The Story of My Life: Personal Narration, Meaning in Life, and Literary Nonfiction


LAC Burkhardt




For residence at the Department of Philosophy at Stanford University during academic year 2019-2020


Humans often tell stories about themselves to themselves and to others. This two-part project explores this distinctive human habit. The first part is a set of academic articles addressing the subject of personal narration from within ethics and philosophy of literature. In ethics, it examines the idea that telling a story about one’s life can make one’s life more meaningful. In philosophy of literature, it discusses several neglected conceptual and evaluative questions about the “literary face” of self-life narration: memoir and personal essays. The second part is a collection of interlinked essays on what makes for a meaningful life. The essays combine recent research in analytic philosophy with personal narration, using the style and structure of literary nonfiction.