Agora Speaker Series - Dr Regina Fabry

  • 18 May 2023
  • 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM (AEST)
  • The School of Liberal Arts, University of Wollongong

The School of Liberal Arts, University of Wollongong invites you to attend the

Agora Speaker Series

Thursday 18 May, 3.30 to 5.00pm 

This is an in-person event at the University of Wollongong 

Dr Regina Fabry (Macquarie University)

Narrative Gaslighting
Self-narration, many philosophers argue, makes important contributions to our sense of self. Orthodox accounts describe self-narration as an internalistic and individualistic process, which relies on implicit mental organising principles (Schechtman, 1996) or a particular mode of thinking (Goldie, 2012). More recently, however, communicative-interactive accounts have emphasised the crucial roles of communicative exchange and social interaction for self-narration (e.g., Hutto, 2016; McConnell, 2016). On one such account, interlocutors influence the unfolding of self-narration to varying degrees, ranging from linguistic and paralinguistic expressions of active engagement to proper co-narration (Fabry, 2023). While these accounts have many advantages, they face problems that their internalistic-individualistic rivals can avoid. As McConnell (2016) notes, once we allow for the possibility that interlocutors contribute to self-narration, self-narrators can become targets of malicious manipulation and nefarious interference. In this talk, I will explore one such problem: narrative gaslighting. Gaslighting, following Abramson’s (2014) analysis, can be defined as a kind of communicative act that destroys the target’s standing as a cognitive and moral agent. This destruction proceeds by undermining the target’s conception of themself as a subject who remembers, interprets, and responds to their own lived experience in ways that are reliable and reasonable. In many cases, I will argue, gaslighting can be described as a malicious and nefarious form of co-narration, one in which the interlocutor continuously undermines the target’s self-narrative competence, and thereby their cognitive and moral agency. I will conclude by considering the implications of my description of narrative gaslighting for communicative-interactive accounts of self-narration.


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The Agora Speaker Series is proudly hosted by The School of Liberal ArtsFaculty of Arts, Social Sciences and HumanitiesUniversity of WollongongNSW 2522 Australia

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