Narrative Psychological Constructionism

  • Benedetta Magro

Student thesis: Phd


This dissertation aims to restore the pivotal role of the subject within emotional experiences by stressing the importance that both narrative identity and self-concept have in determining those very emotional experiences. In order to achieve so, I will appeal to a specific family of accounts of emotions, borrowed from the psychological literature: Psychological Constructionism. The first half of this thesis will be devoted to presenting and discussing both the strengths and the weaknesses of Psychological Constructionism. Since Psychological Constructionism stems from the psychological literature, many philosophical issues remain open and need to be addressed. Among them are how to cash out the intentionality of core affect, what the best account of concepts is, whether Psychological Constructionism qualifies as a perceptual or a cognitive account, and so forth. The second half of this thesis will be devoted to factoring narrative identity and self-concept into Psychological Constructionism; by borrowing examples from the literature (e.g., David Foster Wallace, Megan Nolan) and from popular tv series (e.g., Breaking Bad), I will argue that most of our emotional experiences would not be intelligible in a deeper sense without considering one's own narrative and self-concept. In turn, emotional experiences shape and influence the kind of self-concept and narrative we possess. To conclude, my dissertation will enrich Psychological Constructionism by including narrative and self-concept as sources of variability and by making it a competitor on the market of philosophical accounts of emotions.
Date of Award1 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJonathan Mitchell (Supervisor) & Joel Smith (Supervisor)


  • Psychological Constructionism
  • Narrative Identity
  • Philosophy of Emotions
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Psychology

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