53 - 62 South Bridge
KBNS Café Philosophique
‘Narratives of Self-Knowledge – Locating ourselves between decision and discovery’
Dr Emily Postan (MI Deputy Director and Early Career Fellow in Bioethics) will be discussing the use of narratives in self-knowledge at a public KBNS Cafe Philosophique event at Blackwell’s bookshop in Edinburgh on 18 March.
All are welcome, tickets are available here
Psychotherapy may be seen as an investigation into a (broken) self followed by an attempt to make internal changes leading to a new (and fixed) version of that self. But one particular approach, narrative therapy, resists the idea that what’s most needed is some internal re-jigging of the innards of the mind and favours something more like a re-positioning in relation to the range of stories that can be made to fit the many episodes that make up our lives. In doing so, it often challenges dominant and socially privileged narratives – for example ones featuring categories such as depression, anxiety, and many more – that may be what has brought a person into the therapy room in the first place.
Similar challenges arise way beyond the therapy room, not least in bioethics. The radical prospect of being willing to set aside any pre-existing narrative can be dizzying for the individual and troubling for the theorist. The idea that every one of us creates who we are through the stories we tell about ourselves poses a beguiling yet unsettling prospect. If such freedom is permissible, does anything constrain our investigation of who we are and who we can be? And if something does constrain it, in what ways does this differ from the imposition of others’ ideas of who we are allowed to be? Drawing on examples from psychotherapy, philosophy, and bioethics our speakers explore what self-knowledge might mean for those who are strongly motivated to embrace a narrative conception of identity.
Speakers: Matthew Elton is a psychotherapist in private practice in Edinburgh and a former lecturer in philosophy at the University of Stirling. Emily Postan is Early Career Fellow in Bioethics in the School of Law, University of Edinburgh