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 - Register 

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.

The Agora Speaker Series is proudly hosted by
The School of Liberal Arts
Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
University of Wollongong
NSW 2522 Australia
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