A Criticism of Alasdair MacIntyre’s Account of Narrative Identity. A Neuro-philosophical Perspective

  • Ali Abedi Renani Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9892-3633
  • Saleh Hasanzadeh Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran
  • Seyed Ebrahim Sarparast Sadat Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran
Keywords: MacIntyre, identity, narrative, good, psychology


In MacIntyre’s view, the agent in order to have a consistent identity should be able to narrate a story about her life, which relates the different episodes of her life together. This story should explain the transition between these episodes. This story is based on the notion of the good of human beings. A notion of the good should be present in the agent’s life to give a direction to her life. This integrity forms an identity for the agent. We intend to challenge this narrative view of identity in this paper. We will argue in this paper that though identity is formed in the eye of others, it does not need to be constituted in a unified narrative form, i.e., the agent does not need to place all episodes of her life in narrative order and have a consistent and unified account of her life, which includes her life from birth to death. Rather, shorter-term episodes of time suffice for identity formation. We will appeal to some findings of empirical psychology and neuroscience to support our claim.

Author Biographies

Ali Abedi Renani, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran

Assistant Professor of Political Sciences

Saleh Hasanzadeh, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran

Associate Professor of Theology and Islamic Studies

Seyed Ebrahim Sarparast Sadat, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran

Assistant Professor of Political Sciences


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