjects of Experience (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996) MacIntyre, Alasdair, Afer Virtue: An Essay in Moral Teory (3rd edn, London: Bloomsbury, 2007) Mackenzie, Catriona, ‘Embodied Agents, Narrative Selves’, Philosophical Explorations 17(2014): 154–71 Maitland, Sara, A Book of Silence (London: Granta, 2008). Malcolm, Norman, Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir (London: Oxford University Press, 1958) Mandela, Nelson, Long Walk to Freedom (London: Abacus, 1995) Marcus, Laura, Auto/biographical Discourses: Criticism, Teory, Practice (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994) Marlantes, Karl, What it is Like to Go to War (London: Corvus, 2012) Matthiessen, Peter, Te Snow Leopard (London: Penguin, 1996) Maugham, W. Somerset, Of Human Bondage (London: Vintage, 2000) McAdams, Dan P., Te Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self (New York: William Morrow, 1993) McAdams, Dan  P., Ruthellen Josselson, & Amia Lieblich, Editors’ Introduction to Identity and Story: Creating Self in Narrative (Washington: American Psychological Association, 2006), pp. 3–11 McNaughton, David, Moral Vision: An Introduction to Ethics (Oxford: Blackwell, 1988) McPhee, John, Annals of the Former World (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998) Mead, George Herbert, Mind, Self, and Society ed. Charles  W.  Morris (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015) Melnick, Arthur, Kant’s Teory of the Self (New York: Routledge, 2009) Merton, Tomas, Te Seven Storey Mountain (London: Sheldon Press, 1975) Metz, Taddeus, ‘Te Meaning of Life’ in Edward  N.  Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2013 Edition), http://plato.stanford.edu/ archives/sum2013/entries/life-meaning/ Michaelian, Kourken & John Sutton, ‘Memory’ in Edward N. Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2017 Edition), https://plato.stanford.edu/ archives/sum2017/entries/memory/ Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty in John M. Robson ed., Collected Works of John Stuart Mill volume XVIII: Essays on Politics & Society 1 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press/London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977), pp. 213–310 Mill, John Stuart, Autobiography in Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, volume I: Autobiography and Literary Essays ed. John M. Robson & Jack Stillinger (Toronto: University of Toronto Press/London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981), pp. 1–290 Mill, John Stuart, Utilitarianism in Collected Works of John Stuart Mill volume X: Essays on Ethics, Religion, and Society ed. John M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press/London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985), pp. 258–302

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234  Works Cited Mocellin, Jane & Peter Suedfeld, ‘Voices from the Ice: Diaries of Polar Explorers’, Environment and Behavior 23(1991): 704–22 Moitessier, Bernard, Te Long Way trans. William Rodarmor (London: Sheridan House, 1995) Monk, Ray, Ludwig Wittgenstein: Te Duty of Genius (London: Vintage, 1991) Montero, Barbara Gail, Tought in Action: Expertise and the Conscious Mind (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016) Moorcrof Wilson, Jean, Siegfried Sassoon: Soldier, Poet, Lover, Friend (London: Duckworth, 2013) Moore, George, Confessions of a Young Man ed. Susan Dick (Montreal: McGillQueens University Press, 1972) Muir, Edwin, An Autobiography (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1993) Murphy, Mark C., ‘Te Simple Desire-Fulfllment Teory’, Noûs 33(1999): 247–72 Nagel, Tomas, ‘Te Absurd’ in Mortal Questions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 11–23 Nagel, Tomas, ‘Moral Luck’ in Mortal Questions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 24–38 Nagel, Tomas, Te Possibility of Altruism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979) Neisser, Ulric, ‘Five Kinds of Self-Knowledge’, Philosophical Psychology 1(1988): 35–59 Neisser, Ulric ed., Te Perceived Self: Ecological and Interpersonal Sources of SelfKnowledge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) Newman, John Henry, Apologia pro Vita Sua ed. Ian Ker (London: Penguin, 1994) Nichols, Peter, A Voyage for Madmen (London: Profle, 2001) Nietzsche, Friedrich, ‘Schopenhauer as Educator’ in Untimely Meditations ed. Daniel Breazeale trans. R. J. Hollingdale (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 125–94 Nietzsche, Friedrich, Ecce Homo: How to Become What You Are trans. Duncan Large (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) Nisbett, Richard E. & Timothy D. Wilson, ‘Telling More Tan We Can Know: Verbal Reports on Mental Processes’, Psychological Review 84(1977): 231–59 Niven, Larry, Ringworld (New York: Ballantine Books, 1970) Noe, Alva, Action in Perception (Cambridge MA: MIT University Press, 2004) Noggle, Robert, ‘From the Nature of Persons to the Structure of Morality’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31(2001): 531–65 Norton, David  L., Personal Destinies: A Philosophy of Ethical Individualism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976) Nozick, Robert, Philosophical Explanations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981) Nussbaum, Martha  C., Love’s Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990) Nussbaum, Martha  C., Te Terapy of Desire: Teory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994) Nussbaum, Martha C., Women and Human Development: Te Capabilities Approach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) Nussbaum, Martha  C., Creating Capabilities: Te Human Development Approach (Cambridge MA: Belknap Press, 2011)

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Works Cited  235 Nussbaum, Martha C. & Amartya Sen eds, Te Quality of Life (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993) Oakley, David A. & Peter W. Halligan, ‘Chasing the Rainbow: Te Non-Conscious Nature of Being’, Frontiers in Psychology 8(2017), DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01924 O’Brien, Tim, If I Die in a Combat Zone (London: Flamingo, 2003) Olney, James, Metaphors of Self: Te Meaning of Autobiography (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972) Olney, James, ‘Autobiography and the Cultural Moment: A Tematic, Historical, and Bibliographical Introduction’ in James Olney ed., Autobiography: Essays Teoretical and Critical (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), pp. 3–27 Olson, Eric  T., Te Human Animal: Personal Identity without Psychology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997) Olson, Eric  T., ‘Tere Is No Problem of the Self ’ in Shaun Gallagher & Jonathan Shear eds, Models of the Self (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 1999), pp. 49–61 Olson, Eric T., ‘Personal Identity’ in Edward N. Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2016 Edition), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/ entries/identity-personal/ O’Neill, John, ‘Happiness and the Good Life’, Environmental Values 17(2008): 125–44 Orwell, George, Nineteen Eighty-Four (London: Penguin, 2009) Overvold, Mark Carl, ‘Self-interest and Getting What You Want’ in Harlan B. Miller & William H. Williams eds, Te Limits of Utilitarianism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), pp. 186–94 Parft, Derek, Reasons and Persons (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984) Pascal, Blaise, Pensées (London: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1958) Pascal, Roy, Design and Truth in Autobiography (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1960) Patterson, Orlando, Slavery & Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1982) Paul, L. A., Transformative Experience (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) Paul, L.  A., ‘What You Can’t Expect When You’re Expecting’, Res Philosophica 92(2015): 149–70 Perry, John ed., Personal Identity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975) Peterson, Linda  H., Victorian Autobiography: Te Tradition of Self-Interpretation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986) Pettit, Philip, Republicanism: A Teory of Freedom and Government (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997) Pinney, Tomas, Introduction to Rudyard Kipling, Something of Myself and Other Autobiographical Writings ed. Tomas Pinney (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. vii–xxxv Pirsig, Robert  M., Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (London: Bodley Head, 1974) Plato, Phaedo trans. & ed. David Gallop (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993) Prinz, Jesse, ‘Waiting for the Self ’ in Jeeloo Liu & John Perry eds, Consciousness and the Self: New Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 123–49 Quinn, Naomi, ‘Te Self ’, Anthropological Teory 6(2006): 362–84

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236  Works Cited Raibley, Jason, ‘Well-Being and the Priority of Values’, Social Teory and Practice 36(2010): 593–620 Railton, Peter, ‘Taste and Value’ in Roger Crisp & Brad Hooker eds, Well-being and Morality: Essays in Honour of James Grifn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), pp. 53–74 Railton, Peter, ‘Facts and Values’ in Facts, Values, and Norms: Essays Toward a Morality of Consequence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 43–68 Rawls, John, ‘Te Independence of Moral Teory’ in Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 48(1974): 5–22 Rawls, John, A Teory of Justice (revised edn, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999) Raz, Joseph, Te Morality of Freedom (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986) Read, Herbert, Te Innocent Eye in Te Contrary Experience: Autobiographies (London: Faber and Faber, 1963), pp. 15–55 Reeves, Richard, John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand (London: Atlantic Books, 2007) Renz, Ursula ed., Self-Knowledge: A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018) Roberts, Adam, Te History of Science Fiction (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) Roberts, John Stuart, Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967) (London: Metro, 2005) Robeyns, Ingrid, Wellbeing, Freedom and Social Justice: Te Capability Approach Re-Examined (Cambridge: Open Book, 2017) Rosati, Connie, ‘Internalism and the Good for a Person’, Ethics 107(1997): 297–326 Rosati, Connie, ‘Personal Good’ in Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons eds, Metaethics afer Moore (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006), pp. 107–32 Rosati, Connie, ‘Te Story of a Life’, Social Philosophy and Policy 30(2013): 21–50 Rose, Jonathan, Te Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002) Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, Confessions trans. Angela Scholar ed. Patrick Coleman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) Rousseau, Philip, Pachomius: Te Making of a Community in Fourth-Century Egypt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999) Rudd, Anthony, Self, Value, and Narrative: A Kierkegaardian approach (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) Ryan, Richard  M. & Edward  L.  Deci, ‘On Happiness and Human Potentials: A Review of Research on Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-Being’, Annual Review of Psychology 52(2001): 141–66 Ryle, Gilbert, Te Concept of Mind (Harmondsworth: Peregrine, 1963) Sacks, Oliver, ‘Te Lost Mariner’ in Te Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (London: Picador, 1986), pp. 22–41 Sacks, Oliver, ‘Te Last Hippie’ in An Anthropologist on Mars (London: Picador, 1995), pp. 39–72 Salter, James, Burning the Days: Recollection (London: Picador, 2014) Sarton, Mary, Journal of a Solitude (New York: Norton, 1973) Sassoon, Siegfried, Te Complete Memoirs of George Sherston (London: Faber and Faber, 1937)

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Works Cited  237 Sassoon, Siegfried, Te Old Century and Seven More Years (London: Faber and Faber, 1938) Sassoon, Siegfried, Te Weald of Youth (London: Faber and Faber, 1942) Sassoon, Siegfried, Siegfried’s Journey, 1916–1920 (London: Faber and Faber, 1945) Sassoon, Siegfried, Collected Poems: 1908–1956 (2nd edn, London: Faber and Faber, 1984) Scanlon, T. M., What We Owe to Each Other (Cambridge MA: Belknap Press, 1998) Scanlon, T. M., Being Realistic About Reasons (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) Schechtman, Marya, Te Constitution of Selves (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996) Schechtman, Marya, ‘Stories, Lives, and Basic Survival: A Refnement and Defence of the Narrative View’ in Daniel  D.  Hutto ed., Narrative and Understanding Persons (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 155–78 Schwitzgebel, Eric, ‘Te Intrinsic Value of Self-Knowledge’, 2015 draf, http://www. faculty.ucr.edu/~eschwitz/SchwitzAbs/IntrinsicSelfK.htm Seigel, Jerrold, Te Idea of the Self: Tought and Experience in Western Europe since the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005) Sen, Amartya, Development as Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999) Seymour, Miranda, Robert Graves: Life on the Edge (London: Simon and Schuster, 1995) Shefeld, Gary, Forgotten Victory: Te First World War: Myths and Realities (London: Headline, 2001) Silvia, Paul J. & Guido H. E. Gendolla, ‘On Introspection and Self-Perception: Does Self-Focused Attention Enable Accurate Self-Knowledge?’, Review of General Psychology 5(2001): 241–69 Simpson, Joe, Touching the Void (Harlow: Longman, 2010) Slote, Michael, Goods and Virtues (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983) Smith, Sidonie & Julia Watson, Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001) Sobel, David, ‘Full Information Accounts of Well-Being’, Ethics 104(1994): 784–810 Sorabji, Richard, Self: Ancient and Modern Insights about Individuality, Life, and Death (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006) Spence, Donald P., Narrative Truth and Historical Truth: Meaning and Interpretation in Psychoanalysis (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1982) Spengemann, William C., Te Forms of Autobiography: Episodes in the History of a Literary Genre (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980) Spuford, Francis, I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination (London: Faber and Faber, 1996) Stein, Gertrude, Te Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (London: Penguin, 1966) Sterling, Bruce & Lewis Shiner, ‘Te Turkey City Lexicon—A Primer for SF Workshops’, https://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/turkey-city-lexicon-a-primer-for-sf-workshops/ Stern, Robert, ‘Te Relation between Moral Teory and Metaphysics’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 92(1992): 143–59 Strawson, Galen, ‘Against Narrativity’ in Real Materialism and Other Essays (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2008), pp. 189–207

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238  Works Cited Strawson, Galen, Selves: An Essay in Revisionary Metaphysics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009) Strohminger, Nina, George Newman, & Joshua Knobe, ‘Te True Self: A Psychological Concept Distinct from the Self ’, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(2017): 551–60 Sumner, L. W., Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996) Swann, William  B. Jr & Jennifer  K.  Besson, ‘Self and Identity’ in Susan  T.  Fiske, Daniel  T.  Gilbert, & Gardner Lindzey eds, Handbook of Social Psychology (5th edn, Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons, no date), pp. 589–628 Sweetman, David, Paul Gauguin: A Complete Life (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1995) Taylor, Charles, ‘Responsibility for Self ’ in Amélie Oksenberg Rorty ed., Te Identities of Persons (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), pp. 281–300 Taylor, Charles, Sources of the Self: Te Making of the Modern Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989) Taylor, Charles, Te Ethics of Authenticity (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1991) Taylor, Gabriele, Pride, Shame, and Guilt: Emotions of Self-Assessment (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985) Terkel, Studs, Working: People Talk About What Tey Do All Day and How Tey Feel About What Tey Do (with a new foreword, New York: Te New Press, 2004) Tomas, Keith, Te Ends of Life: Roads to Fulflment in Early Modern England (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009) Tompson, Flora, Lark Rise to Candleford: A Trilogy (London: Penguin, 1973) Tomson, Garrett, Needs (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987) Tomson, Judith Jarvis, ‘Te Trolley Problem’, Te Yale Law Journal 94(1985): 1395–415 Toreau, Henry David, Walden; Or, Life in the Woods (New York: Dover, 1995) Turber, James, Te Years with Ross: With Drawings by the Author (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963) Twaite, Ann, Edmund Gosse: A Literary Landscape 1849–1928 (London: Martin Secker & Warburg, 1984) Tiberius, Valerie, ‘Well-Being: Psychological Research for Philosophers’, Philosophy Compass 1(2006): 493–505 Tiberius, Valerie, Te Refective Life: Living Wisely with our Limits (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) Tiberius, Valerie, ‘Prudential Value’ in Iwao Hirose & Jonas Olson eds, Te Oxford Handbook of Value Teory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 158–74 Tiberius, Valerie & Alexandra Plakias, ‘Well-Being’ in John M. Doris and the Moral Psychology Research Group eds, Te Moral Psychology Handbook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 401–31 Tietjens Meyers, Diana, ‘Corporeal Selfood, Self-Interpretation, and Narrative Selfood’, Philosophical Explorations 17(2014): 141–53 Timberg, Robert, Te Nightingale’s Song (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995) Tomalin, Nicholas & Ron Hall, Te Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst (London: Hodder & Staunton, 1970)

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Works Cited  239 Toulmin, Stephen  E., ‘Self-Knowledge and Knowledge of the Self ’ in Teodore Mischell ed., Te Self: Psychological and Philosophical Issues (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1977), pp. 291–317 Treadwell, James, Autobiographical Writing and British Literature, 1783–1834 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005) Upianisads trans. Patrick Olivelle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) van Parijs, Philippe, Real Freedom for All: What (if Anything) Can Justify Capitalism? (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995) Vance, J.  D. Hillbilly Elegy: a Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (London: William Collins, 2016) Varela, Francisco  J., Eleanor Rosch, & Evan Tompson, Te Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1991) Velleman, J.  David, ‘Well-Being and Time’ in Te Possibility of Practical Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 56–84 Velleman, J. David, ‘Narrative Explanation’, Te Philosophical Review 112(2003): 1–25 Velleman, J.  David, ‘Introduction’ to Self to Self: Selected Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2006), pp. 1–15 Velleman, J. David, ‘Te Self as Narrator’ in Self to Self: Selected Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2006), pp. 203–23 Velleman, J. David, How We Get Along (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) Voegelin, Eric, ‘Notes on T.  S.  Eliot’s Four Quartets’ in Collected Works of Eric Voegelin vol. 33: Te Drama of Humanity and Other Miscellaneous Papers ed. William Petropulos & Gilbert Weiss (Columbia MI: University of Missouri Press, 2004), pp. 33–40 Weintraub, Karl, Te Value of the Individual: Self and Circumstance in Autobiography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978) Westlund, Andrea, ‘Narrative Necessity and the Fixity of Meaning in a Life’, Narrative Inquiry 21(2011): 391–8 Wiggins, David, ‘Claims of Need’ in Needs, Values, Truth: Essays in the Philosophy of Value (3rd edn, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), pp. 1–57 Wilkes, Kathleen  V., ‘Know Tyself ’ in Shaun Gallagher & Jonathan Shear eds, Models of the Self (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 1999), pp. 25–38 Williams, Bernard, ‘Te Makropulos Case: Refections on the Tedium of Immortality’ in Problems of the Self (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), pp. 82–100 Williams, Bernard, ‘A Critique of Utilitarianism’ in J. J. C. Smart & Bernard Williams, Utilitarianism: For and Against (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), pp. 75–150 Williams, Bernard, ‘Moral Luck’ in Moral Luck: Philosophical papers 1973–1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1981), pp. 20–39 Williams, Bernard, ‘Internal and External Reasons’ in Moral Luck (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 101–13 Williams, Bernard, Interview in Cogito 8(1994): 3–19 Williams, Bernard, Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in Genealogy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002)

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240  Works Cited Williams, Bernard, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (with a commentary on the text by A. W. Moore, London: Routledge, 2005) Wilson, Angus, Te Strange Ride of Rudyard Kipling: His Life and Works (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979) Wilson, Timothy D., Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By (London: Penguin, 2001) Wilson, Timothy  D., Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2002) Wilson, Timothy D. & Elizabeth W. Dunn, ‘Self-Knowledge: Its Limits, Values, and Potential for Improvement’, Annual Review of Psychology 55(2004): 493–518 Winter, Jay, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: Te Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Philosophical Investigations trans. G.  E.  M.  Anscombe (3rd edn, Oxford: Blackwell, 1967) Wolf, Susan, ‘Moral Saints’, Te Journal of Philosophy 79(1982): 419–39 Wolf, Susan, ‘Self-Interest and Interest in Selves’, Ethics 96(1986): 704–20 Wolf, Susan et al., Meaning in Life and Why it Matters (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010) Wollheim, Richard, Te Tread of Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984) Wollheim, Richard, Germs: A Memoir of Childhood (London: Waywiser, 2004) Wolpert, Lewis, Malignant Sadness: Te Anatomy of Depression (London: Faber and Faber, 1999) Wood, James, How Fiction Works (London: Vintage, 2009) Woodard, Christopher, ‘Classifying Teories of Welfare’, Philosophical Studies 165(2013): 787–803 Woodruf Smith, David, ‘Phenomenology’ in Edward  N.  Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), https://plato.stanford.edu/ archives/win2016/entries/phenomenology/ Woodward, James, ‘Scientifc Explanation’ in Edward  N.  Zalta ed., Te Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2017 Edition), https://plato.stanford.edu/ archives/spr2017/entries/scientifc-explanation/ Wordsworth, William, Te Prelude: Te Four Texts (1798, 1799, 1805, 1850) ed. Jonathan Wordsworth (London: Penguin, 1995) Yagoda, Ben, Memoir: A History (New York: Penguin, 2009) Young, Iris Marion, Justice and the Politics of Diference (with a new foreword, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011) Zahavi, Dan, Self and Other: Exploring Subjectivity, Empathy, and Shame (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)

Films Leckey, Mark, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (self-produced, 1999), https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=-dS2McPYzEE Osmond, Louise & Jerry Rothwell, Deep Water (no place: Pathé, 2007)

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Works Cited  241 Proenneke, Richard, Alone in the Wilderness (no place: Bob Swerer Productions, 2003) Regio, Geofrey et al., Koyaanisqatsi (Santa Fe: IRE Productions/Sante Fe Institute for Regional Education, 1982)

Music

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Deupree, Taylor, Stil. (New York: 12k, 2002)

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Index

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For the beneft of digital users, indexed terms that span two pages (e.g., 52–53) may, on occasion, appear on only one of those pages. Abbey, Edward  202–3 Abbs, Peter  11, 15–16 absurdity 74 adaptive unconscious  176–7 agent see the self agential  48–9, 180, 212 Alexandrova, Anna  102–4 Alexievich, Svetlana  53–4 alienation  1, 128, 153n.38, 156–7 ammonite  176, 179 An Ofcer and a Gentleman (flm)  197–8 Angelou, Maya  14 anthropology (discipline)  35, 76 Arenas, Reinaldo  55 Aristotle  93–4, 100, 113 arthritis 94–5 asceticism  71, 192, 199–200 as disengagement  193 as self-discovery see self-discovery, asceticism as as training  194 paradigm of  193–4 regular  110, 192–3, 197 solitary  110, 192–3, 202 ātman see self Attwater, Tanya  60 Augustine, Saint  11–12, 14–15, 219 authenticity  7, 88–90 autobiography artefact, as  10 biography, relation to  47–8, 155 clue, as  32 compositionality of  21, 36, 41, 135–6 container, as  32 diachronicity of  21, 36, 39, 169 discovery, as  219 epiphenomenon, as  217 genre, as  13, 21, 36, 43, 149, 161–2

historical data, as  33 invention, as  219–20 local tradition, as  28 narrative, as  17 paradigm of  21, 36 particularity of  21, 36 rationalism about  29–50 reality constraint on  46 recollection, as  6 refection, as  8, 46 self-knowledge, relation to  1, 53–72, 170–6, 217 self-refection, as  8, 21, 46 thought experiment, as  34 tool, as  217–18 autonomy see self-command Barker, Pat  145–6 Barrett, Syd  135 basic training  197 Bentham, Jeremy  88n.147, 98–9, 183, 190 Bildungsroman  26–7, 43, 174 biography  29, 46, 145, 155, 179 relation to autobiography see autobiography, biography, relation to biology (discipline)  179 Blackadder Goes Forth (TV series)  132n.8 Blunden, Edmund  132, 162 Brittain, Vera  14 Bruner, Jerome  127, 170 Buddhism  84–5, 99 Bunyan, John  14 Butler, Octavia  13 Butler, Samuel  25–6, 58n.88 capacities  94, 108–18, 141, 152, 170–1, 182, 185, 207–9 common see human nature

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244 Index

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capacitizing strategy  118, 190, 215 Caputo, Philip  148, 194, 197–8 Carel, Havi  8, 72–3, 211 Cassam, Quassim  57–8, 214 Cellini, Benvenuto  14 charisma  64–5, 176 Cherry-Garrard, Apsley  145, 157–8, 192 Clark, Stephen R. L.  186–7 Clarke, Arthur C.  13 Coleridge, Samuel  47, 109 Collingwood, R. G.  32 Coltrane, John  37–8 compositionality see autobiography, compositionality of comradeship  133, 141, 162, 200–1 consciousness  57, 67, 77–8, 83, 118, 163 as self see self, consciousness account of of self see self-consciousness consequentialism  71, 104 conversion and deconversion  11, 14–15, 99, 197–8 courage  64–5, 142–3, 168, 176, 197, Crawford, Matthew  211 Crowhurst, Donald  203–4, 206 Darwin, Charles  113 Davies, Robertson  25–6 Davis, Miles  78, 140 de Waal, Edmund  211 Deci, Edward L.  94–5 decision theory  149 deconversion see conversion and deconversion Defoe, Daniel  25–6, 44–5 Delphic demand see self-knowledge, Delphic demand for Dennett, Daniel  202 depression  120, 183, 214–15 desire  22, 29–30, 50, 79, 88–92, 96, 154, 160–1, 174, 177, 187–8, 193, 214 and good life see good life, desire accounts of second-order 154–5 development see self-development diachronic accounts of the good life see good life, diachronic accounts of autobiography see autobiography, diachronicity of disunity see unity of life

reasoning see reasoning, diachronic unity see unity of life dialogue  36, 80, 173 diary  22–5, 178, 180, 206 Dickens, Charles  44 Dillard, Annie  192, 202–3 disengagement  193, 202–5 dissociative identity disorder  79 domination  9, 89–90 Dorsey, Dale  134–5 Douglass, Frederick  14, 55, 116, 211 Dreyfus, Georges  192 Durrell, Gerald  14 Dyer, Geof  177–8 egalitarianism  104, 112 Egremont, Max  145 Eliot, T. S.  27 elitism 112 embodiment 81 Emerson, Ralph Waldo  109 enlistment as self-discovery see  self-discovery, enlistment as Epicurus  88, 99–100 Erikson, Erik  153 essentialism  93–5, 113 ethnography (discipline)  76 Evans, Mary  10n.5 experience  8, 37, 41, 77–9, 82, 84, 91, 94–5, 114, 118, 142, 144, 148, 153–4, 159, 168, 175, 181, 185, 197, 202, 220 transformative see transformative experience experience requirement see good life, experience requirement on expression see self-expression extreme conditions, personality types which thrive in  124 Feldman, Fred  134–5, 139–40 Feynman, Richard  21–2 fction  13, 16, 20, 25–6, 34–5, 43, 46, 64, 133, 164, 171, 177–8, 181, 184, 191, 223 Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (flm)  18 First World War see World War One frst-person  1, 6–9, 21, 25–6, 43–4, 48–9, 77, 79, 129, 135–6, 148–9, 156, 159–61, 180, 219 fttingness  119, 156–8, 199–200 Fletcher, Guy  96

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Index  245

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fow  88, 214–15 folk metaphysics  115 Frame, Janet  21–2, 211 Frank, Anne  144 Frankfurt, Harry  153–4, 161 free indirect style  44, 155 freedom  22, 79, 89–90, 185, 195, 203, 207 Freeman, Mark  127, 153, 170 Freud, Sigmund  109, 176–7 Frey, James  46–7, 164 friendship  21, 133, 189–90, 200–1 Fromm, Erich  109 Full Metal Jacket (flm)  197–8 Fussell, Paul  148–9, 192 Gatsby, Jay  164 Gauguin, Paul  34 genre  13, 18, 20–2, 25–9, 36, 43–4, 55, 135–6, 148, 157, 161–2, 197–8, 219 autobiographical see autobiography, genre, as geology (discipline)  18, 60 Gewirth, Alan  109 Gilgamesh (cat)  157 Glasgow 82 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von  109 Goldie, Peter  127 good life actual desire account of  90–1, 96, 102 additive accounts of  100, 134–51 attitudinal success account of  93 autobiography, as topic of  57, 69 capability account of  89–90, 96 contextualism about  102–4 descriptive accounts of  99 desire accounts of  90–2, 96, 100 desire and happiness account of  89, 187–8 emotional condition account of  88 empirical accounts of  98 enjoying the good account of  92 eudaimonist account of  94–6 experience requirement on  91, 118 explanatory accounts of  96, 98–9, 110 explanatory vs enumerative accounts of  96 fnal authority accounts of  100–1 frst-order accounts of  97, 110, 213 freedom account of  89–90, 185 hedonist account of  88–9, 96, 136, 139–40, 182

hybrid accounts of  89, 92, 96, 187–8 ideal desire account of  91–2, 96, 102 life plan account of  92 life-satisfaction account of  88, 97 limited desire account of  91 many facets account of  103–4 master value, as  104–5 mental state accounts of  100–1, 185 monist accounts of  100 narrative account of  90, 97, 100, 127, 134–51 need account of  93, 96 network account of  93 non-additive accounts of  100, 110, 134–51 normative accounts of  98–9, 110 objective accounts of  100–1 objective list accounts of  96 perfectionist account of  93–4, 96, 100 pleasure account of  88, 97 pluralist accounts of  100 refexive accounts of  97, 213 refexive ideal desire account of  92, 96–7 revisionary accounts of  99–100, 105–6, 110 self-knowledge, relation to  213 self-realization account of see  self-realization, good life, account of self, relation to  107 single-mindedness account of  93, 132, 206, 213 subject-dependent accounts of  100–1, 110 subject-independent accounts of  100–1 subjective accounts of  100–1 tasks for an account of  102 taxonomies of  107 tranquility account of  88, 100 value-realization account of  91 Gosse, Edmund  1, 11, 25, 48–9, 184–5, 199–200 Graves, Robert  10, 15, 55–6, 132, 145, 162 Grifn, James  93–4 Hansen’s disease  121 happiness and unhappiness  32, 65, 88–9, 96, 98, 119–22, 154, 176–7, 183, 187–8, 193, 199 Hardy, Tomas  148, 184 hedonism see good life, hedonist account of Herder, Johann Gottfried  109 history (discipline)  15, 17–18, 33, 113, 179 Hobsbawm, Eric  21–2

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

246 Index Holmes, Richard  47 Holmes, Sherlock  64 Hong Kingston, Maxine  27, 48–9 Hughes, Ted  27 human fourishing see good life human nature  16, 93–4, 113, 179 Hume, David  35, 64, 84–5, 128, 137–8, 148 identity  13, 16, 44, 55, 63, 155, 159, 201 dissociative disorder of see dissociative identity disorder personal see personal identity injustice see justice and injustice innocence to experience  41, 133–5, 142, 144, 149, 152–4, 162, 165–7 integrity 80 introspection  15–16, 176, 180, 206 intuition  34–5, 134–6 irony  39, 43, 47–8, 50, 137–8, 142–3, 148, 155, 166

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James, Henry  43, 184 Jelinek, Estelle  14–15 Jones, David  149 Joyce, James  25–6 judge, the  144 Jung, Karl  109 Jünger, Ernst  148 justice and injustice  9, 55, 104–6, 189–90, 211 poetic see poetic justice Kant, Immanuel  128–9, 171, 175 Kempe, Margery  14 Kerby, Anthony Paul  127 Kipling, Rudyard  10–11, 47, 184 knowledge how  6, 216 and self see self-knowledge, how vs that Knox-Johnston, Robin  203–4 Koch, Philip  202–3 Koller, Alice  22–3, 73, 192–3, 202–3 Korean War  197 Korn, Peter  211 Koyaanisqatsi (flm)  18 Kuhn, Tomas  36 Kull, Robert  192–3, 202–3, 213 Künstlerroman 26–7 Lake District  6, 19, 37–8, 63, 78 Lawrence, T. E.  14 Le Guin, Ursula  13 Lejeune, Philippe  15–16

Lessing, Doris  17–18, 20, 25–6, 34–5, 62–3, 65, 108, 171, 211, 221–2 Linde, Charlotte  127 Locke, John  128, 160n.51, 163–4 luck  24, 34, 65–7, 112, 114, 116, 178, 186–8, 199, 213, 219 MacIntyre, Alasdair  90n.158, 127, 135n.13, 153–4 Mackenzie, Catriona  127 Maitland, Sara  204n.104 Malcolm, Norman  25, 69n.103 Mandela, Nelson  21–2 Marcus, Laura  16 Marlantes, Karl  197–8 martial disillusionment  214–15 Marx, Karl  109 Masha (thought experiment)  102–4 Maslow, Abraham  109 Matthiessen, Peter  192–3, 213, 215–16 Maugham, Somerset  26–7, 65–9 McAdams, Dan P.  127, 170, 173–4 meaning as use  74, 175 meaning of life  41, 72, 137–8, 144, 151, 161–2, 175, 205–6 reductionism about  72, 206 medicine (discipline)  179 memoir  23–5, 41, 44–5 memory  6, 33, 177–8, 180, 182, 215–16 Merton, Tomas  192 Mill, John Stuart  14, 17–18, 21, 32, 69–70, 87, 108–9, 112–13, 181–3, 185, 199–200 mind see self, mind account of and good life, singlemindedness account of Moitessier, Bernard  73, 192–3, 202–3, 209, 213 Moorcrof Wilson, Jean  145 Moore, George  24 moral philosophy  1, 76 moral saint  156 Moriarty, James  64 Morris, William  63–4 Moss, Detective Sergeant  20 Muir, Edwin  23–4, 48–9 Narcissus argument  118–19 narrative aesthetic criteria for  157–8 autobiography, in see autobiography, narrative, as good life, as an account of see good life, narrative account of

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Index  247

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paradigm of  17, 128–9, 142–8 self, as an account of see self, narrative account of self-knowledge, relation to  170–211 self-realization, relation to part II passim self-unifcation see self-unifcation narrativism 127–30 non-additive see good life, non-additive accounts of and shape of a life self-interpreting see self-interpretation self-unifying see self-unifcation narrativity see narrative, paradigm of narrator  16, 22, 25, 39, 43–4, 47–8, 142–3, 153–5, 168 nature/nurture  114, 189–90 Newman, John Henry  14 Nietzsche, Friedrich  109 Niven, Larry  13 North, Oliver  64–5 Norton, David L.  109 no-self  74, 84–5, 168–9, 171 novel  15–18, 25–7, 29, 43–6, 69, 73–4, 165, 177–8, 181, 184, 197, 221–2 Nussbaum, Martha C.  37n.64, 43, 70n.105, 90n.156, 100n.194, 107n.197, 113n.209 O’Brien, Tim  61, 192, 195, 197 O’Neill, John  137 obituaries 135 objective stance  179 obligation  55–6, 70, 103–4, 163–5, 186–7, 189–90 Oh! What a Lovely War (play and flm)  132n.8 Olney, James  15–16 One Tousand and One Nights 18 oppression  9, 55, 182, 184, 189–90, 211 Orson, Welles see two lives (thought experiment) Orwell, George  13 Owen, Wilfred  132 pain  88–9, 99–101, 121–2, 140–1, 175–7, 190, 217 paradigm asceticism, of see asceticism, paradigm of autobiography, of see autobiography, paradigm of narrative, of see narrative, paradigm of Parft, Derek  70n.105, 77n.117, 82n.137, 84–5, 91n.161, 96–7, 107n.197, 140n.22, 159n.49, 180n.69

particularism 37 Pascal, Roy  15–16 paternalism 112–13 Patterson, Orlando  189–90 Paul, L. A.  141–9 person see persona persona  33, 48–9, 53, 65, 82–3, 85, 108, 110–11, 130–1, 159, 173 legal  55, 85, 163, 173 self, as account of see self, persona accounts of personal good see good life personal identity  1, 85, 128, 154–5, 159–61, 174 Phaedrus see Pirsig, Robert M. phenomenology  8n.3, 139–40, 209 Pirrip, Pip  44, 171 Pirsig, Robert M.  180 Plath, Sylvia  27 Plato see self, Platonic account of pleasure  1, 22, 69, 88, 96–7, 99–101, 118, 139–40, 181, 185, 199–200, 209–11 good life, as account of see good life, pleasure account of self-discovery, as see self-discovery, pleasure as poetic justice  19, 142–3, 162 pomposity 54 positive psychology see psychology (discipline), positive potentialities see capacities practical rationality  1, 70, 104, 140–1, 149 Proenneke, Richard  202 protagonist  16, 25–6, 39, 43–4, 46–8, 155–6 prudence see practical rationality prudential value see good life psychiatry (discipline)  76 psychology (discipline)  30n.49, 76, 94–5, 98n.190, 102, 104, 179 positive  94n.179, 98, 102, 104 quality of life see good life Quest, Martha see Lessing, Doris radial category  17–18, 26–8, 138, 142, 151, 194 Railton, Peter  71n.107, 92nn.167, 168, 107n.197 rapidly-forgotten Booker Prize winners  14 Rawls, John  140–1 Read, Herbert  22–3

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248 Index realism about self-knowledge see self-knowledge, pluralist realism about depressive see depression reasoning autobiography as see autobiography, rationalism about compositional 41 diachronic 39 particular 37 practical see practical rationality second-order reasons in  30, 46–8 self-refective 46 standards of correctness for  29–30, 38, 40, 42, 50, 70 recollection see memory reductionism about meaning see meaning of life, reductionism about about reasons  30n.51 about self see self, reductionist accounts of refection  8, 22–3, 93, 157, 174, 176, 215–16 on self see self-refection refective equilibrium  34–5 refexive explanation constraint  47–8, 50 refexivity  25, 43, 47–8, 50, 78–9, 83, 92, 96–8, 110–11, 118–19, 128, 144, 149–50, 152, 154, 161, 168, 170, 176, 179, 195, 213 as self see self, refexivity account of regularity  110, 192–3, 197, 209 ascetic see self-discovery, enlistment as renunciation 195 res cogitans see self, subject of experience account of resistance  28, 184, 189–91, 198, 200–1, 209, 211 right, the  1, 48, 57–8, 63, 70–1, 74, 104–5, 206–7 Rivers, W. H. R.  155 roman-à-clef 26–7 romanticism  16, 109, 209 Rosati, Connie  70n.105, 71n.107, 92n.167, 127, 154–5, 166 Rose, Jonathan  33 Rosenberg, Isaac  132–3 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques  14–15, 219 Rudd, Anthony  127 Ryan, Richard M.  94–5 Ryle, Gilbert  47

Sacks, Oliver  47, 138n.19 Salter, James  192–3, 197, 209 Sarton, Mary  202–3 Sassoon, Siegfried  1, 10–11, 17–18, 36–46, 68, 73, 76, 132–70, 199–200 Scanlon, T. M.  30n.51, 104–5 scepticism  11n.6, 116, 168–9, 171, 178n.67 Schechtman, Marya  85, 127, 159–73 Schwitzgebel, Eric  215 science fction  13, 18 Scott, Michael  181, 184 Scott, Robert Falcon  144, 157–8 Seigel, Jerrold  82 self accounts of  49, 67, 76–84, 96, 102, 105–8 activity account of  80 agency account of  77 animalist account of see self, living body account of anti-realist accounts of  82 bodily account of see self, living body account of consciousness account of  67, 77, 83–4, 86 defationary account of  76–7 diachronic accounts of  83 experiential accounts of  82 frst-order accounts of  83 good life, relation to  107 intersubjective accounts of  82 living body account of  67, 81–5, 153, 160–1 metaphysics of  114 mind account of  67, 79, 82–3, 86 moral 80 multidimensional accounts of  82 narrative account of  79, 82–5, 127, 153–211 nonexistence of see no-self non-reductionist accounts of  82 non-separateness account of  77, 83 one-dimensional accounts of  82 opacity of  112–14, 152, 168–70, 175–213, 219, 223 owner account of  79 performative account of see self, activity account of persona accounts of  82–3, 110–11, 159–66, 173 Platonic account of  80, 83 projects account of  80 punctual 174

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Index  249 realist accounts of  82 reductionist accounts of  82 refexive accounts of  83, 97 refexivity account of  78 seedlike nature of  114, 152, 168–70, 175–211, 214–15, 219, 223 self-consciousness account of  78, 83, 102 self-interpretation account of  78, 82–3, 129, 170–211, 217 self-knowledge, accounts suitable to be the object of  82–3, 173 self-knowledge, relation to  170–223 self-realization account of see self-realization separateness account of  77 singularity account of  79 social construction account of  80, 82–3 subject of experience account of  78–9, 83–5 synchronic accounts of  83, 110–11 tasks for an account of  84, 104, 107, 173 taxonomies of  82, 110–11 timeless accounts of  23–4, 48–9, 83, 110–11 true  53n.80, 54–5, 67, 73, 81–4, 86, 102, 108, 152, 171, 190 unchosen nature of  62, 114, 152, 168–223 self-assessment  10, 25, 57–8, 63–4, 78, 120–2 self-command  1, 78, 89–90, 128, 189–90, 201 self-concealment  36, 65, 163, 167, 217 self-concept see persona self-consciousness  13, 15, 46, 78, 83, 102, 132, 156, 183–4, 188, 207–8 as the self see self, self-consciousness account of self-control  120, 122, 170–1 self-creation see self-making self-deception  155, 168–9, 176–7, 217 self-development  24–5, 38, 40, 48–9, 108, 114–18, 141, 146–7, 166–8, 185, 211, 213 self-discovery  16, 22, 36, 108, 114, 168–211, 217 asceticism as  192–213 enlistment as  132, 197 solitude as  202 transformative experience as see transformative experience

self-doubling  8–9, 15–16, 39, 93, 128, 155–68, 207–8, 213 self-enjoyment  57, 63, 73–5, 120, 156, 178 self-experimentation  206, 209, 211, 214 self-expression  1, 11–12, 41–2, 48–9, 53–4, 57–8, 108, 114–18, 141, 146–7, 151, 166–9, 185, 213, 219 self-forgiveness  154, 156 self-help  33, 99, 153–4 selfood see self self-ignorance  58, 214–15, 217 self-interest see good life self-interpretation  24–5, 33, 46, 78, 82–3, 93, 133, 170–211, 217 as self see self, self-interpretation account of self-investigation  8, 53, 57, 74, 163–5, 168, 173, 217 self-knowledge autobiography, relation to see autobiography, self-knowledge, relation to Delphic demand for  53, 57, 85, 127, 163, 171, 212 error theory of  171, 175 explanation, as  60, 67, 72–5, 178 good life, relation to  57, 69, 82 how vs that  216 justifcation, as  60, 63, 70–1, 73–5, 178, 206 narrative, relation to see narrative, self-knowledge, relation to pluralist realism about  176–211 self, as see self, self-interpretation account of self-enjoyment, as  57, 63, 72 self-realization, relation to see  self-realization, self-knowledge, relation to substantial  57, 85, 104, 211–12, 217 transcendental argument about  48, 52 value of  213 self-love 154 self-maintenance  93, 120, 122 self-making  83, 114, 161, 170, 203, 209 self-narration  79–80, 82–5, part II passim self-portrait  22–3, 25 self-possession 155 self-presentation  8, 10, 15–16, 25, 33, 46, 53, 74–5, 78, 82–3

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250 Index self-realization epistemological objections to  116 ethical objections to  112 experiential objections to  118 good life, account of  94, 96–7, 100, 108, part II passim metaphysical objections to  17 narrative, relation to part II passim self-knowledge, relation to  170, 213 self-recognition 199 self-refection  8, 21, 43–6, 78, 93, 113, 217 self-revelation see self-discovery self-sacrifce 71 self-shaping  84, 100–1 self-unifcation  84, 153–68, 172 shape of a life  134–51 Shelley, Percy Bysshe  17–18, 20, 47 Sherston, George see Sassoon, Siegfried Siegfried, Sassoon see two lives (thought experiment) Simpson, Joe  202–3 single-mindedness see good life, singlemindedness account of slavery  14–15, 116, 189–90 Slote, Michael  140–1 Smith, Sidonie  15–16 sociology (discipline)  113 solitude  192, 209–13 ascetic see asceticism, solitary as self-discovery see self-discovery, solitude as soul see self Spence, Donald P.  153, 164n.57 Stan Tracey Quartet  140 standards of correctness see reasoning, standards of correctness for Stein, Gertrude  14 stoicism  185, 205–7, 209 story see narrative storytelling see narrative storyteller, the  144 stranger, met once on a train (thought experiment) 90–1 Sumner, L. W.  86, 107n.197 Swinburne, Algernon  218 synchronic  22–3, 83, 110–11, 154, 207–8 good life, accounts of see good life, synchronic accounts of

taxonomy  82, 96, 110–11, 129 of accounts of good life see good life, taxonomies of of accounts of self see self, taxonomies of Taylor, Charles  109, 127, 153–4, 170, 174 Taylor, Harriet  183, 185 temporality see time Terkel, Studs  217–18 therapy  104–6, 129, 153, 164n.57, 166 third-person  6–8, 48–9, 79, 144, 148–9, 156, 179 Tomas, Edward  132 Tompson, Flora  26–7 Toreau, Henry David  109, 192–3, 202–3 thought experiment autobiography as see autobiography, thought experiment, as Masha see Masha (thought experiment) stranger, met once on a train see stranger, met once on a train (thought experiment) two lives see two lives (thought experiment) Tietjens Meyers, Diana  127 Tigerland (flm)  197–8 Tigger 65 and see Lessing, Doris time in autobiography see autobiography, diachronicty of and good life see good life, additive accounts of and good life, non-additive accounts of and irony see irony and self see self, diachronic accounts of and self, synchronic accounts of and self, timeless accounts of tradition  26–8, 44–5, 82, 99, 110, 161 training see asceticism transformative experience  23–4, 84, 148, 151–2, 159, 168–9 treatise  32, 36 tree  118–19, 141, 177 true self see self, true two lives (thought experiment)  134 unhappiness see happiness and unhappiness unity of life  23–4, 48–9, 128, 153–68, 215 Upianisads 77n.116

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University

Index  251 utilitarianism  18, 32, 105–6 and see consequentialism utopia  30, 39 value-laden perception  37, 43, 50, 119 Vance, J. D.  197–8 Velleman, J. David  127, 137, 142–3 Verne, Jules  13 Verver, Maggie  43, 171 vices see virtues and vices Vietnam war  61, 64–5, 195, 200 virtues and vices  63, 223 voluntarism  185, 204

Yeats, W. B.  184 Young, Iris Marion  109 Zahavi, Dan  82, 85n.140

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Watson, Julia  15–16 Weintraub, Karl  16 welfare see good life welfare economics (discipline)  90–1, 102–4 welfarism 71 well-being see good life Welles, Orson see two lives (thought experiment)

Wells, H. G.  13 Westlund, Andrea  127 what is good for a human being see good life what makes someone’s life go best see good life Whitman, Walt  109 Williams, Bernard  34–5, 109, 146n.29 Wilson, Timothy D.  179–80 Wittgenstein, Ludwig  17n.27, 25, 69n.103 Wollheim, Richard  32 Wordsworth, William  14, 22–4, 27, 109, 183, 190 work and the workplace  110 World War One  10, 18, 43n.68, 132, 148–9 World War Two  53–4, 197 worth of persons  112

Clark, Samuel. Good Lives : Autobiography, Self-Knowledge, Narrative, and Self-Realization, Oxford University