Johan Frederik (Frits) Staal (3 November 1930 – 19 February 2012) was the department founder and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and South/Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Staal specialized in the study of Vedic ritual and mantras, and the scientific exploration of ritual and mysticism. He was also a scholar of Greek and Indian logic and philosophy and Sanskrit grammar.
- Universals: Studies in Indian Logic and Linguistics, University of Chicago, 1988, 267 pp.
- Rules Without Meaning: Ritual, Mantras and the Human Sciences, New York: Peter Lang, 1990; 1993, 490 pp.