Emily McRae

Associate Professor

Photo: Emily McRae

Email: emcrae@unm.edu
Office: Humanities 525
Hours: On leave for AY23-24

  • B.S. (Union College '03)
  • M.A. (University of Wisconsin '08)
  • Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin '11)


I specialize in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, ethics, moral psychology, and feminism. Much of my work is devoted to issues regarding the emotions, morality and contemplative practices such as meditation. I am curious about questions such as: How do we cultivate our emotions and transform our emotional dispositions? Can we choose our emotions? How does the process of cultivating and transforming emotions, especially through meditation practices, figure into one's moral development? How can Buddhist contemplative and ethical practices contribute to understanding and overcoming unjust social institutions such as racism and patriarchy?

I am currently writing a book on Buddhist approaches to understanding moral ignorance (Sanskrit: avidyā; Tibetan: ma rig pa). This book draws on Indo-Tibetan Buddhist accounts of ignorance to construct a model of moral ignorance that, I argue, can speak meaningfully to contemporary moral ignorance, such as white ignorance, American ignorance, and climate crisis denial.

I also enjoy reading and writing about ancient Greek and Hellenistic philosophy, particularly Stoicism, and ancient Chinese philosophy. I am a student of Tibetan language and enjoy reading Tibetan Buddhist texts and listening to Tibetan Buddhist teachers whenever I can.

Recent Publications:


Translation of and commentary to Patrul Rinpoche’s Essential Jewel of Holy Practice (with Jay Garfield). Boston: Wisdom Books, November 2017.

Buddhism and Whiteness: Critical Reflections (co-edited with George Yancy). Lexington Press. Forthcoming 2019.

Articles and Book Chapters

“Perspective-taking and the Flexible Mind: Tibetan Buddhist Moral Psychology and the Virtue of Open-Mindedness,” Open-mindedness and Perspective, edited by Wayne Riggs. Oxford University Press. Forthcoming 2019

“White Delusion and Avidyā: A Buddhist Approach to Understanding and Deconstructing White Ignorance,” Buddhism and Whiteness, edited by Emily McRae and George Yancy. Lexington. Forthcoming 2019.

“Love, Attention, and Equanimity” in Feminist Philosophy of Mind, edited by Keya Maitra and Jen McWeeny. (Oxford University Press), forthcoming 2019.

“The Self and Self-Narratives: Comments on Zawidzski, Huebner, Aviv” Journal of Buddhist Philosophy (special issue, edited by Christian Coseru), forthcoming 2019.

“Anger and Oppression: A Tantric Buddhist Perspective” in The Moral Psychology of Anger

(Rowan and Littlefield), Edited by Owen Flanagan and Myisha Cherry, 2018.

“Buddhism and the Psychology of Moral Judgments” for Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics, edited by Daniel Cozort and Mark Shields, 2018.

“Detachment in Buddhist Ethics: Apatheia, Ataraxia and Equanimity,” Ethics Without Self, Dharma without Atman (Springer). Edited by Gordon Davis, June 2018

“Suffering and the Six Perfections: Using Adversity to Attain Wisdom in Mahāyāna Buddhist Ethics,” Journal of Value Inquiry, January 2018.

“Finding a Place for Buddhism in the Ethics of the Future: Comments on Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting,” Philosophy and Technology by Shannon Vallor,” Philosophy and Technology, October 2017.

“Equanimity in Relationship: Responding to Moral Ugliness,” A Mirror is For Reflection: Contemporary Perspectives on Buddhist Ethics, (Oxford University Press). Edited by Jake Davis, July 2017.

“Empathy, Compassion, and ‘Exchanging Self and Other’ in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Ethics” for Handbook of Philosophy of Empathy (Routledge), edited by Heidi Maibom, 2017.

“Equanimity and the Moral Virtue of Open-mindedness,” American Philosophical Quarterly 53:1, 2016: 97-108

“Metabolizing Anger: A Tantric Buddhist Solution to the Problem of Moral Anger,” Philosophy East and West 65:3, July 2015.

“Buddhist Therapies of the Emotions and the Psychology of Moral Improvement,” History of Philosophy Quarterly 32:3, April 2015.

“Equanimity and Intimacy: A Buddhist-feminist Approach to the Elimination of Bias,”

Sophia: An International Journal of Philosophy of Religion 53:3, 2013: pp. 447-462.

“Emotion, Ethics and Choice: Lessons from Tsongkhapa,” Journal of Buddhist Ethics. Volume 19, 2012.

Reprinted in Agentless Agency? Classical and Contemporary Buddhist Perspectives on Free Will. Edited by Rick Repetti (Routledge), 2016.

“A Passionate Buddhist Life,” Journal of Religious Ethics 40:1, 2012: p. 99-121.

“The Cultivation of Moral Feelings and Mengzi’s Method of Extension,” Philosophy East and West 62:1, October 2011: 587-608