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Virtue and HappinessEssays in Honour of Julia Annas$
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Rachana Kamtekar

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646043

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646043.001.0001

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

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

Chapter:
(p.320) (p.321) How (And Maybe Why) To Grieve Like an Ancient Philosopher
Source:
Virtue and Happiness
Author(s):

Scott LaBarge

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646043.003.0016

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

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