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Volume 45 Issue 3 (July 2014), Pages 325-474

Whole Lives and Good Deaths (pages 331-347)


This article discusses two views associated with narrative conceptions of the self. The first view asserts that our whole life is reasonably regarded as a single unit of meaning. A prominent strand of the philosophical narrative account of the self is the representative of this view. The second view—which has currency beyond the confines of the philosophical narrative account—is that the meaning of a life story is dependent on what happens at the end of it. The article argues that the connection between these two views is more tentative than often supposed: philosophical narrativists that see life as a single unit of value and meaning nonetheless provide grounds for arguing that the end of life is not the best and may be a particularly bad time to approach and intervene in the matter of how well one's life as a whole has gone.

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