chapter  15
12 Pages

Narrative normativity: four routes to redemption

ByCRAIG BOURNE AND EMILY CADDICK BOURNE

The relationship between falls and subsequent redemptions impacts on theories of narrative explanation, that is, of how narratives furnish an understanding of the events they represent. We explore this impact by first situating redemption within a taxonomy of ‘narrative connections’. The force of narrative connections comes from their encouraging us to look at series of events in terms of normativity (though not necessarily morality) – whether this is the right way for things to go, and whether things ought to go that way (given what has happened so far). This has implications for theories of narrative explanation. It means they must depart to some extent from theories of what the explanation of actual events consists in. For this reason, narrative connections, such as redemption, are troubling for accounts of narrative explanation which simply extend a theory of the explanation of actual events. This is most notable in the inf luential causal account of narrative explanation, which says we can understand the events which take place in a narrative by identifying their causes.