What is the relationship between grief and narrative?

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2 Citations (Scopus)


In a recent article, Ratcliffe and Byrne (2022) propose a multifactorial phenomenological account of the influence of narrative on grief. Specifically, they argue that certain kinds of narrative can help navigate and negotiate the phenomenological disturbance of practical identity associated with bereavement. In this critical note, I identify and discuss two problems of their account. First, Ratcliffe and Byrne’s (2022) considerations rest on conceptually ambiguous distinctions between different narrative categories (the conceptual ambiguity problem). Second, their account appears to neglect the variability of both grief experiences and different kinds of narrative engagement (the variability problem). These problems need to be resolved to make progress in understanding the influence (if any) of narrative engagements on the phenomenology of grief.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalPhilosophical explorations: an international journal for the philosophy of mind and action
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Feb 2023


  • grief
  • conceptual ambiguity problem
  • narration
  • narrative
  • phenomenology
  • variability problem


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