Michael CholbiDec 31, 2021
A Philosophical Guide
Princeton University Press 2022
We think of grief as a normal response to the death of a loved one. We’re familiar with the so-called “five stages” of grief. Grief seems as an emotional episode that befalls us along life’s way, something to be endured and then gotten over. But grief isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. For one thing, we can grieve for strangers. And although there seems to be something like a duty to grieve, it’s not clear to whom such a duty could be owed. Perhaps grief is indeed a psychologically normal response to death, but might it nonetheless be bad for us to grieve?
Despite such questions, there has been surprisingly little attention given to grief among philosophers. In Grief: A Philosophical Guide (Princeton University Press, 2021), Michael Cholbi bucks that trend. He offers a philosophical analysis of grief as a complex affective process that focuses attention on matters that can contribute to self-knowledge.
Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.