How (And Maybe Why) To Grieve Like an Ancient Philosopher

Scott LaBarge

in Virtue and Happiness

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646043
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743368 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

How (And Maybe Why) To Grieve Like an Ancient Philosopher

Show Summary Details


Although hostility to the emotion of grief is most often associated with the Stoics, this attitude actually is shared by a surprisingly wide range of ancient schools. Some want to eradicate the emotion altogether, while others seek to preserve a limited space for it in human life, but almost all work to suppress grief in ways that are hard for modern readers to endorse. Through an examination of several examples from the consolatory literature drawn from various philosophical traditions, this chapter argues that basic commitments of ancient eudaimonism explain why this mistrust of grief was so deep and widespread, and that these commitments make it hard for the ancient defenders of moderate grief to maintain their position. the chapter also explores the extent to which we can take something helpful away from these views that so many today find objectionable.

Keywords: grief; loss; eudaimonism; consolation; Stoics; Epictetus; Seneca; Cicero; Plutarch; Crantor

Chapter.  10133 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.