Epicurus and Grief

International Journal of Philosophical Practice 9 (1):1-8 (2023)
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Abstract

Distress and guilt are common aspects of grief. For many, especially those experiencing complicated grief, guilt can often feel overwhelming and be prolonged. Those grieving are often subject to thoughts of the form “If only X” or “I should have done Y.” Fueling these thoughts is the belief that, somehow, a loved one has been harmed by death. Some who are grieving, often experience the thought that they are disappointing those who have passed or, even, harming the memory of those they love. These feelings have little logical support if, as Epicurus suggests, the dead can’t be harmed, and death is not a misfortune to the dead. In this article I will outline the Epicurean view on death with the expectation that it may be useful in philosophical counseling for those experiencing anguish as a part of the process.

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Amy White
Ohio University

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