Doing Philosophy is Learning to Die


Course description

In 1580 the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne wrote his essay "Doing Philosophy is Learning to Die," recycling many passages and ideas from his favourite Latin philosophers, especially Lucretius and Seneca. Expanded new versions of this essay were published in 1588 and 1595, showing the results of Montaigne's continual reflections on the topic of death and how to die like a philosopher. In this discussion seminar we ask ourselves and each other what would count as a respectable or desirable or wise demise, applying our individual philosophies to our own mortal predicaments. In this investigation we will be guided by the experience of two instructors, a retired physician and cancer specialist and a specialist in ancient philosophy who will illuminate the Latin sources of Montaigne's essay, as well as its historical context and his ways of thinking and writing.

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