Publication Details

Hutto, D. (2007). Narrative and understanding persons. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, 60 (May), 1-16.


Our world is replete with narratives—narratives of our making that are uniquely appreciated by us. This can hardly be denied, certainly if by ‘narratives’ we have in mind only those of the purely discursive variety—i.e. those complex representations that relate and describe the course of some unique series of events, however humble, in a coherent but selective arrangement.1 Our capacity to create, enjoy and benefit from narratives so defined—be they factual or fictive—surely sets us apart from other creatures. Some, impressed by the prominence of this phenomenon in the traffic of human life, have been tempted to deploy that famous Aristotelian formula, holding that we are, inter alia, not just social or rational or political animals but that we are also rightly distinguished as narrative or story-telling animals.



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