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Narratives of the Self in the Study of Religion. Epistemological Reflections Based on a Pragmatic Notion of Weak Rationality

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a different approach to the study of self-narratives. It starts with key concepts of the self as narrative in personality psychology, which offer insight into the dynamic process of autobiographical reasoning and narrative processing. Next, the chapter examines the notion of weak rationality, which avoids both absolute truth claims and relativism. The concept of weak rationality, while assuming that all knowledge derives from a specific epistemic community, acknowledges the need to enter into conversation with other epistemic communities. The chapter outlines the characteristics of a study of religious self-narratives based on a pragmatic epistemology. These include the type of theory, knowledge, rationality, reasoning and methodology required in a pragmatic inquiry into self-narratives. Self-narratives reflect a psychological process of self-knowledge that is full of change, complexity and different I-positions, with few, if any, universal claims and marked by dual processing that is not always synchronized.

Keywords: I-positions; personality psychology; pragmatic epistemology; relativism; religious self-narratives; weak rationality



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