Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

January 2009

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Eric Brown


Plato argues that a perfectly virtuous individual will not fear her own death, nor will she fear or grieve the death of a loved one. In Plato's ideal society, citizens are taught not to fear death and are prohibited from public manifestations of grief. It is by no means self-evident, however, that ridding oneself of the fear of death, even if possible, is ethically or psychologically beneficial. This dissertation examines why Plato thinks that the fear of death is morally inappropriate, why he believes it is nevertheless difficult to overcome, and why he thinks acquiring and sustaining the appropriate attitudes towards death depends on favorable political circumstances. I address each of these questions within the individual context of three dialogues--the Apology, Phaedo,, and Republic.


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