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Frits StaalFrits Staal has written about language, philosophy and ritual but his scientific pursuits encompass diverse areas and disciplines. Born in Amsterdam in 1930, he studied several languages, including Greek and Arabic, but concentrated on physics and mathematical logic before a Government of India scholarship took him to India, Indian philosophy and Sanskrit. He traveled on both sides of the Himalayas, taught and did research for extended periods in Europe and Asia, but spent most of his life in the Departments of Philosophy and of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is now Professor Emeritus. His most well-known books are The Vedic Ritual of the Fire Altar, Universals: Studies in Indian Logic and Linguistics and Rules without Meaning. After retirement he moved to Thailand, having long predicted that civilization would return to Asia under the intellectual guidance of India and China.