As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, I developed an interest in death and dying. This interest alone does not make me unusual. People have always been interested in, if not concerned by, death. Mortality, after all, is something which all humans share. It is also something which has important consequences for how we live and think about our lives. Considering death involves considering what it is to live, and considering whether death can be a harm involves determining how to live a good life. As a PhD candidate in Ancient Philosophy at Cambridge, I will focus my research on Lucretius’ treatment of death and poetic immortality. With Lucretius as my guide, I plan to address the following questions: To what extent does a sustained reflection on mortality direct one’s philosophical and practical activities? In what sense does such an examination influence how we understand the shape or structure of human life? How might thinking about the nature and value of death shed light on questions of well-being, metaphysical and personal identity, and prudential reasoning? In thinking through the issues involved in these discussions it is my goal not only to illuminate Lucretius’ own views, but also offer some assistance in our own engagement with the same questions.
University of Cambridge