John Taber

Regents' Professor

Photo: John Taber

Office: Humanities 529
Hours: Tuesdays 11am to noon

  • B.A. (Kansas, '71)
  • Ph.D. (Hamburg, '83)


I received my Ph.D. from Universität Hamburg, Germany, in 1983, (upon the publication of my dissertation with University Press of Hawaii) 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 Brahmanical and Buddhist traditions. My main interests on the Brahmanical side are Mīmāṃsā, especially the great seventh-century thinker Kumārila, 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 enjoy working with Pierre-Julien Harter and Emily McRae in mentoring our M.A. and Ph.D. students specializing in Indian philosophy through independent studies and tutorials. (See also Other Information below.)

Recent Publications:

“Kumārila’s Buddhist,” Journal of Indian Philosophy 38, 279-296, 2010

“Did Dharmakīrti Think the Buddha Had Desires?” in Religion and Logic in Buddhist Philosophical Analysis, Proceedings of the Fourth International Dharmakīrti Conference (Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2011), pp. 437-448

“Uddyotakara’s Defense of a Self,” in Hindu and Buddhist Ideas in Dialogue, ed. Irina Kuznetsova, Jonardon Ganeri, and Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 97-114

Can the Veda Speak? Dharmakīrti Against Mīmāṃsā Exegetics and Vedic Authority: An Annotated Translation of PVSV 164,24 – 176,16. Vincent Eltschinger, Helmut Krasser, and John Taber. Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, 2012

“Engaging Philosophically with Indian Philosophical Texts,” Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques, 67/1, 125-164, 2013

Feature review of R. Gombrich, What the Buddha Thought, Buddhist Studies Review, 30/1, 129-136, 2013,

“Studies in Yogācāra Idealism I: the Interpretation of Vasubandhu’s Viṃśikā,” with Birgit Kellner, Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques, December, 2014

“A Road Not Taken in Indian Epistemology: Kumārila’s Defense of the Perceptibility of Universals,” in Indian Epistemology and Metaphysics, ed. Joerg Tuske, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015

“Coreference and Qualification: Dignāga Debated by Kumārila and Dharmakīrti,” with Kei Kataoka, Oxford Handbook of Indian Philosophy, ed. Jonardon Ganeri, 2015

Other Information:


As Emeritus Regents' Professor, Professor Taber has continued to teach one graduate-level course in Indian Philosophy per year. The courses he has taught most recently can be viewed in our Course Archive.


Current Projects

Kumārila on Apoha: an Annotated Translation of the Apoha Chapter of Kumārila’s Ślokavārttika. In collaboration with Kei Kataoka of Kyūshū University.