John Taber


Photo: John Taber

Phone: 505 277-2405
Office: Humanities 529


I received my Ph.D. from Universität Hamburg, Germany, in 1983, (upon the publication of my dissertation) in Philosophy with Indology and General Linguistics as minor subjects. My supervisors (“gleich berechtigt”) were Profs. Reiner Wiehl (Philosophy, later of Universität Heidelberg) and Lambert Schmithausen (Indology). My first teaching appointment was in the Department of Religion, Case Western Reserve University. I joined the UNM Philosophy Department in 1987. I was Chair of the department from 2005 to 2009.

Research Interests:

The history of Indian philosophy, especially the Brahamanical and Buddhist traditions. My main interests on the Brahmanical side are Mīmāṃsā, especially the great seventhcentury thinker Kumārila Bhaṭṭa, and Advaita Vedānta. On the Buddhist side, I am occupied with the Yogācāra epistemological tradition (Vasubandhu, Dignāga, Dharmakīrti). Also, the history of Indian logic more generally. I work chiefly with Sanskrit sources.

Teaching Interests:

At the undergraduate level: our surveys of Indian philosophy and Indian Buddhism, as well as Greek Philosophy, Epistemology, and Introduction to Philosophy. At the graduate level: I work with Richard Hayes in mentoring our Ph.D. students specializing in Indian philosophy through independent studies and tutorials.

Recent Publications:

Transformative Philosophy: A Study of Śaṅkara, Fichte, and Heidegger, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1983

“What Did Kumārilabhaṭṭa Mean By ‘Svataḥ Prāmāṇya’?,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 112, 204-221, 1992

“The Significance of Kumārila’s Philosophy,” in Beyond Orientalism, ed. Eli Franco and Karin Preisendanz, Poznán Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, no. 59 (Amsterdam, 1997), pp. 373-393

“On Nāgārjuna’s So-called Fallacies: a Comparative Approach,” Indo-Iranian Journal 41, 213-244, 1998

“Much Ado About Nothing: Kumārila, Śāntarakṣita, and Dharmakīrti on the Cognition of Non-being,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 121, 72-88, 2001

“Mohanty on Śabdapramāṇa,” Journal of Indian Philosophy 30, 161-190, 2002

“Dharmakīrti Against Physicalism” (Discussion of Eli Franco, Dharmakīrti on Compassion and Rebirth), Journal of Indian Philosophy 31, 479-502, 2003

“Is Indian Logic Nonmonotonic?,” Philosophy East and West 54, 143-170, 2004

A Hindu Critique of Buddhist Epistemology: Kumārila on Perception. The “Determination of Perception” Chapter of Kumārilabhaṭṭa’s Ślokavārttika, Translation and Commentary, Routledge Curzon, London, 2005

“On Borrowing from the Indian Philosopher’s Toolbox: Comments on Mark Siderits, Personal Identity and Buddhist Philosophy,” APA Newsletter on Asian and Asian- American Philosophers and Philosophies, vol. 6, no. 1, 7-12, Fall, 2006

“Kumārila the Vedāntin?” in Mīmāṃsā and Vedānta, Papers of the 12th World Sanskrit Conference, ed. Johannes Bronkhorst (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2007), pp. 159-184

“Our Epistemic Predicament,” in Yogic Perception, Meditation, and Altered States of Consciousnesss, ed. Eli Franco, Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2009


Current Projects

A translation of the last section of Pramāṇavārttika I (from v. 311) together with Dharmakīrti’s autocommentary (Svavṛtti), in collaboration with Helmut Krasser and Vincent Eltschinger of the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Vienna.