Amber D Carpenter

Humanities (Philosophy)

Associate Professor

Contact No.: +65 6601-3689

Professor Amber D Carpenter is Associate Professor at Yale-NUS College, and supervises doctoral students at the University of York.

After a PhD (London) and scholarly publications on Plato’s ethics, moral psychology and metaphysics, an Einstein Fellowship enabled her to begin research into Sanskrit philosophy, focusing on Buddhist materials. Her book Indian Buddhist Philosophy appeared in 2014. She continues to publish on Greek philosophy and, increasingly, on Greek and Indian Buddhist philosophy together, focusing usually on the ethical implications and underpinnings of metaphysical and epistemological arguments. She has taught or held visiting research appointments at the University of York, St. Andrews, Cornell and Oxford, the University of Melbourne and Yale.

Professor Carpenter currently holds a fellowship with The Beacon Project, exploring ‘Ethical Ambitions and their Formation of Character’ in Plato and in Buddhist thought.

Professor Carpenter’s research interests are predominantly concerned with how metaphysical or epistemological pictures imply or preclude ethical orientations, how metaphysical or epistemological debates arise from, or act as proxies for ethical disputes, and how practices of adopting or investigating metaphysical pictures or epistemological practices have an effect on the person so thinking.

As part of the study of ‘Ethical Ambitions and their Formation of Character’, Professor Carpenter is currently writing on:
– ‘Impersonal Attention as a Means of Self-Dissolution and Reformation in Buddhaghosa’
– ‘Reason and Knowledge on the Path: A Protreptic Approach to the Bodhicaryāvatāra’
– ‘Ideals and Ethical Formation: A Platonist-Buddhist Manifesto’,
– ‘Narratives of the Morally Outstanding’

Inquiries into Metaphysics and Epistemology as Ethics currently include:
– ‘The Ethics of Atomism’
– ‘Ethics of Substance’
– ‘Process Ontology and the Ethics of Individuation’
– ‘Ethics Without Justice’
– ‘… ‘and none of us deserving the cruelty or the grace’ – Buddhism and the Problem of Evil’

Professor Carpenter also collaborates with Rachael Wiseman on the Integrity Project (

Selected publications: 

‘Impersonal Attention as a Means of Self-Dissolution and Reformation’ for a special issue of Ratio, guest edited by Shalini Sinha

‘Reason and Knowledge on the Path: A Protreptic Approach to the Bodhicaryāvatāra’ for Jonathan Gold, ed. Readings of the Bodhicaryāvatāra; under contract with Columbia University Press; expected 2018

‘… ‘and none of us deserving the cruelty or the grace’ – Buddhism and the Problem of Evil’, in Engaging Buddhist Philosophy: A Cross-Cultural Approach to the Perennial Questions. Steven Emmanuel, ed. Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2017

‘Illuminating Community: How to learn from India’s lack of a category for non-human animals’, in Oxford Philosophical Concepts: Animals, P. Adamson and F. Edwards, eds. OUP. forthcoming 2017

‘The Unhappiness of the Great King’, Rereading Ancient Philosophy: Old Chestnuts and Sacred Cows. Verity Harte and Raphael Woolf, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press forthcoming 2017

‘The Saṁmitīyas and the Case of the Missing Who: A Buddhist Whodunit?’, in The Return of Consciousness – A New Science on Ancient Questions, A. Haag, ed. Ax:son Johnson Foundation 2017

‘Perfect Knowledge and its Affects’ in Plato’s Philebus: Proceedings of the IX Symposium Platonicum Pragense: Philebus, Jakub Jirsa, Filip Karfik and Štěpán Špinka, eds. Prague: OIKOYMENH 2017

‘Ethics Without Justice: Eliminating the Roots of Resentment’ in A Mirror is for Reflection: Understanding Buddhist Ethics, Jake Davis, ed. New York: Oxford University Press 2017

‘Ranking Knowledge in Plato’s Philebus’, in Phronesis 60 (2015): 180-205

‘Persons Keeping Their Karma Together’ in The Moon Points Back: Analytic Philosophy and Asian Thought. Garfield, Priest and Tanaka, eds. New York: Oxford University Press 2015

‘Ethics of Substance’, in the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume LXXXVIII (2014): 145-68

‘Pleasure as Genesis’. Ancient Philosophy 31 (2011): 73-94

‘Embodying Intelligence (?): Plants in Plato’s Timaeus’. Phronesis 55 (2010): 281-303

‘Can You Seek the Answer to this Question?’ [with Jonardon Ganeri]. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2010): 571-594 (The ‘Paradox of Inquiry’ in India)

Philosophy & Political Thought I
Philosophy & Political Thought II
Indian Buddhist Philosophy
Plato on Knowing and Being Good