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.
- Word Order in Sanskrit and Universal Grammar, Dordrecht: Reidel, 1967, 98 pp.
- editor, A Reader on the Sanskrit Grammarians, MIT Press, 1972, 557 pp.
- The Science of Ritual, Poona/India: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1982, 101 pp.
- 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; new ed. as Rituals and Mantras: Rules Without Meaning, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1996, 490 pp.