Knowledge and Goodness: Rival Buddhist and Platonic Accounts of How Knowing Makes Us Good

  • Amber Carpenter, Philosophy, Yale-NUS College
    Coach House, Green College, UBC and livestreamed

    Tuesday, January 25, 5-6:30 pm
    in the series
    Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professor
  • To claim that knowledge is significantly related to moral goodness looks like a classic case of the philosopher's self-serving prejudice. Apparent counter-examples to the claim are plentiful and readily available. Yet both Plato and various Indian Buddhist philosophers insist there is a deep connection between knowing and goodness. This talk will examine their respective, and very different, models on which this radical claim might become plausable. While the Platonic and Buddhist accounts differ significantly in their conception of knowledge, in both cases the plausibility of the core claim hangs not just on what knowing is, but also on what seeking such a thing involves and the effects this seeking has. The exercise draws attention to what the process of seeking knowledge does to the one seeking it, which is as relevant today as it was 2,500 years ago. Caring about truth makes us into the people we are, so that the loss of knowledge as an impersonal ideal does not just damage public discourse, it damages our character.

    Amber Carpenter is an Associate Professor of Humanities (Philosophy) at Yale-NUS University. Amber has held/taught visiting research appointments at the Universities of Cornell, Melbourne, Oxford, St. Andrews, Yale and York, and recently completed a fellowship with The Beacon Project. Learn more about her current, international grant-funded project on Buddhism-Platonism here.

  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.


January 25th, 2022 5:00 PM   through   6:30 PM
Coach House
6201 Cecil Green Park Rd
Green College, UBC
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
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