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Talk on Impersonal Idealism: A Buddhist-Platonist Alternative

Friday 22 April 2022
P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden

Also available online: https://smart.newrow.com/room/nr2/?room_id=ytz-076&fr=lti

The Leiden University Centre for Intercultural Philosophy has the pleasure to announce a talk by Amber Carpenter.

Dr. Amber D Carpenter, Yale NUS College Singapore

Impersonal Idealism: A Buddhist-Platonist Alternative


Buddhist and Platonic ethics share a perspective which sets them apart from familiar moral theories, including the 'virtue ethics' inspired by ancient Greek. For Plato as for the Indian Buddhists, our primary moral task is to transform ourselves radically—and for each the primary mechanism for doing so is knowing reality. Moreover, unlike Aristotle, this knowledge which transforms us not, in the first instance, knowledge of what to do, but rather knowledge of impersonal reality. Orienting ourselves towards knowing an impersonal reality reconfigures our orientation away from the human world, enabling both Buddhism and Platonism to offer radical critique of our ordinary lives and everyday measures of good and bad--although the particular critiques offered may differ.


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.


Chiara Robbiano
Stephen Harris


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