Humans are, as Charles Taylor (1985, ch. 2) has suggested, ‘self-interpreting animals’. I take this to mean that the selves which we are – and which each of us is – are formed through the ways in which we interpret (and misinterpret) ourselves. Of course, we do not create for ourselves the conceptual resources we employ in these self-interpretations. They are provided for us by the forms of life within which we live. These self-conceptions – these identities – give us a perspective on the world, a sense of the past and the future – and in particular a sense of our past and our future. They provide us with the values and standards on which we judge and act. An identity defines a perspective on the world and our place in it. It is because we understand the world in a certain way that it has a certain pertinence to us. It calls upon us – or those who have the appropriate identity – to act in one way rather than another. It is because an identity defines a world that it is also a mode of agency.