Amber D Carpenter

Humanities (Philosophy)

Associate Professor

Contact No.: +65 6601-3689

Associate Professor Amber D Carpenter works in ancient Greek and classical Indian philosophy, with a topical focus on the metaphysics, epistemology and moral psychology underpinning Plato’s ethics and Indian Buddhist ethics.

While publishing on each of these areas of specialisation separately, her work increasingly brings Greek and Indian Buddhist philosophy together around topics at the intersection of metaphysics, mind, epistemology and ethics. She is also interested in contemporary relevance of ancient views, as well as interdisciplinary work, as in her collaboration on the Integrity Project.

She has taught or held visiting research appointments at the University of York, St Andrews, Cornell, Oxford, the University of Melbourne and Yale University.

Assoc Prof Carpenter recently held a fellowship with The Beacon Project, exploring ‘Ethical Ambitions and their Formation of Character’ in Plato and in Buddhist thought, and is currently running an international grant-funded project on Buddhist-Platonism.

Assoc Prof Carpenter’s research interests are predominantly focused on Ancient Philosophy (especially Greek) and Classical Indian Philosophy (especially Buddhist). Her current research concerns a non-eudemonistic interpretation of Plato’s ethics, focused on knowing reality; it explores Plato’s epistemology as ethically motivated and as having significant implications for moral development of character. Further research argues for the essential similarity between Platonic and Buddhist ethics as governed by the aim to know reality, and informed by importantly similar moral psychologies; and it explores the relevant ethical differences between them consequent upon their very different metaphysics and epistemologies.

Other previous and ongoing lines of research include:

— Philosophy of Animals/Animal Ethics (podcast at History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps)

— Narratives and Other practices of Moral Formation (podcast with ABC Radio)

— integrity, (most recently Portraits of Integrity:


Representative publications include:

Indian Buddhist Philosophy. Routledge (Acumen) 2014

Portraits of Integrity, with C. Alston and R. Wiseman, eds. Bloomsbury 2020


‘Separation Anxieties – Parmenides 133a-35c’ in Plato’s Parmenides, L. Brisson, A. Macé and O. Renault, eds. Brill, forthcoming 2021

‘… ‘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 2021

‘Ideals and Ethical Formation: Confessions of a Buddhist-Platonist’, in Christian Coseru, ed. Springer; forthcoming 2021

‘Function and the Function of the Taxonomy of Skills in Plato’s Statesman 287b-290a, in Dimos, Lane and Sauvé-Meyer, eds., Plato’s Statesman. The Plato Dialogue Project, Oxford University Press 2021

‘Atoms and Orientation’, with Sherice Ngaserin Ng, in Atomism in Philosophy, Ugo Zilioli, ed. Bloomsbury Academic 2020

‘Plato’s Socrates: The Oddness of the Integrated Soul’, in Portraits of Integrity, Alston, Carpenter and Wiseman, eds. Bloomsbury 2020

‘Transformative Vision: Coming to See the Buddha’s Reality’ in Buddhist Literature as Philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy as Literature, Rafal Stepien, ed. SUNY Press 2020

‘Reason and Knowledge on the Path: A Protreptic Approach to the Bodhicaryāvatāra’ in Jonathan Gold, ed. Readings of the Bodhicaryāvatāra. Columbia University Press 2019

‘Impersonal Attention as a Means of Self-Dissolution and Reformation’, Ratio 31/4 (2018): 1-13

‘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. Oxford 2018, 63-86

‘The Unhappiness of the Great King’, in Verity Harte and Raphael Woolf, eds. Rereading Ancient Philosophy: Old Chestnuts and Sacred Cows. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2017, 60-79

‘The Saṃmitīyas 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, 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’, 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

Philosophy & Political Thought 1
Philosphy & Political Thought 2
Ancient Greek Philosophy
Narrative Ethics: Stories & Self-Improvement
Virtue, Reason and Nature
Indian Buddhist Philosophy
Plato on Knowing and Being Good
Philosophy Capstone Seminar