Hume's Lucianic Thanatotherapy

Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand) 16 (B):327-344 (2013-14)
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The eighteenth century philosopher David Hume was much influenced by Greek philosophy and literature. His favourite writer was the satirist Lucian. What is David Hume’s thanatotherapy (therapy of the fear of death)? Is he an Epicurean or Pyrrhonian thanatotherapist? I argue that, while he is in part an Epicurean who is sceptical about his Epicureanism, he is primarily a Lucianic thanatotherapist. A Lucianic thanatotherapist uses self and other deprecating irony as a form of therapy. He also ruthlessly satirises religious consolations. I use Hume’s deathbed allusions to Lucian’s Kataplous (floating downwards) and the Dialogues of the Dead to explain my view.

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