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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2011

Fischer's Way and Our Stories

Meghan Griffith
Pages 19-34
DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract20113712

Based on a True Story
Narrative and the Value of Acting Freely

In several essays, John Fischer motivates his guidance control view of moral responsibility by discussing the value of acting freely. What we value, he argues, is unhindered self-expression that derives its meaning from a narrative structure. In this paper, I claim that while Fischer may be correct that self-expression (understood in its narrative sense) is the value of acting freely, it is less clear that the kind of self-expression that we value sits comfortably with determinism. The meaning of one’s narrative may include the accuracy of one’s self-conception, an accuracy that may be substantially undermined by the truth of determinism.

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