Allison Aitken

Allison Aitken

Research Interest

Allison Aitken

Assistant Professor | Columbia University

A.B., Harvard College (2013)

Ph.D., Harvard University (2020)

Allison Aitken joined the department in 2021. She earned a PhD from Harvard University in a joint program bridging the Departments of South Asian Studies and Philosophy. Before joining Columbia, she was a Bersoff Faculty Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at New York University. Prof. Aitken's research centers on non-standard theories of relations and dependence structures in the history of metaphysics, with a particular focus on Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddhist philosophical traditions. She also has interests in Classical Indian Philosophy more broadly as well as Early Modern European Philosophy. She is currently completing a book manuscript (under contract with Oxford University Press) on the Madhyamaka Buddhist ontological dependence structure understood as a kind of metaphysical indefinitism.

Selected Publications

"Nāgārjuna and Vasubandhu on the Principle of Sufficient Reason" Asian Journal of Philosophy, forthcoming.

Introduction to Reality: Śrīgupta’s Tattvāvatāravṛtti, Harvard Oriental Series, Harvard University Press, forthcoming.

"Chomden Reldri on Dharmakīrti's Examination of Relations" Histories of Tibet: Essays in Honor of Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp, eds. Kurtis Schaeffer, Jue Liang, and William McGrath, 283–305. Wisdom Publications, 2023.

“A Case Against Simple-Mindedness: Śrīgupta on Mental Mereology,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy, published online 2023.

“An Appearance-Reality Distinction in an Unreal World” Analysis 82, no. 1 (2022): 114–130.

“Śāntarakṣita: Climbing the Ladder to the Ultimate Truth,” in The Routledge Handbook of Indian Buddhist Philosophy, eds. William Edelglass, Pierre-Julien Harter, and Sara McClintock, 463–479. New York: Routledge, 2022.

“No Unity, No Problem: Madhyamaka Metaphysical Indefinitism,” Philosophers’ Imprint 21, no. 31 (2021): 1-24.

“The Truth about Śrīgupta’s Two Truths: Longchen Rabjampa’s ‘Lower Svātantrikas’ and the Making of a New Philosophical School,” Journal of South Asian Intellectual History 3, no. 2 (2021): 185–225.

“Somethings and Nothings: Śrīgupta and Leibniz on Being and Unity,” Philosophy East and West 70, no. 4 (2020): 1022-1046. (with Jeffrey K. McDonough).