Published on InTouch (

Why the Stoics Think There is No Right Way to Grieve



Professor Dan Russell
Professor, Freedom Center and Department of Philosophy, University of Arizona

Grief is an emotional response to loss that we think can be healthy and even appropriate.  Epictetus and other Stoic philosophers disagree: they hold the radical view that there is no healthy way to grieve, and that true happiness depends entirely on the choices we make, not on anything that can be given or taken away.  Many modern readers dismiss the Stoics as obsessed with invulnerability, but Professor Dan Russell thinks that this is too hasty.  We grieve because we stake our happiness on things we cannot control, but the Stoics say that such a view of our happiness is ultimately what jeopardizes our character, our freedom, and even our very humanity.  Whether we agree with the Stoics about grief or not, Russell argues, they do have a point about happiness that demands to be reckoned with.

Professor Dan Russell is the Percy Seymour Reader in Ancient History and Philosophy at Ormond College, a Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne, and Professor of Philosophy in the Arizona Center for the Philosophy of Freedom at the University of Arizona (Tucson).  He specialises in ancient philosophy and moral philosophy. His research focuses on living well: personal excellence, human well being, and the relation between the two. He is the author, with Oxford University Press’ Clarendon imprint, of Plato on Pleasure and the Good Life (2005), Practical Intelligence and the Virtues (2009), and Happiness for Humans (forthcoming 2012), and is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Virtue Ethics (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2012).

Wednesday, 2 May 2012 | 6.30pm - 7.30pm

Theatre B
Old Arts Building
The University of Melbourne

Location map

Contact Tamsin Courtney in the Faculty of Arts at or 03 8344 8985.

Connect with us Follow the Melbourne Uni Alumni Facebook page  Follow the University of Melbourne Alumni LinkedIn group  View the University of Melbounre Alumni photostream  Follow us on Twitter
Date created: 27 July 2010
Last modified: 22 September 2011
Authoriser: Director of Alumni Relations
Maintainer: Alumni Relations
The University of Melbourne ABN: 84 002 705 224
CRICOS Provider Number 00116K (visa information)
Accessibility | Disclaimer & copyrightPrivacy |  Website terms of use