Masterly Pursuits #1: Toni Lambert

[The Master’s Essay is an optional way to capstone your time here in the Graduate Institute. If your proposal is approved, one tutor is assigned to mentor you throughout your writing journey until submission of the thirty to sixty-page final draft. If your essay is approved, a panel of tutors holds an Oral Examination, where family members and friends can silently watch you discuss and ponder your paper with three faculty members. The Master’s Oral Examination might be my favorite ceremony of the year. For more information about the optional Master’s Essay, click here.]

  • Working title/topic of your essay?

Working title — “On Living: Concerns Regarding Death and the Afterlife.” I am analyzing views towards the act of dying and the images of the afterlife that come up in select Platonic dialogues. I am hoping to better understand why the images are different by taking into account the greater contexts of the dialogue at hand: the topic of discussion, prior objections and concerns discussed, the interlocutors, the audience, and so forth.

  • Texts used?

The Apology, the Phaedo, and Book X of the Republic.

  • Why this topic?

I read the Apology so many times throughout my undergraduate career and loved it; further, in the same semester, I read the Phaedo and the Republic. These two dialogues in contrast with the Apology left me in awe over how different the images of the afterlife and views towards dying are. This sparked my desire to write on this topic, and now being at SJC with the opportunity to work with a tutor, it seemed like the perfect time.

  • What’s the most interesting/random/funny fact you’ve discovered so far?

The word for invisible is αιδες; the word for the afterlife — that we all know — is Hades or Hαιδες (the “H” is actually a breath mark that my keyboard is not capable of putting in), so there is a pun in saying the soul is invisible and will return to the afterlife: the invisible will return to the invisible, its likeness. Maybe Plato’s Socrates was being punny, or maybe it’s the truth!

  • What aspect of the Oral Examination are you most excited for?

I look at the Oral Exam simply as a conversation among four people. I consider myself so lucky to have three tutors paying attention to nothing but what I wrote and my responses to their questions.

  • What aspect of the Oral Examination are you most dreading?

Honestly, I am very fearful of being distracted by the audience. I am also fearful of not having a bottle of champagne ready for me after!

  • What do you hope to do after graduating St. John’s?

I hope to pursue a PhD in philosophy or philosophy and education; I want to write my dissertation on Aristotle.

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